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  • Writer's pictureUna Wirkebau

Soil Secrets


When asked what are the top 3 items which reflect the region we live, one of those would most certainly be red rock or red sand. It is as far as the eyes can see, on our dogs’ paws, in our cars, attached endlessly to the residences and structures of the area. Sure, there are some trees and grassy squares here and there, but for the most part, our crimson soil is quintessentially part of what defines the Southwest. For Winslow and the i40 corridor, the question begs to be asked, why are other high desert locations more fertile? Greener? We know for a fact, tall trees once stood here, the Petrified Forest is a prime example of what once was.

In my short time in Arizona, I have heard countless theories on why things just don’t grow. Yet clearly some folks have figured it out, as there are prime examples of gorgeous lawns (thinking of you NPC -Winslow) and a smattering of lovely flowers, vegetable gardens and large healthy trees. Those which are drought tolerant are much more inclined, and I would be the first to support xeriscaping to reduce our regional use of water, BUT what if there were an answer to this agricultural dilemma? What if we could use water more efficiently and provide life sustaining nutrients to our dirt? I am not suggesting our unique region become a lush forest, only that there may an answer to our regional needs to support our food growth for both residents and livestock in the area. is located a few hours away outside of Los Lunas NM. Michael Martin Meléndrez, the founder and director, is incredibly knowledgeable about all things molecular soil biology. Changing the way our ground behaves, so that it is at its optimum to help things grow. He is in fact, growing redwoods, sequoias, and oodles of different types of maples. He has been growing these fine specimens from seed, since the mid 1990’s and they are now thriving at over 100 feet tall. YES, thriving! In the high desert outside of Albuquerque, in almost the exact environment of Winslow. This technology is simply amazing and will be available here in Northern Arizona, soon. Stay tuned with updates on all our incredible upcoming transformations by following @WhyNotWinslow.

- Una,

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