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Greenhouses help test product

Central Oregon Basalt agronomist Rich Affeldt shows some of the coco coir potting material the Cascade Minerals product is mixed with for trials in the new greenhouse.Central Oregon Basalt Products’ two new greenhouses was the site of the Chamber Coffee Cuppers group last Friday.

Managing partner Scott Andrews told the group that after one year in the business of selling basalt minerals for soil amendment, and other products, the company now has six employees, is licensed in nine Western states, and distributes its mineral product in Oregon, Washington and California.

Rich Affeldt, the company’s agronomist, is using the greenhouses to conduct rate studies on plants for lawn and garden customers.

“I’m trying different potting mixes and adding Cascade Minerals to see the results,” Affeldt said, noting a park in Portland is using the product on all its roses.

The greenhouse currently is experimenting with roses, tomatoes, green beans, lettuces, spinach, hops, and other vegetables.

Affeldt said trials using coco coir (coconut husk) potting material mixed with the minerals “produced bigger plants, with earlier fruiting and more overall fruiting.”

Eventually, he said Cascade Minerals would like to work into the commercial agriculture market. The product doesn’t replace the need for fertilizer, but replaces minerals which have been depleted from the soil.

Locally, Cascade Minerals are available at Phil’s Ace Hardware and Madras Garden Depot. See more on the website cascademineralsnw.com. -- Susan Matheny



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