Adding minerals to soils is an essential practice for sustainable food and flower production. Minerals will not only help sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but add important nutrients back into the soil food web. Silica, once a neglected mineral nutrient, is now emerging as an integral part in any proactive plant and soil care program.
Minerals such as Azomite™, Greensand, and Glacial Rock Dust contain various amounts of silica and have been relatively successful in the maintenance of healthy gardens. Although many farmers also use Diatomaceous Earth for its silica content, the hardened mineralized diatoms are slow to break down and may take years before plants can benefit. Volcanically derived mineral clays, such as Silica Earth™, is made up of micronized particles that can easily be broken down for increased bioavailability.
Volcanic activity pulls minerals and metals from deep in the earth. For remineralization the broad spectrum nutritive mineral compounds are often found in silica-rich volcanic magma and ash, in sea and fresh water minerals built from remnants of living creatures such as algae, diatoms and crustaceans producing calcium and magnesium-rich carbonates, in minerals derived from carbon-rich humus sediments from ancient bogs, and in the natural occurring mixtures of geologic materials found in alluvial and glacial sands and gravels.
Rock dusts for remineralization contain a diversity of nutritive minerals. Geologic materials have a long history as sources of fertilizer for growing crops. Calcium carbonate “lime” is perhaps the most famous. Granite dust is a traditional example of a rock dust used by farmers because of its known content of the nutrient potassium. Rock phosphate is another example of a mineral concentrate of phosphorus derived from ancient sediments.