Soil Minerals and Soil Testing for Organic Growers

Discover the Secrets of Soil Mineral Balance
and Create Your Own Ideal Soil!

The Ideal Soil 2014 v2.0 is now shipping
Completely revised and expanded World Edition, November 2014


The secrets of soil mineral balance that create ideal soil, plant, and animal health are revealed here for the first time.  The amazing results that can be achieved by balancing the major cation minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium in the soil according to the teachings of Dr William Albrecht and Dr Carey Reams have changed the world of agriculture. 

This knowledge has taken the focus away from merely trying to achieve high volume yields to achieving the highest yields of the highest quality and nutritional value, while building optimal health in the soil, the crops, and the people and animals that rely on them for food.

Cover Photo There are no more depleted soils once you discover these secrets; the soil just keeps getting better and better year after year, and all without the use of any sort of toxic rescue chemistry.  As Dr Albrecht was known to say, "Well fed is healthy."  A well-fed soil leads to well-fed crops and well-fed people and animals.

Professional agronomists charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to consult with you and apply their specialized knowledge of soil nutrients and  minerals in order to achieve the perfect balance in your soil.  Though we feel they are well worth what they charge, some of us would prefer to have the knowledge and be able to do that for ourselves and others.  There are also many home gardeners and small farmers who simply don't have the financial resources to afford the expense of a professional soil consultant.  The lack of knowledge or money need no longer keep any grower from having the ideal soil.  For only $29.95, about the cost of a single laboratory soil test, this new one of a kind book teaches you everything you need to know to perfectly balance all of the major and minor mineral nutrients in any soil!

Is this difficult to do?

Not at all. The only reason more people have not balanced the minerals in their own soil is because this information has never before been made available to the public.  Understandably, trade secrets are just that, secret.  With the publication of this book, they are secret no longer.

If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, (or use a calculator) and you know or are willing to learn some very simple and basic chemistry, you will have no problem learning to balance all of the essential minerals in your own soil.  All you need are the results of a standard soil test,  a pencil and paper or a calculator, and the easy to understand information in The Ideal Soil.  That's all.  You can write the perfect mineral prescription for your soil the first day you own the book.  All of the information you need is right there, including

*Full instructions on how to read a soil test and understand everything it is telling you

*Easily understandable examples of the simple calculations needed,

*Full explanations of why you are doing what you are doing,

*The Ideal Soil Chart that shows you exactly what you want to end up with, and

*Tables that list the mineral content of every commonly used USDA Organic approved soil mineral amendment and fertilizer ingredient.

Every thing you need to know to write the perfect soil mineral prescription for your soil (or any soil anywhere) is included in The Ideal Soil.

What is So Special About The Ideal Soil Handbook?

While there are hundreds and hundreds of books about both organic and chemical-based agriculture, and even a dozen or so about sustainable Eco-Agriculture and the benefits of Albrecht and Reams style mineral balance, The Ideal Soil is the first book that actually tells the reader what the perfect balance of minerals in the soil is, and that shows exactly how to calculate that mineral balance for the soil you are working with, in any climate, anwhere in the world.  One could purchase every other agriculture and gardening book in existence and not come up with this information. 


Read Chapter 1 HERE

Read Albrecht Soil Science 101: Cation Exchange HERE

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What about landscaping, lawns, golf courses, and parks? 
Will The Ideal Soil help grow stronger, healthier landscape plants?

The Ideal Soil cation balancing principles work anywhere in any soil or climate for any type of plant.  The Ideal Soil Chart shows the optimum amounts and proportions of all of the important mineral nutrients to each other. In most cases, these are not exact ratios, but a range of acceptable proportions.  Any balance of minerals within that range will give excellent results.  The Ideal Soil is not just a one-size-fits-all recipe book; it gives you the knowledge you need to adjust the mineral balance to allow for the preferences of plants that are naturally adapted to certain soils and environments.

Different soil types, from adobe clay to sand to mucky peat will all need a slightly different cation mineral balance in order to perform best; this subject too is covered in The Ideal Soil.

You can create the perfectly balanced soil for any type of landscape or environment.   The plants will need less water during dry spells and will have few or no problems with disease or insect attack.  A perfectly healthy plant has a strong immune system and is highly stress resistant.

A unique opportunity for a new recession-proof career?

Once your friends and neighbors see your results, the quality and appearance of the plants and crops, the health of the land, and the nutritional value of the food grown using the Ideal Soil principles they will naturally want to achieve the same quality for their own farms and gardens.  Every community on the planet needs someone who knows how to balance the soil for perfect health. Every community on Earth needs a soil physician as much or more than it needs a medical physician or a veterinarian.  When people and animals experience perfect nutrition, perfect health follows naturally.

Yet, simple as it may be, not every grower or gardener is going to be willing to learn to read a soil test and write a soil mineral prescription.

Your willingness to learn and apply the knowledge in The Ideal Soil can soon make you the local soil health expert, and should you wish, open up a whole new career as a professional soil consultant.  As a matter of fact, the worse an economy gets and the fewer jobs there are, the more people want to and need to grow their own healthy food.  Those who know how to grow nutritionally superior food, solve problems, and greatly enhance the health of their community are respected and will always be in demand.

Are these mineral balancing principles compatible with USDA regulations for Certified Organic Growers? 

Every principle and idea in The Ideal Soil is designed for and compatible with Certified Organic crop production.  Healthy, sustainable farms and gardens in harmony with Nature are the future of agriculture everywhere.  The Ideal Soil calls for no dangerous or toxic chemicals, and the mineral amendments and fertilizer ingredients suggested and listed in the book are allowed for Certified Organic use under the USDA National Organic Program Final Rule.

Can I use The Ideal Soil to balance the minerals for my pasture or orchard?

Yes you can.  These principles work and work well for any type of crop anywhere (even including commercial tree farms).

How about updates?  Will the book change? *

The first edition of The Ideal Soil (2008, updated 2010 and 2012) started a quiet revolution in agriculture. No longer did growers have to guess what minerals and fertilizers their soils and plants needed; no longer did farmers, gardeners, ranchers, greenhouse growers, vineyards, golf courses or landscapers have to pay a professional agronomist to interpret their soil tests and make recommendations. With The Ideal Soil Handbook anyone with a grasp of fifth grade arithmetic and the willingness to learn some simple chemistry could easily write their own soil fertility Rx.

And they have—all over the world people read The Ideal Soil and put it into practice. It is a primary textbook for teaching young African agronomists in Namibia and used by growers in Tanzania, South Africa, and Egypt. Rice farmers and fruit, vegetable, and coffee growers put the ideas into practice in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia. The ratios in The Ideal Soil Chart were proven to work in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Many copies have gone out to Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and all parts of Europe. The method is used by an ever-growing number of farmers, gardeners and specialty growers in Canada and the USA. A number of people have used what they learned to start their own soil consulting businesses. Over the past six years the concepts have been put to the test worldwide and have been proven to work well in all climates and all soils.

The 2014 V2.0 edition has been completely revised and rewritten to reflect the knowledge and experience gained over the past six years. The earlier versions were aimed largely at growers in the USA; V2.0 is a World Edition equally usable by those working with any system of measurement: Acres, hectares, pounds, grams, cubic feet, yards, meters or any other measure of weight, area, or volume. New chapters provide in-depth explanations of how to work with high-pH and calcareous soils as well as low-CEC soils that don't have the capacity to retain the optimum amount of minerals. The authors have done their best to answer all of the questions left unanswered in earlier versions. The Ideal Soil V2.0 is the definitive edition of the Handbook for the New Agriculture.


Read Chapter 1 HERE

Read Albrecht Soil Science 101: Cation Exchange HERE

$29.95 169pp PDF E-Book
Get the Spiral Bound
Hard Copy 171 page Manual

Clear protective front cover, heavy washable back cover, printed on extra heavy acid-free stock.
Plus Shipping
Books are shipped USPS Priority Mail

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Growing World Class Food

For too long the only measurement of food production has been bulk quantity: How many bushels or bales or tons per acre were grown. Tons and bushels are not a measure of nutritional quality. Many have spoken and written about the mineral depletion of the world's agricultural soils and the resulting nutrient deficiencies in our food. Until now few solutions have been offered other than to promote a nutritional supplement or add some generic “rock dust” of unknown composition to the soil. Why not restore the specific minerals that are depleted or missing in the soil? The Ideal Soil 2014 shows not only how to restore depleted soil minerals, but how to transform any soil, no matter how poor, into a powerhouse of plant nutrition.

Good food is nutrient-dense and contains all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and other nutrients to provide perfect nutrition for healthy people and animals. The Ideal Soil 2014 teaches exactly how to grow nutrient dense food of unsurpassed flavor and quality. You will also learn to apply the same methods to pastures, lawns, landscapes, and forests. A mineral-balanced biologically active soil produces healthy plants, healthy animals, and healthy people.

This book teaches how to grow the most highly nutritious food possible. If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, this book will show you how to read and understand a soil test and write a precise mineral prescription for any soil or any crop anywhere in the world.


Read Chapter 1 HERE

Read Albrecht Soil Science 101: Cation Exchange HERE

$29.95 169pp PDF E-Book
Get the Spiral Bound
Hard Copy 171 page Manual

Clear protective front cover, heavy washable back cover, printed on extra heavy acid-free stock.
$34.95 Plus Shipping
Books are shipped USPS Priority Mail

Please select shipping option below.

Choose Shipping Option






Comments on
The Ideal Soil

"This is the most concise, well written, and understandable explanation of soil analysis and soil minerals that I have ever seen. It makes the subject simple and gives people the confidence that they can do this themselves.  If I had the money, every library in the county would have a copy.  People need to read this book!" 
Heidi U., Olympia, Washington USA

" I just received your handbook last night and I am really enjoying it…I feel like I am discovered an amazing new knowledge that I cannot believe I and my fellow farmers have not been aware of."
Robert deLeuze ZD Wines, LLC

I have a soil consulting business and know that the Albrecht system works! Michael has done a wonderful job explaining the system, what the minerals do for the plant, and showing the calculations for balanced soils. Healthy Soils, Healthy Plants, Healthy Beings. This is a must have if you want to know what is in your food and enjoy eating it.
Jim Etzel
Earth Is Our Home Soil Consulting
Hackensack, MN

You've helped me tremendously with my berries over the years and my new raised bed I made last year was simply amazing.

People have been so pleased with the taste of our veggies since we have followed your program. I couldn't be happier.

Storability has been excellent with customers reporting our lettuce mix lasts for two weeks, sometimes more. Spinach lasts me a solid three weeks but I don't usually have it on hand that long. Sadly, I've not checked the brix before nor after I began remineralization to draw a comparison but I definitely notice a sweeter, less bitter taste, even with the heat of summer.

There are customers who have noticed the difference between another farmers' produce, (especially garlic and onions) and ours and asked me why. We are close friends with the other farmer and know we both do about the same thing every year except for the soil testing and remineralization. I'm convinced the added minerals deliver more nutrition and flavor when compared to the same varieties grown in the same soil without them. Very happy with the produce.
Washington State

I can not tell you how much The Ideal Soil has influenced me. The practices and principles you have detailed in this book were the "missing pieces" I needed to confidently grow the highest quality produce possible. The knowledge I have gained from reading (rereading and rereading) your book surpasses all the soil classes I took while at the University studying Agriculture Economics by a long shot.
Baton Rouge LA

The past 5 years I have been trying to grow 5 OG gardens in my yard, I have had some successes and some failures even though I make my own compost and
try my best to only return to the compost pile the remnants of what I have sown. This is an enlightenment and I thank you for it. I have read both of your Interveiws
and am Completely with you 100%, I have helped many people create garden's in my township and always felt there was something missing, something better, and you have opened my eyes.Thank You.

New Jersey

Just to let you know I have really enjoyed reading your book The Ideal Soil.

I have researched both Albrecht and Reams in the past and your book seems to refine the principles of both. Once again thanks for offering such an excellent book!

We are a soil lab and sometimes have difficulty getting our customers to understand the concept of CEC and associated calculations. Can we use your explanation to help staff and some customers understand CEC? I just do not think I have ever come across information about CEC which is just so beautifully laid out to help the reader truly understand this.
Rebecca Wilkinson
NRM Limited

Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Newsletter
December 2012

How many of you are just throwing lots of compost at your patch and hoping for the best? Bad Choice! This Book will help you understand about the other critical factors: Nutrients and Trace Elements. Read the following Testimonial. It speaks volumes:

There are several excellent sources of soil testing that will interpret the results for you (for a reasonable price) and some will even mix up the prescribed minerals for
you. But if you would like to understand the contribution of the minerals in your soil, there is no better book than Michael Astera's "The Ideal Soil". He explains the concept of The New Agriculture and gives credit to those who have contributed to its evolution. It is simple to read and understand, even as he walks you through interpreting your soil test and figuring out for yourself which supplements and how much of each you need. I have no chemistry background and in the past never really understood the chemical side of soil--but he made it so simple that even I finally understand it and can use it.

Steve Geddes
New Hampshire
[Steve grew an 1843 lb pumpkin in 2012, at the time a world record]

We had an amazing year, our first year gardening in the Methow Valley of north central Washington State. The color and vividness of the vegies was eye-catching for visitors to my garden. But the most exciting result was a mid to late summer outbreak of grasshoppers of all kinds, including in our surrounding pastures and alfalfa fields. In fact, they were found on the pathways surrounding the 2000 sf garden that I did the soil amendments on. None of our plants had any insect damage until very late in the season when everything was declining. It was spectacular. One of my good friends is a professional gardener and studied with John Jeavons...she was astonished. The vegies were very robust.

[The Ideal Soil] is one of the most important soil mineral management books ever. We should all learn this for a better future.
Kathy Schutt
Washington State

Thanks for the information in the book. This experience is one of the best in my life because so far with my little experiment, I am able to support about 8 people on 1/8 of an acre. With it, my mother still has some extra to sell to some locals and some foreign visitors on weekly basis. Actually people asked to buy the vegetable as soon as made available on the small local market. My mother is quite happy as she no longer needs to buy any vegetable on the market, allowing her to save her money for other uses. I am already excited! You can't imagine what people say to me when they talk about the vegetables. To make it short and to the point: they love it and praise the quality of the vegetables.
Foniala, Madagascar

"From the day I got it bound til now, it has been open on my desk right next to me, I've carted it off to work to reread at lunch. I've handled it so much that I have to take it back to the print shopto get new covers. They both fell off. "
Frank E., Arkansas, USA

"Great book.  I really appreciated the clear concise format, the everything affects everything else logic "
Greg M., Tucson AZ, USA

"I've enjoyed reading this material. I've read many other books about soil properties, but this book took care of most of my questions."
Dave Hansen, Grass fed beef rancher, Nebraska USA

"Thank you and God bless you.  You have written a great book."
Dave Rogers, High Brix Market Gardener NY USA

"This is an excellent resource. I highly recommend it. I just got it yesterday and was up late into the evening reading it and read it while commuting to work today (dangerous, I know). It is excellent, I can't get enough of this book. "
Mike C, Oregon USA

"I'm only on page 26, first time through (I'm sure I'll read it several times), but I just had to write and tell you how thrilled I am with it. Even at this early stage I can see that it is going to provide the knowledge I need to build my soil to world class."
A.M.,  Indiana USA

"It seems to be just what I needed to make sense of Soil Analyses for my kiwifruit orchard. I read it from start to finish this afternoon. Thank you."
A.L., New Zealand

"My compliments on the Ideal Soil book.  I read it more thoroughly and the layout of the soil test report combined with working through the calculations is very good.  I've amassed as much alternative soil fertility info as anybody and Ideal Soil will be one of my top reference guides."
Steve Diver., Texas USA

"First chapter of a superb book, for once by someone who has a clue what they're writing about."
R.P., UK

" I have not had a chance to study in depth but after just looking through the pages I am floored with the wealth of information that you compiled."
Holly B., Washington USA

"I have been studying soil content for several years and the book is the best I have read.  I am recommending it to the appropriate friends."
MHA, Tennessee USA

"I found it everything it was claimed to be and more."
Bill S., Wisconsin USA

" Thanks for such a great book. I have looked at many of the soil books out there and yours was able to put the information into a easy to understand format. "
Jeb Thurow
Healthy trees and Garden service LLC
Olympia WA USA

"Let's just say I had amazing results using the knowledge from this book.

For example snails and slugs have stopped eating my greens. What's so unusual about it? Well, I was living in rainy England at that time and using a lot of organic mulch. That's just ideal breeding ground for slugs and snails. Were my snails and slugs gone? No, I had massive amount of them in my garden. They just weren't eating my vegetables as they were healthy and nutrient dense (and had high Brix). The only snail problem I had, was that I had to wash off snail mucus before I was juicing my vegetables as they were cover in it. The plants become unpalatable for lower animals and great food for humans.

Fantastic thing about this book is that it gives you framework or a goal to aim at. You know you are getting closer to where you want to be. You will know exactly how much lime, dolomite, phosphate, zinc, copper, rock dust, sea solid to put in your soil, to get amazing results.
To summary it: Just buy the book now, you will not regret it."

Wojciech Majda, Poland