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Source for Rock Dust in the Region? I want to Re-mineralize.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi, ORVers,

Has anyone here made up their own garden soil mix?? Maybe you would have some advice for me.

I want to make some home-made garden soil for a new bed so I have been doing a little research. And I want to make this garden soil using organic amendments.

I have been reading about the benefits of 'Rock Dust' (Darius' excellent articles among others) and
're-mineralizing the soil' with other additives and amendments .

And it seems to me that right here in the Ohio River Valley we would naturally have many cheap and easily available sources for it, like gravel pits and so on. Or even farm supply stores. Or along the interstates in Ky where it looks pretty rocky. (I don't want to send away for these amendments or buy them at 'Natorps' type places).

So, Does anyone here in the Ohio River Valley know details about the qualities of our 'natural' soil amendments in the area?

And does anyone know of an especially good local or regional source for free or almost free really good rock dust or other amendments like maybe mushroom compost or alfalfa fines or pellets (with no added salt)?

And do you have any experience or advice on using rock dust or volcanic dust or other things similar to 'green sand?

Thanks (in advance) for any info or advice on how to make this garden soil using local sources.


Barberton, OH

I've seen your post and thought about it. I hate questions that I can't find a solution for. The only thing I could come up with and it would be a limited supply would be monument companies. It seems that they would do some polishing etc. on the stones. I used to get some rough-cut 1/2 x3" boards in the past.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi, Herman,

Thanks for the tip. I too am surprised that there don't seem to be more sources, at least on the internet.

I'll try the monument companies too then. t

Waddy, KY

Call your local rock quarry. You're looking for agricultural lime.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Oh! OK. I'll call the quarry.

I didn't know I was looking for lime! I guess the limestone around KY would yield lots of 'rock dust'!

Do you use 'rock dust' in your garden?

Waddy, KY

I haven't limed in a while but I suspect I need some. I really need a soil test drawn. We usually never lime unless it needs over a ton per acre. :-)

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Well, it sounds like you are a very serious gardener and know what you're doing!

A ton per acre sounds like a lot!

Have a fun weekend! t

Waddy, KY

Actually 3 ton is not uncommon here in KY. A ton of lime is not a very big pile.

Louisville, KY

My ground here in Louisville is 7.2 which is too high for many plants (japanese iris, oriental lillies, azaleas to name a few) . I acidifi with miracle azales and rhododendron fertilizer. Lime in my garden would kill them both. Soil test from University of Kentucky seem to be worthless except for the ph part. Many of my friends across the river in Indiana also have high ph. Have your soil checked for ph before you put lime ( or sulfur for that matter) on your soil.


Barberton, OH

It's been years since I followed Rodale {too dogmatic} but i think he referred to crushed granite for his soil mixes. I have an inexpensive meter that will check ph. Most of the stuff I grow likes a little acid. May not be too accurate, but gives a hint Another supplement he used was greensand {marl} but I can't remember why . I just use cheap chemical and slo-release fertilizers and as much aged plant material as possible.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks for your thoughts.

I am trying to steer away from chemicals and stay with organics where possible hence my questions about rock dust and other stuff.. (I added up my Scotts etc. fertilizer bills and almost fainted.) I don't have a Rodale's book but I'm just googling on the internet for ideas. I might get into some deep 'muck,' so to speak, doing it that way, though!

Will get some soil tests done or maybe just go to Home Depot and get one of those DIY kits.

Although maybe somebody can comment on this: I don't quite understand how soil tests will tell anything too useful because I have different types of soil all over my yard and I would have to take about 10 tests to get accurate readings for each garden.

And forgive me, but I don't really understand about the common advice to take several samples and mix them together and then send them to the lab. Doing that would just get you an average reading that is pretty useless too I would think. What am I missing here?

Thanks. t.

Barberton, OH

I found a list-Nutrient profiles of organic amendments. Granite dust was 5% potassium (0-0-5) Greensand (Marl) was 0-1.5-5.0 Phosphate rock was 0-30-0. All were listed as slow release. If you like I could try to scan it but the print is pretty small. Last time I tried to scan and send newsprint. it came through unreadable.
Other good sources of K were tobacco stems and wood ashes, both 7.0 seaweed 5.0 sawdust 4.0 and fish scraps 3.8. Fish scraps were listed as 7.8-13.0-3.8. DH might help with that.lol

A kit good for 10 soil tests is $40 at Gardens Alive. Just got their Fall catalog. I agree that an average reading would only be good if you were into mono-coulture.
Enough for tonight. Let me know if you want stats on other amendments. H

Barberton, OH

another thought--do you have access to Espoma products? They use ground up hoseshoe crabs. Different fertilizer formulations for different plants. Herman

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Herman, for your list. Interesting ideas there, especially about the Tobacco stems. I bet they are readily available around here since they grow it in the county next door and I see warehouses along the roads, too.

Yes, I can get Espoma products at our local garden centers.... they have some interesting offerings...didn't know about the horseshoe crabs.

Thanks again. t.

Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

Judy, they ask you to give them samples from different spots in the ground and mix them together so they get what the soil needs overall. If you're not talking about a very big space, then one sample would be fine... but if you're talking about a space the size of a garden, then you want to give them the 3 different samples mixed together... because when you plow and disc areas like that, the soil gets mixed together, so it makes sense to mix the soil together for the sample.

If you want separate soil tests for each of the 10 areas, then just take the samples from the areas that you want to specifically know about, and label them... making sure you label them in your yard too... pay 15.00 for each test, and you'll get a report back on each separate area. It's still not a bad idea to take samples from 2 different spots in each area and mix together, just to be sure you get an accurate report.

We split our big growing area into 1/4ths, took a few samples from each area, mixed each areas samples together and labeled them NSEW, so we would know which area needed what.

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