Affeldt_Richard2Richard Affeldt answers some of your most frequently asked questions about Cascade Minerals. Rich holds an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has served as an assistant professor at OSU’s Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center. As chief agronomist at Central Oregon Basalt Products, Rich is closely involved in product development, sales support, and educational training on the topic of natural soil amendments. Have a FAQ? Contact us.

Should I be concerned about heavy metals in Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster?

Most plant nutrient products (natural or not) contain trace amounts of heavy metals. To protect people and the environment, every state has a certification and registration process that includes a third-party analysis of heavy metals. Scientists with the state departments of agriculture review the analysis to determine if there is any risk to the environment or human health. Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster has been certified and registered in 47 states and is on its way through the process for all 50 states. For peace of mind, use a product like ours that has been certified and registered by your state.

Are all plant nutrient products registered?

Not all plant nutrient products designated for home gardening are registered. States often lack the resources to police retail store shelves and must focus their efforts on commercial agriculture. As a result, some companies ignore registration. Our diligence in pursuing nationwide registration demonstrates a commitment to integrity that some competitors do not share.

Can I hurt my plants by over-applying Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster?

Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster is a 100% all-natural soil amendment product that is derived from volcanic basalt rock. It poses no risks to plants or the environment when applied as directed. Once a sufficient dose has been applied to produce a beneficial plant response, however, the addition of more minerals is not likely to increase the magnitude of the response.

Is Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster appropriate as a standalone product?

Plant roots need to be able to breathe and drink while obtaining the nutrients needed for growth. The particle size of Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster is not appropriate for use as a standalone rooting media because it lacks the porosity/structure to allow roots to breath. More information about application rates is available here.

Why am I suddenly seeing lots of little weeds pop up in my garden? Did they come in from the bag of Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster?

We get this question a lot! Our Remineralizing Soil Booster is pure, ground-up volcanic basalt and nothing more. Yet thanks to the minerals and trace elements that our product provides, plants of all types thrive….including any pesky weeds that have been lying dormant in your garden’s soil!

How is Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster different from other soil remineralizers?

Without taking anything away from our competitors, we see Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster as an improved replacement over other products that claim to remineralize and regenerate the soil. Comparing the chemical analysis of Cascade Minerals against other products is like comparing apples to oranges, because our product contains higher ratios of certain elements (and vice versa). Yet, when it comes down to plant health and vigor, Cascade Minerals clearly stands above most other brands. For example, our coarse particle size is more beneficial in soils and potting mixes than the extremely fine particles in other products. In addition, the difference in sources makes a tremendous difference in results. Our Remineralizing Soil Booster is made of 100% all-natural, finely milled volcanic basalt whereas some other products are derived from montmorilonite clay.

What is the pH level of Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster? How does it affect the pH level of the soil that it is applied to?

The pH is about 7.9. That may seem high, but basalt has a limited effect on pH in the soil. Most rock minerals are neutral when they dissolve because for the most part they do not take away hydrogen ions (H+). A well-known example of this is gypsum (CaSO4), an amendment which does not modify soil pH. The main exception among rock minerals of course is limestone (CaCO3); as it dissolves it steals 2 H+ ions from the soil to form Ca++, H2O, and CO2. When basalt dissolves in the soil it releases Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, and several other ions that interact with exchange sites in the soil. Some of the silicon that held those ions is also dissolved and will attract H+ ions, but not to the extent that occurs with limestone.

Calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE) is a measure of liming potential on a scale from 0 to 100. Typical agricultural grade lime has a CCE of about 90. Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster has a CCE of about 9, so our basalt is not much of a liming material.

On a different note, basalt is an excellent source of iron in high pH soils. Several university studies have shown that the iron in basalt is better at alleviating iron chlorosis in plants than the synthetic chelated iron products. Keep in mind that Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster is a naturally mined mineral, so it’s 100% Organic. Furthermore, the silicon that hydrolyzes to produce that pH 7.9 in lab tests is a good thing because it’s an indication of plant available silicon (silicic acid). Available silicon in Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster is one of the key features that makes it so beneficial for plants regardless of the pH of your soils.