By far the most important think I've done to improve the awful bed of decomposed granite sand that serves as soil around here (we're on the bottom slope of ancient sand dunes that ringed the lake that once filled the valley) is add minerals. And plenty of them! It seems that a good mineral mix helps to both make the plants grow larger and resist the cold better during winter and early spring. I think it also contributes to the overall health of the plants, and the flavor of edible crops. It may also help the plants resist disease and pests better too. I use a mixture of Azomite and any of several blends offered by Rock Dust Local. I LOVE RDL's mineral mixes. Does anybody else deliberately mineralize their soil? Have you noticed any differences with mineralizing?


  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    I've just added half sand and half of what is compost but has big chunks of shredded wood in it. I will be planting soon. The parts of my garden where it's just been dug in a little have really starting blooming well. My soil was very compact clay. I've bought rock dust in the past but didn't notice a big difference for the hefty price of it.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    Adding compost is always a good idea as it brings a multitude of nutrients to the soil. I would recommend having a soil test done. That way you know for sure what you soil is lacking. There may be micronutrients missing that may not be apparent in the appearance or growth of the plant. NPK is what most people seem to focus on but there are many more important minerals required by healthy plants. I know that selenium is lacking in soils in my area but you would never know that by looking at the crops. Magnesium is another mineral that has been depleted from a lot of soils. So a soil test kit is a great investment.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    I'll admit that I'm pretty lazy in some respects - but I also have an awfully big job developing our place, so I really don't have a lot of time and energy to be too fussy and specific about any one issue or area. My mantra is 'Mother nature doesn't do anything precisely, and it all works out, so why should I?' LOL! I've done some soil testing so I know what I have and don't have, but I'm just adding mineral mixes, horse manure, wood chips and crop residue and letting the worms and fungi do their things. I figure the plants know what they need and can sort things out for themselves better than I can (except for the acid lovers, for whom I provide peat, sulphur and pine needles courtesy of the neighbor's Doug Firs). So far, that seems to be a good approach. As I mentioned, the minerals so seem to help with overall vigor and winter hardiness. Since our western soil is already a bit alkaline, I'll skip the wood ashes but decomposing chips seem to be the best thing for the plants since sliced bread :-)

  • Gil Montano
    Gil Montano Posts: 39 ✭✭✭

    For me it is very difficult to be able to supply mineral salts to my plants. I don't know what salt I need to add to my crop and how much. I have had unfavorable experiences and I really prefer not to add them more than those that the substrate contains naturally and from time to time I put some folial fertilizer that contains mineral salts

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    I can't remember which old Eric Sloane book it was in, but he said that the old timers considered boulders "stone manure". He said that they felt they could grow anything in the spot a boulder had recently been in.

    There is also an old book called "Bread from Stones" that's pretty interesting on the subject.

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Hi @Suburban Pioneer we add azomite and sometimes other Rock dust. It seems to help the plants grow stronger and more resistant. the more we grow plants the more minerals that are removed from the soil. And they are generally slow release, that doesn't mean you can use as much as you want. However they seem forgiving.

    We haven't grown any trials, we just added at the start of the season.