[permaculture] Rock Dust

Chris Carnevale c.s.carnevale at gmail.com
Fri Mar 8 01:08:24 EST 2013

Does Solomon have something against compost or does he just warn against
using only compost and nothing else?


On Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 12:38 AM, tanya <tanyagarden at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM, Chris Carnevale <c.s.carnevale at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm wondering who has used rock dust as a soil amendment and what your
> > results were?  Has anyone found a better freely available micronutrient
> > source?  How does seaweed compare to rock dust?
> >
> Haven't used it, but I recently read Steve Solomon's book on growing
> nutrient-dense food, The Intelligent Gardener. He says mineralized
> basalt rock dust is not practical for backyard gardeners because it's
> expensive (to use the amount needed) and takes many years to show a
> difference.  He analyzes what specific minerals you get (pounds of
> each element per ton of rock dust) and looks at what other sources are
> available. Instead of rock dust, he recommends sulfates from Black
> Lake Organics for Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn. They can be added to a dry fert
> (based on the results of a specific $20 soil test from Logan Labs) or
> used as a foliar feed (using a max of 1 tablespoon of single or mixed
> sulfates per gallon of water; i teaspoon max for Cu). For
> micronutrients such as Cr Co I Mb Se Sb V Ni   he recommends kelp meal
> at 1 pound per 100 sf per year. For B he recommends regular laundry
> borax, a teaspoon or so per 100 sf, depending on your soil test. (I
> don't own the book but took a few notes.)
> I'm in the middle of reading Phil Nauta's book on growing
> nutrient-dense food, Building Soils Naturally. He does recommend rock
> dust for everyone, but does not go into the details of what it
> contains or how long it takes to see results. He recommends 2-50
> pounds per cubic yard of compost so that it gets chelated with the
> organic matter. For application directly to garden beds, he cites
> other recommendations, which vary from 15 to 50 pounds per 100 sf, and
> says as little as 0.5 lb/100sf has shown results. He also recommends
> kelp meal, at 0.3-1 pound per 100 sf/yr. In addition, he also
> recommends ocean water for some of the same trace minerals (and
> recommends other additives that act as biostimulants), but again, does
> not name the minerals.
> Engineers will prefer the Solomon approach, very linear and
> numbers-based, with detailed arguments for making each choice.
> Kitchen witches will prefer the Nauta approach, lots of brews and
> biostimulants.
> The approaches seem quite different, but depending on your garden and
> your goals, I think both approaches lend themselves to experimentation
> and are complementary, for the most part. They do disagree on using
> ferts with GMOs, and Solomon has a whole chapter about not relying on
> compost.
> If anyone else has read either or both of these books, I'd be
> interested in hearing what you think. I've been thinking of getting my
> soil tested (at a community garden plot) and playing around with more
> than just the alfalfa pellets, nettle and comfrey teas, and compost
> I've been using.
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