Fertilizer & NutritionOrganic GrowingSoils & Grow Mediums

Improving Soil with Greensand

There is a wonderful organic product that will improve your garden and potting soil. 

Greensand is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined from ancient sea floor deposits that has been used as a fertilizer since the 1700s. In the U.S. greensand is found mainly in Texas, New Jersey and Arkansas and is completely organic and safe to handle. It will not harm insects, pets or people and is so safe it can be scooped up in your hands. Greensand can be applied to the garden any time, and unlike chemical fertilizers, it will not burn your plants if applied too heavily.

Now here’s the best part: Greensand will help loosen up clay soils and help bind sandy soils. It also retains water and will increase the soil’s ability to hold moisture. When greensand is mixed into potting soil, less watering will be required for your potted plants. Greensand looks much like fine beach sand that has been tinted green, but it is able to absorb ten times more moisture than beach sand. The dark green color of greensand is natural, and the when greensand is applied to the soil surface, its dark color will help absorb sunlight and help warm the soil in early spring.

At first glance, greensand may not look like much of a fertilizer. It has an N-P-K rating of only 0-0-0.1 to 0-0-3 which means it contains no nitrogen or phosphorus and only a slight amount of potash. But it is the trace minerals present in greensand that prove its worth. While plants need only tiny amounts of these trace elements, they are essential to a plant’s growth. Greensand will provide calcium, manganese, and over thirty more trace elements for your plants. 

An application of greensand will improve the soil and thereby improve the health of your plants. Greensand will make roses bloom longer and it will make tomato plants produce tastier fruit. If your garden soil is heavy with clay or sandy and weak, a dose of greensand will make it more suitable for your plants.

Whether you buy Jersey greensand, Texas glittergreen greensand or Arkansas greensand, always check the label for instructions before applying this amendment to your garden. Application rates can vary from 5 to 80 pounds per 100 square feet, depending on the specific needs of the soil.

Greensand can be found at garden centers and in some gardening catalogs. If your local garden center doesn’t offer greensand, ask them if they can order it in for you. Your garden will appreciate it.

Mike McGroarty is the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com and read his blog at Mikesbackyardnursery.com.

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