Son's School Ag Project


New Member
Ok, so my step-son had to do a project for his Ag class this year. He wanted to do something with deer hunting, but we couldn't really figure anything good out. We just moved into our new place in Dec of this past year so the land is still VERY new to us. We put in a garden in the spring and had limited success. This summer we began focusing on improving the soil, mainly re-mineralizing the soil. Our land is old ag land that has now been through at least 1 cycle of pine timber. The high ground sits as old field presently, and has been that way for 5-6 years.

So, we kinda came up with combining the two on the premise that if our garden soil is demineralized, then so are our food plots. If we re-mineralize our garden, would we benefit from doing the same to our plots?

A little background on re-mineralization, as it was new to me this summer.... It goes a little something like this: Through years of intensive agriculture we as a nation, have essentially stripped our land of certain minerals and never replaced them. Normal farming (as I know it at least) focuses on N-P-K ONLY.... Well when you harvest a peanut, tomato, corn, bean, cotton, pine tree....etc from a field you are taking more than N-P-K from that field. You are taking calcium, boron, magnesium....etc. Most farmers never replace these (with exception of calcium in the form of lime.

According to the internet, as the soil becomes mineral and nutrient deficient plant vigor is reduced, pest problems become common, diseases are more likely and overall health of the plant is reduced.

When an animal eats a nutrient deficient plant the animal is not receiving proper nutrition.

It seems to be a well documented fact that produce available in stores today is not as nutrient dense as it was in the past and steadily declining to this day.

So, enough with the jargon, onto the project. I thought I'd share his process and results here, maybe it will be of value to others.

For the experiment there are 4 rows, numbered from North to south (left to right on pics). A bucket for us was a small pail, we are going to weigh it for the report, but it is less than a gallon.
Row 1: Control Row - No Limestone, No Granite, No Fertilizer
Row 2: 2 Buckets Granite Dust/Sand, 1 Bucket Limestone
Row 3: 1 Bucket Granite Dust/Sand, 1 Bucket Limestone
Row 4: No Granite, 1 Bucket Limestone

Setting up the irrigation!

Now we wait for sprouting and growth. Will probably fertilize rows 2-4 with something standard like 10-10-10.

The nutrient density of the plants will be measured with a Brix meter that measures disolved sugars in the plant and is generally accepted as a way to measure the quality and nutrient density of produce.
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Granite is a new one for me.....I have seen/heard of limestone and basalt but not to the interwebs!

I love when kids learn by hands on projects like these. I personally think the kids get so much more out of it and it sinks in and stays with them better when they learn this way. You can only learn and retain so much from a book. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty!
So, in the organic, re-mineralizing world people are using 'rock dust' which is nothing more than finely ground granite. The stuff runs about $40 for a 40lb bag. At that price it's not really a reality for most food plotters or gardeners. So I set off to find a cheaper source. Turns out the Paver Base that is sold at Lowes is nothing more than what they call a granite sand. I picked up a bag ($2.79) and dried some of it out to see what it was made of. Definitely granite and has a pretty good mix of dust, sand and small/tiny pebbles.

So we are using the paver base for his project. Would have loved to done something with the Azomite or other commercially available products but in reality the cost is prohibitive for use in food plots, where you need tons instead of bags, so we pretty much just ruled it out.

I also took a few bags of the paver base and spread it around a few of my seedlings and around some semi-mature white oaks.
We are located in Ray City, GA, which is fairly extreme south ga, about 30 miles from the Florida line. Understanding all locations are different, your soil may not be deficient in minerals found in granite, you may need silica, sodium, magnesium, potassium...etc.

The logical reason granite makes sense for us, is that there is not a single rock in our fields... you will see sandstone pebbles, but nary a granite or igneous rock exists down here.

Basalt would be good, but price and availability down here makes it not feasable.
I love when kids learn by hands on projects like these. I personally think the kids get so much more out of it and it sinks in and stays with them better when they learn this way. You can only learn and retain so much from a book. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty!

I agree 1000%.... Much more being learned on this project than the actual subject matter.... irrigation, programming (sprinkler timer), water management, erosion, and of course basic farming skills like running a tiller, pulling a hoe/rake...etc.
I am hearing more and more about folks applying a granular Redmond mineral to their soil in plots in efforts to gain these trace minerals to their soil and thus to their plants and finally to the deer. I'm still looking into what it is, rates, costs and the like. Below is the link I found, I am not sure if it will help or not, but thought I would share - they may have some data and research that may help your boys project.
Its a real shame your son can't access all of doug's old threads from the other place. Your son would have been on information overload.
Great project. If you haven't already PM dgallow on this forum. He knows this stuff inside out and would be glad to share info and links. To say the least he's not bashful about it. Lol

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