The Cottage Smallholder

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Rockdust soil conditioner


Photo: Autumn garden

Photo: Autumn garden

Yesterday I popped into Notcutts looking for Rockdust. They didn’t stock it. In fact most of their shop was packed with Christmas things. They did have the jute sacks that Penny mentioned on my Autumn Leaves post – knocked down to four for a fiver. A bargain.

We are composting like mad. We have the chicken poo from our flock and are considering bokashi composting since Suky told us how to make our own bokashi bins on the forum.

I’ve spent some time researching the benefits and claims of Rockdust. A recent 3 year study at Glasgow University concluded that Rockdust could not be proven to be a useful soil fertility amendment. However there are many people who claim that it’s a miracle soil conditioner, including the couple who have been experimenting with it for over twenty years. They are located in Scotland and grow huge vegetables. You can read about them here.

This rang bells with me. Do you remember the first news from the Findhorn community? Those giant vegetables growing in the sandy soil of the caravan car park. Although they laid down their success to the help of spirit guides rather than rock dust.

A small wood borders our cottage garden. On the positive side it provides a great vertical counterbalance to the long garden. When it’s breezy, the wind in the leaves sounds like the sea. The wood also creates pretty patches of dappled shade. But the downer is that the roots of these trees are leaching the nutrients from the soil in the garden. The soil can be very compacted, particularly in the old kitchen garden. If we are growing vegetables all the year round we are putting our soil under pretty heavy pressure. Perhaps rock dust would help?

The more that I read about it the more attractive it sounds. As a by product from a quarry it’s not wildly expensive. I’m off to buy some fleece today so I’ll see whether I can find some Rockdust at Scotsdales in Fordham. Otherwise it’s available on line from Harrod Horticulture where it has a lot of encouraging reviews from customers.

Does anyone out there have any experience with Rockdust?

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  1. Frank Wellwood

    About rock dust, I believe it must take some years before a change in productivity can be seen. Bit like giving up daily meat for a veggie lifestyle. The folks in Scotland have used rock dust for 20 years. I add mine to kitchen waste into a tumbler and on to worm bins for next year. I expect some very big worms in time.

  2. Maeve

    Hi there. I have just started using rockdust and second what Sheila said about B&Q, it is called ‘Verve’ rockdust and it’s the seer centre one rebranded under B&Q’s own basics brand. If you look at the back of the bag, it actually has the seer logo on it.

    I presume you live in East Cambs as I saw fordham and notcutts mentioned… I live in Ely and have the clay soil. I’ve put rockdust on everything and it retains moisture extremely well.

  3. Try B&Q for rockdust. A 20kg bag is around £6, the cheapest I have found. think I shall try it

  4. We are now in Taiwan used to use tea leaves and peanut as soil fertility amendment.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Choclette

    That’s really interesting. I’ve just ordered 60 kilos from Harrod Horticulture as I have a feeling that this will do the trick in our kitchen garden and fruit cages.

    Can’t wait to see the results.

  6. Choclette

    We’ve been using rockdust for about 5 years now. We believe it’s working and think our veg are growing better for it. BUT, it’s so hard to tell – weather conditions, ability to plant at correct times and look after crops, soil conditions (we’ve grown in three different plots over the years). The only definitive answer would come from proper scientific trials. If nothing else, it has the placebo effect for us – we believe our vegetables are giving us more nutrients so we feel healthier!

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Thanks for the links. Much appreciated.

    Hello KarenO

    You can get it from Harrod Horticultural – there’s a link to it on my post above. It’s not very expensive compared to most fertilisers.

    Hi Paula

    Thanks for this information. I spotted a liquid seweed feed at the garden centre yesterday. I’ve also invested in some comfrey plamts to make comfrey liquid feed.

    I’m going to invest in the rock dust as we are really working the garden hard by growing veggies all year.

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