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Roger's Palogonite experiment growing tomatoes

Palagonite, is the mineral mix I wrote about recently after a talk at BOGI. The ratio recommended is 1kg per square metre of garden bed with a similar amount of compost mixed in. You may remember that most of the discussion from my post was centred around the fact that most mineral mixes / rock dusts do not get anywhere near this amount recommended for addition to garden beds. 

Well at $20 per 20 kg it is a little expensive for this poor old retiree, so I've used less than recommended, but I still believe that if the product is what it is claimed to be then some differences will become obvious.

I have filled a couple of wheelie bins as full as I can, with one consisting of a mix of aged horse manure, my sandy soil, mushroom compost, and some good quality potting mix as well.

The other wheelie bin has the same ingredients, but I've added some Palagonite into the top 200 mm of the mix as well - about two shovelfuls. I've planted some Rouge De Marmande seedlings in the two bins deeply (almost up to their necks). I expect that the organics mixes will slump as the seedlings grow, and I will then add more mix bit by bit to encourage more root growth along the stems. As the plants get taller I will tie them to the string as supports, and will remove the lower leaves that look mottled or diseased as a way of trying to prevent problems creeping up the plants.

The use of these bins will eventually be to house small fruit trees. I am using the growing of tomatoes to also allow the dreaded slump to occur by growing a plants that actually appears to like a top up of growing medium and which should respond positively to this.

The other three bins will be used to grow potatoes, which can also be topped up in a beneficial way to prevent potatoes greening. I will also mix some Palagonite into one of the potato growing bins.

If anyone else has plans to use Palagonite or any other out of the ordinary materials as an experiment I would like to hear about it. We should be sharing this info as much as possible. 


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Comment by Susan on May 13, 2017 at 10:48

I'm keen to see the results.

Comment by DARREN JAMES on May 12, 2017 at 21:38

Hi Roger ,I cant agree more as sharing information and experiences simply helps everyone .I have spread my palagonite over my raised beds,bananas,tomatoes,small potted plants herbs etc but not on my pumpkins due to the worry of them splitting or aborting their vines so close to their maturity,they have though been getting a swig of good old seasol.I have also been introducing it into my compost heaps and it will be interesting to see how things go but I can only imagine it will be better.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 12, 2017 at 9:29

I have been using Palagonite for quite a while in the Vegetable Garden, but obviously not to the amount that was needed. We recently renovated the front garden and planted Citrus Trees along with Lavender and Salvia for Companions. In that new garden preplanting we used Palagonite, Cow Manure & Our Compost in the soil and Citrus Planting Mix & Compost in the planting holes to give the Citrus a good start.  Also, I have planted new seedlings this week, after adding a liberal amount of Palagonite, Mushroom Compost and Our Compost to the soil prior to planting. I will keep you updated on my findings, perhaps with some before and after shoots.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2017 at 19:19

I use Palagonite a lot but I have never done a 'side by side' experiment so my results are not really useful. It's not only the minerals but other ingredients as well afaik. I use a measure of Palagonite, a measure of Gypsum as my basics adding 'Epsom Salts' (magnesium sulphate) to the Tomatoes but not other plants. Adding as much home-made compost as I have available. It seems to work alright. I was using Organic Xtra and while it's great stuff, it's expensive and manufactured.

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