The many benefits of rock dust

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Reading this article and putting its suggestions into practice has really helped me boost the vitality of my garden.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/727/

Darius' other articles are real eye-openers, too.

Thumbnail by PuddlePirate
Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

She did a great series. I just haven't followed through on things like rock dust.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Its effects were surprising. My strawberry patch looks like it's full of Triffids.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm really thinking I may have some mineral problems. Gotta go read that again and go get the good stuff. Just planted new Tristar SB plants this spring. Where did you get your rock dust?

This message was edited May 25, 2010 2:54 PM

POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

100% of the research over at least the last 40 years has shown that most of our soils are mineral deficient.
Puddlepirate is absolutely right. Even the very best compost you can make will be lacking in minerals. Seaweed from oceanic areas near volcanic areas like Norway are also great and should have few pollutants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Another writer did an article about a mineral supplement that sounded very good too. Bad on me- I just can NOT think of her name at the moment. L...ugh this is shameful. Aroid expert....LARI ANN!!


Not bad price on that 50 lb from planet natural, 18.95

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Quote from sallyg :
Not bad price on that 50 lb from planet natural, 18.95


The shipping is what hurts. Best to buy plenty of other stuff, since you're gonna be paying to ship a large heavy item anyway. It's still worth it.

POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

Puddle--I can get Green sand locally in bulk---is it as good as Rock ?Dust?

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

From what I understand, they're similar but not identical. Greensand has much more potassium (0-0-3) along with its micronutrients, and rock dust is mostly micronutrients.

Rock dust: http://www.planetnatural.com/site/glacial-rock-dust.html

Greensand: http://www.planetnatural.com/site/greensand-soil-amendment.html

POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

Take a look at Azomite results. I put some on my tomato bed today--we'll see.
The corn on the right was planted with AZOMITE® one month after the corn on the left was planted without AZOMITE®.
Yes – one month AFTER!

Thumbnail by VORTREKER
POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

Sorry--forgot to thank PuddleP for his response

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Yeah I figured the shipping on 50 pounds would be substantial.
Gee, VT your pic is on the Azomite website page. Oh, is that not your corn, but your restating what they said?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Here's the article I remembered
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1020/
about a sea mineral product. Link in article to read more on that product

POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

sally
Did I say, or imply, that was my corn?--I did say I put some on my tomatoes --will send pics later.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I misunderstood! ^_^ Not the first time!
and won't be the last sadly. my brain is probably lacking in minerals too.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Anything typed after ten should get a mulligan.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks PuddlePirate for starting this thread!

This is really fascinating!!
I've heard that Green Sand is good for tomatoes, but mostly because of the potassium. I didn't know it had all kinds of minerals & I had never even heard of Rock Dust.

I glanced at both of the articles recommended by PuddlePirate & sallyg. Just amazing stuff. I'll probably end up printing them for quick reference.

We have clay & all the problems that go with it. I'd love to try it on the lawn as well as the garden beds & veggies, but we have a huge lawn so that's something that would have to happen slowly.

We have several gravel pits/rock quarries right near by so I think I'll find out if they have rock dust available at the right grain size.

Planet Natural looks like a great site, PuddlePirate. Thank you. I think that first I'd like to try to get it locally if I can & avoid the shipping.

Thanks to all that have been posting on this thread. It's an exciting new area of gardening for me to explore.!!

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Can't wait to hear what you end up with, nutsaboutnature!

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks PuddlePirate.

When you use the rock dust do you just go by "weight per sq ft" like the article talks about or do you spread it a certain thickness?
Also, do you always mix it into the soil? Have you ever just spread it on top of an existing bed?

Thanks in advance.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

I live in a brand new development that used to be a forest. The builders removed the topsoil and left only clay and a few inches of sod. Each home has some raised beds, but they're just trucked-in topsoil with mulch on top. As a result, I've been side dressing my perennials with shovelfuls of rock dust and compost late in every summer, topped off with coffee grounds to bring the worms. Since I started in 2005 with nothing, I've just been eyeballing the mix at 50/50-ish. I figure every bit of mineralization helps when you have utter crap for soil. Every new plant goes in with a heaping tablespoon of mycorrhizae under the rootball too.

Although I have a big compost pile that gets used on perennials, flower beds and stressed areas of the lawn, my compost bin is where I mix goodies for my fruits and veggies. Whenever I start a batch, at least 20 pounds (half a bag) of rock dust goes into it along with leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper, manure, coffee grounds, dead potted plants, used potting mix, blood meal, cowboy charcoal, and kitchen scraps. I then drench the core of the bin with watered-down blackstrap molasses. Once the compost is finished, it already contains rock dust throughout, but I finish up by mixing it with the rest of the original bag of rock dust and lay it down on next year's veggie garden in mid-autumn along with a cover crop that'll die in winter.

I rotate my garden's location among three different spots to avoid problems with nutrient depletion and soil-borne diseases. Each spot spends one year lying fallow with cover crops, then one year with my Biostack sitting on it (so there's no need to move the heavy compost), and then one year being the garden.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow, thanks PuddlePirate!

Sounds like you have a really organized system. I know I'll never be that organized, but you've mentioned a lot of great info & ideas for me to work with. I'm sure I can incorporate several of them. I also like your "recipe" for compost as I'm just about to start composting.

We bought our house about 8 1/2 years ago & we also have a clay base. This isn't a new subdivision (about 20 years old), but it is an area that was woodland at one time (not farmland like many developments). Fortunately they left most of the mature trees & native plants & created a bike/walking path that's at least 30 miles long (goes in both directions from our subdivision). Instead of building one development next to another, they left most of the area around in its natural state so we have lots of deer & other critters. There is also a river about 1/4 mile away. Unfortunately, we also have many of the invasive plant species that have crept in over time.

That said, they still scraped down to the clay, plus tossed in rocks, boulders & excess concrete chunks & added some topsoil over it. Every time my husband has started to dig a bed for me you wouldn't believe the boulders & such he digs up!

We've been trying to amend the beds with organic ingredients, but after learning from this thread about the lack of minerals in most soil, I'd like to try adding some back. To try to replenish the lawn (which I'd love to do) would be cost prohibitive. We just have too large of a yard. But I figured to try it with the beds a little at a time. I really your idea about adding Rock Dust to the compost pile alot. It makes perfect sense since it's recommended to mix it with compost anyway.

So far I haven't had any luck with the local quarries/gravel pits. They've all been very nice, but don't seem to use the same terminology that was used in the article so can't really tell me what their Rock Dust is screened to.

I also looked up Azomite & read more about Green Sand & they both sound very interesting as well.

Thanks so much for helping to start me on this journey!!

POTTSBORO, TX(Zone 7b)

nutsaboutnature------I just discovered that Texas greensand, which I have access to locally, is about 20% iron. That seems a bit much to me. So be sure you know what you are adding. It took me 3 weeks to find this out on the internet and I was about to add large amounts of it. I think that would have been a mistake.
I try to constantly remind myself that even cyanide comes in an "organic" form. :(

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks VORTREKER!!

That's really great to know. I would not have had a clue!
I'd also love to hear how your Tomato Plants do with the Azomite when/if you start to see some results.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Quote from nutsaboutnature :
Sounds like you have a really organized system. I know I'll never be that organized, but you've mentioned a lot of great info & ideas for me to work with. I'm sure I can incorporate several of them. I also like your "recipe" for compost as I'm just about to start composting.


It's only organized enough to make it easier for a lazy guy like me to get it done. The less lifting and carrying, the better. As for my recipe, it's mostly just what I happen to have access to. I just add rock dust, blood meal, and molasses to the pile to help feed the microherd and decrapify my garden soil with minimum primping on my part.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

You can call it laziness if you want, but the only time gardening is "lazy" is when you just sit back & enjoy the beauty you've created!

I still like your compost "recipe"... As a newbie composter I'm not to the point where any of it is "instinctive". I'm going to have to think about every ingredient I add for a while.

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Figured I'd bump this to put the topic back on people's radar.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

It s on MY radar cuz DH now has a pickup truck, and may soon have time to run us over to the friendly local gravel pit to get some

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

I'm envious! Your garden's going to love it.

Even though I get my rock dust shipped (since I haven't found a local source), I'm going to have a blast with it this year: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1169891/

I feel like a mad scientist. Muah ha ha ha!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the term "micro-herd". I've always felt pompous saying "soil biota" or "microfauna", and "bugs" is innacurate.

Does anyone have a suggested mail-order place to buy endo-mycorrhiza and/or other beneficial soil organisms?

I found a PDF suggesting how to "multiply" endo-mycorrhiza by growing a mixture of host plants as "bait" (grasses, legumes, onions, leeks, maize and beans, or millet or other grasses with a legume such as lentil)

The mycorrhizal fungi are supposed to infect their roots and multiply there. After at least three months of growth, cease watering and cut down the plants. (Spores are supposed to be released over the next week). Then chop up the roots to 1/2" lengths, and use them plus the soil around them as innoculum for other plants.

(I wonder if roots and nodules from nitrogen-fixing plants can be used to multiply and store those for innoculating next year's crop?


Corey

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks!

Corey

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Quote from PuddlePirate :

As a result,....... topped off with coffee grounds to bring the worms.

Every new plant goes in with a heaping tablespoon of mycorrhizae under the rootball too.

Although I have a big compost pile that gets used on perennials, flower beds and stressed areas of the lawn, my compost bin is where I mix goodies for my fruits and veggies. Whenever I start a batch, at least 20 pounds (half a bag) of rock dust goes into it along with leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper, manure, coffee grounds, dead potted plants, used potting mix, blood meal, cowboy charcoal, and kitchen scraps. I then drench the core of the bin with watered-down blackstrap molasses. Once the compost is finished, it already contains rock dust throughout, but I finish up by mixing it with the rest of the original bag of rock dust and lay it down on next year's veggie garden in mid-autumn along with a cover crop that'll die in winter.

I rotate my garden's location among three different spots to avoid problems with nutrient depletion and soil-borne diseases. Each spot spends one year lying fallow with cover crops, then one year with my Biostack sitting on it (so there's no need to move the heavy compost), and then one year being the garden.


Pardon the many questions and the ignorance here, PP:

I knew coffee grounds helped roses, but I didn't realize it helped worms. I have an issue with big red/brown ants living in my compost, but didn't realize that you could even PUT worms in a compost...duh! Can I put fresh coffee grounds directly into my veggie garden? What nutrients do they contribute to the soil?

What is mycorrhizae? I will most likely look it up right after posting this, but nice to know.

I thought shredded paper was bad for compost because of the ink?

You mentioned manure. How 'fresh' or 'mature'? I have a friend with horses, and she said I'm welcome to all the 'poop' I can carry off in my trailer. :) Don't know if to use it 'green' and put in compost, or to leave it somewhere in yard and let it 'mature'.

What does watered=down black strap molasses do to the compost (besides attract ants)? Does it have some nutritional content?

Anyone know of any company that sells rock dust in south florida? There's a quarry, but they're turkeys....had to deal with them before on something.

I don't understand about the crops:

One year being fallow (I guess I can look that up in the dictionary) - but I'm assuming one bed gets planted with something that doesn't get eaten, or just all of one veggie?
One year with my Biostack on it - what's a biostack?

....and in case you can't tell I was raised in the 'big city' (such that palm beach and broward counties are 'big city' (but definitely 'urban')), then you're right.

But would love to learn!

thank you.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

okay, just read dirt doctor - understand the molasses.

However, by 'dry' molasses, I'm assuming they mean undiluted, right out of the bottle? How on EARTH would you spread that over an entire yard as a preventative measure? I'd think that'd get rid of the fire ants, but attract a heap of other pests.... Or am I wrong?

thanks again.

Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

No, dried molasses is different than liquid molasses. Read the following: http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garden/view_question/id/2156/

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Thank you, hrp50. going to get a 5lb bag from green living.com. my zucchini are starting to bloom, so i know veggies need the extra nutrients.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Corey, try Arbico Organics for a LOT of different material. Sometimes during the summer they offer free shipping on some of the big bags of stuff which can really save you the money.

Doug

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Here's the Garden Watchdog entry for Arbico Organics: http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/1645/

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Arbico Organics - THANKS! I had not found them.
I resopect any vendor that offers you MSDS sheets on their front page!
And they have a great collection of beneficial insects and nematodes.

Here's what I was lookiing for: they even have 1 ounce pkts for $10.

Root Maximizer Beneficial Fungi (mycorrhizal spores)
Micronized Mycorrhizal Inoculant 1 oz (approximately 3 tbsp.)
http://www.arbico-organics.com/product/Beneficial-Fungi-Root-Maximizer/organic-soil-conditioners

8 oz for $34 is getting steep for me, since I doubt that even spores will last a year or two.
But I would split that 2-3 ways with someone!

1 lb for $49 is not something I'll be doing unless I win a lottery. Those may be fair prices, but I'd rather buy a yard or two of commercial compost. (I have a very small yard, and only a few sunny spots where beds can be placed.)

(Adding to "Favorites")

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

I'm on their mailing list and even though the shipping prices for 50# bags of different amendments are quite high, they do send out special mailing sometimes where shipping is included in price or greatly reduced. However, a lot of the amendments they sell I cannot for the life of me find locally so I may have to do a mail order.

Doug

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