RE: Phyto-mining

From: altamira (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 14:59:42 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:

> How about areas of the country were noticeable concentrations of
> minerals are
> found in the soil? Wouldn't this method tend to remove the
> minerals and make
> the soil more mineral free?
> Ron H.

Yes, but if conventional agricultural methods were used (plowing, in
particular), you'd end up destabilizing the soil and causing erosion of the
soil and pollution of streams.

This same technique of mining the soil can be used in other contexts. For
example, comfrey, which grows rapidly and abundantly in some areas, tends to
concentrate nitrogen in its leaves, and it can thus be used as a homegrown
fertilizer. I use plants with deep taproots, such as the mescal bean tree
(which is also a nitrogen fixing legume) (the seed is also highly
hallucenogenic) to draw minerals up from deep down.

An oil drilling company bulldozed a swath a mile long and a 150 feet wide
through my land (they made a mistake--thought they were on a completely
different tract of land). This was several years ago, and it's been
interesting to watch the order in which plants have regrown. The small
legumes like partridge pea and sensitive plant came first; then larger
legumes, like false indigo and other rugged pioneer plants like camphor
weed. Each year, these pioneers would deposit leaves, and in the case of
annuals, their whole bodies, into the soil, slowly building it up from
barren sand to post oak/hickory forest (well, to be more accurate,
savannah). These pioneer plants were getting some of their nutrients from
the air (nitrogen, for example); but they were also pulling them out of the
ground and concentrating them in the upper part of the soil where they could
be used by other plants.

Some plants are good at mining the soil for water and making it available to
other plants around them. I think it would be possible to reclaim quite a
lot of desert land for food production using soil-mining techniques.


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