Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I made it along to BOGI on Thursday evening for once, It is an hour plus drive from downtown Park Ridge and I often don't make the effort, but I'm glad I did this time. Some of you might have seen the ABC news on Saturday where they also had a segment about the same subject - Palagonite. They showed Polo fields in Qatar, which have been treated with Palagonite and have great results getting grass to grow there.

Palagonite is a mineral mix formed by very specific volcanic activity. Mt Sylvia in Queensland has large deposits and organic farmers in the Lockyer Valley have been trialling it with very good results.

The Palagonite is being mixed with compost and then applied to the growing beds. It is (apparently) in a form that is much more bio - available to the plants than the other mineral mixes that we have all used previously. A supplier of compost to farmers in the area has reported that he can produce his compost in 3/4 of the time previously taken and that the results for the farmers he supplies have been very good.

He didn't feature on the news segment though as he didn't want to give away any secrets to his competitors.

BOGI (Brisbane Organic Growers Inc.) sell 20 Kilos for $20, a saving from buying it from produce stores. I will try this and report back on results. Has anyone else out there tried this yet? Please tell us of your experience with it if you have.    

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Comment by Roger Clark on April 18, 2017 at 8:03

The guy who makes the compost for his farmer customers around the Darling Downs area, mixes compost with Palagonite and chook manure. I don't know the percentages of the mix other than the three parts compost to 1 part Palagonite ratio. He maintains that the composting process is speeded up considerably and that the results are very good. He is very guarded about giving his exact details as he doesn't want to give his secrets away to his competitors. I will be mixing my compost with Palagonite and horse manure, because I get it for free.

I'll have to wait until the next BOGI meeting though for the Palagonite.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 17, 2017 at 13:01

Afaik, Palagonite and Mt Sylvia rock dust are one and the same. The 'ite' ending indicates a mineral, so 'Palagonite' is a scientific name and we know it as Mt Sylvia rock dust.

It would not lose its 'oomph' coz it's something which doesn't readily break down or at least that is my assumption, fwiw.

I have felt that way about that charcoal stuff - I used litres of it to no avail that I could see. Mind you I was trying to garden on the slope before we made the beds into wicking beds. Since then I have not been able to source it cheaply enough to bother.

Comment by Christa on April 17, 2017 at 11:26

My bag of rock dust is from Mt. Sylvia, and I am not sure if this is the same as Palagonite.  For a few years, I have been dusting the ground with it, once a year, mainly placing it under the pea straw or sugar cane mulch.  Without doing a soil test, I cannot say if it is very beneficial.

Lately I have been wondering if plants can mine their own supply if they send roots down far enough.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 17, 2017 at 10:58

I have been using a Local Rock Dust and having good results but I am also keen to buy some of the Palagonite, I would like to add to my Compost whilst making it. As my compost takes an average 3 months to make to a fine tilth, does anyone know if the Palagonite will loose it's oomph, over the 3 months whilst in the bin or is it better to add to fresh Compost. I also add Horse or Cow Manure to the bin in layers as well.

Comment by DARREN JAMES on April 10, 2017 at 21:37

Hi everyone,I have to back up everything that Roger has said ,that meeting was really great and the results  on the photos displayed showed very good evidence of how it works.As far as meetings go I went home trully inspired by this product and it will definitely be part of my composting regime.

Comment by Sophie on April 10, 2017 at 17:56

Cool, how does this compare to Garden Mate?

Comment by Rob Collings on April 9, 2017 at 22:12

For those who have being mixing in far less, I would be guessing that it's probably due to the instructions supplied with product you used. A quick search over the varying products in Australia revealed instructions ranging from 50 grams per square metre and up to 5Kg per square metre! ... with the Promethium having a range of recommendation between 2Kg and 5Kg per square metre.

The Healthy Earth rock dust I have used to date, recommends 50 grams per SquareMetre for gardens. 

I too am interested in this product as the Promethium cost may work out cheeper (regardless of the higher dosing rate) when its being sold at $20 for 20 Kilos.

I like to start gardens with rock dust, but I usually apply rock dust after initial application based on plant and fruit health and taste.. a little bit of a reactive attitude, however, it allows me to gain a rough understanding of the plant's & soil's requirements.... I have found that this process works best in a polyculture garden, as you get greater feedback with the range of plant types and therefore varying separate mineral requirements per plant type.... All this doesn't matter as much @ $20 for a huge bag of mineral rock!

Comment by Rob Collings on April 9, 2017 at 21:34

Thanks Roger

Comment by Susan on April 9, 2017 at 19:11

Thanks Cathie.

Comment by Cathie MacLean on April 9, 2017 at 18:58
Aaaahhh... I knew I should have pushed through my weariness and gone to that meeting! Susan, BOGI meetings are on the first Thursday of the month. I, too, am clearly using too little rock dust.

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