Soybean cake, or soybean meal is the residue that remains after oil is removed. It was used as a crop amendment and as a livestock feed supplement in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. As a fertilizer, it provides nitrogen in the form of peptides and proteins. However, it had to be mineralized before the nitrogen became available to plants. Despite this shortcoming, soy meal remained popular as a nitrogen source for crops until it was replaced by synthetic fertilizers during the Green Revolution. Recently, amino acid products manufactured from soy and other plant sources have become popular fertilizers for providing nitrogen to plants. These fertilizers are processed by various methods to inactivate protease inhibitors found in raw soybean meal, and to digest proteins into amino acids. These are then formulated into dry, water-soluble powders, compressed in to granules, or rehydrated into concentrated liquids.

organics, fertilizer, grower's secret, organic farming, fertifacts, micro-nutrients, copper



Copper is an essential micronutrient for all plant and animal life.  Even snails and slugs that are particularly averse to copper tape and pots have large amounts of copper in their tissue.  Copper is the 25th most abundant element on Earth with about two-thirds of Earth’s copper is found in igneous rocks and about a quarter in sedimentary rocks.  The metal is found free as native copper or as compounds such as copper sulfides (chalcopyrite, bornite, digenite, covellite, and chalcocite), copper sulfosalts (tetrahedrite-tennantite and enargite), copper carbonates (azurite and malachite), and copper oxides (cuprite and tenorite).  Most of today’s mined copper is from open pits.  However, since copper reserves may be limited, attention has shifted to deep-sea polymetallic nodules as a future source.

ag, seeds, organic farming, propagating seeds


Seeds of Change: What’s in your Packet of Certified organic seed?

By Dr. Wesley Chun Ph.D., Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer


There are three reasons for using certified organic seed to produce organic crops. First, the National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines recommend use of organically produced seed for organic crop production. Second, it is good for your conscience since organically produced seeds inherit environmental conservation and pollution reduction benefits. Third, organic seeds are claimed to be healthier (more resistant to pathogens and pests), and better adapted to grow under organic cropping systems. NOP guidelines, and environmental sustainability benefits are compelling factors for using certified organic seed. The third reason is highly dependent on the seed producer and the source of the seed. Most plant varieties were bred under conventional agricultural systems. However, there are now university and private breeders who are breeding new varieties using organic growing methods. While organically bred varieties are available, the performance of these varieties may be regionally limited. Seed selection should be based on production needs and environmental growing conditions first, and then organic if it is available. Check the facts when organic seeds claim to be healthier, pest- and pathogen-resistant, and pesticide-free.

organic farming


Organic Versus Conventional Foods: Fifty Shades of Green
By Dr. Wesley Chun Ph.D., Grower's Secret, Chief Science Officer


Organically produced food is an essential form of food production that has existed since the dawn of agriculture. It resided with the Green Revolution but has regained popularity since the rebirth of the organic movement in the 1940s. Once only available in organic stores, three out of four stores now carry organic products. From 2010 to 2019, organic food sales increased 4.6 to 12.2 percent annually. In 2018, total US organic sales reached $52.5 billion, a 6.3 percent increase from 2017. US organic food sales accounted for $49.7 billion, a 5.9 percent increase from 2017. This year organic produce sales as a result of the COVID pandemic jumped 22 percent in March, leading to a first-quarter rise of 8 percent for 2020.