Azomite To Your Organic Garden
While most of the attention is given to the “big 3” of nutrients; nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, plants also require trace minerals and micro-nutrients to thrive. Azomite – Organic Trace Mineral Soil Additive Fertilizer is a great way to supplement the feeding of your garden soil, whether you are growing organically or not. Odds are good that your soil is lacking, or in many cases, void of many of these trace elements that plants need to flourish.
What is Azomite?
Azomite is the name of a special rock in Utah. Early in the 20th century geological prospector Rollin Anderson found deposits of montmorillonite clay in a valley south of Salt Lake City. AZOMITE® is a registered trade mark and is an acronym for “A to Z of Minerals Including Trace Elements”. AZOMITE® contains more than 60 trace minerals which include many rare earth elements.
AZOMITE® is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production. It is simply mined, crushed and sold. It has a pH of 8.0 and does contain trace amounts of heavy metals and lead, but in lesser amounts than might be found in your typical soil sample. It does not contain sufficient amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium, so additional plant fertilizing is necessary from other sources for these macro-nutrients.
How much do you need?
Here are the application guidelines given at azomite.com:
“When preparing the soil, use AZOMITE® at the rate of 1 lb per 10 sq ft. If in rows, mix with the seed or starter plant and apply at the rate of 1 lb per 25 ft of row. If bed is established, sprinkle around each plant. AZOMITE® should be applied with compost, humus, manures, or other fertilizers to provide additional levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. AZOMITE® will not burn plants. For house plants, mix 1 teaspoon per 2 inch pot diameter with potting soil before planting. Give 1 teaspoon quarterly thereafter. For roses, apply 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. to the soil around each plant and lightly till into soil.”
Prices current as of 11/19/2012
*Note: The Azonite granular, pictured in the center above, comes in 4, 8, and 12-lb bags (4 lb bag shown). I believe the other two products are Azomite powder, which should not be spread with a spreader due to excess dust produced, but the granular product can be. Also note that the larger 44 lb. bag price does not include shipping, which will add approx. $26.50. So, you’re looking at roughly just under $2.00/lb.
While not the cheapest supplement to your garden, I also don’t think that its prohibitive when you consider the benefits received. The average garden might use 5-10 lbs, of course, if you have a larger garden, then you may want to consider getting the 44 lb. bag. So, I would estimate that you’re looking at $20-25/year to add Azomite to your organic garden.