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Googlie, What problem with your current soil are you trying to improve. Rock Dust is a by-product of rock crushing, and a lot of the rock in your area is Limestone, so it may increase your PH. If you are just trying to increase the tilth, or friability of the soil, organic matter of some kind will be needed. Before i found a wonderful source for compost at a local greenery recycler, i was thinking about using rice hulls, which is becoming popular as Horse bedding. It is available in bales at Feed Stores. If you can find someone that keeps horses they may give you some of the bedding, as most have to pay to have it hauled away.
Ernie, I just want to perk up last years bed. I do plan on adding compost to it when the compost is ready. I will be making 2 raised beds as well. I plan on buying a top soil from a nursery. I just mainly wanted to amend the sand or whatever you want to call my "soil" that will be underneath the topsoil. I was thinking about mixing the top soil with my "soil" and either Azomite or greensand. My actual "soil" has terrible drainage and if it sits very long gets hard as a rock, so yes you could say I am trying to increase the tilth of my soil. I think I have decided against rock dust. Thank you on the info about rock dust, I guess it doesn't make much sense to add that given my soil is similar to rock dust haha!
drthor, thanks for the input! Your veggies look great!! You may have sold me on the Azomite :) Do you know much about greensand?
I doubt there is very much natural topsoil up there, and it may be very expensive. If you have a greenery recycle operation there you might be able to get compost to make topsoil with what you have. I lived in Lucerne Valley and Oro Grande back in 1950, and as i recall, the soil was similar to what i have here, without the caliche i had underneath up there. The compost from the local recycle site has been helping my soil here, much cheaper than top soil would be. And if you can get it to where you can work it and water it, it will really grow things.
You only need 8 or 10 inches deep for most plants and about a foot for most trees as that is where their roots are.
About a month ago, you asked about Azomite and Rockdust. I just noticed in a Catalog that Azomite itself is sometimes called Rockdust, so in your case, they seem to be the same product. Rock Dust is also a by product of Rock Crushing, but is undoubtedly different than the Azomite type.
I also bought a large bag of azomite earlier this year to use in my garden. I have no complaints about my soil, which is a loamy soil and has all the basic micronutrients, but after reading so much good things about Azomite, I figure it would not hurt to try - the minerals listed are some that is probably not found in my area, so it would not hurt to have it available in case the plants could benefit from it. I put in about 17 herbaceous peony plants and added a little of azomite to each of the planting holes. Will see how they compare to the 5 peonies that was planted last year.
When I put in my vegetables this year, I will do a trial run with some of them too - half with, and half without the addition of azomite. One good thing is that it is a natural product, so if it doesn't really help, it would not have hurt anything.