Keep Soil Microbes Happy: Feed Them a Healthy Diet of All-Natural Volcanic Rock Dust

Happy New Year! Did you resolve to lose weight by eating less? If yes, you are not alone. Eating less food (and making healthier food choices) is one of the top resolutions that people make year after year.

Maybe you resolved to feed your pets less, too. According to veterinarians, more than half of the nation’s pets are overweight or obese. As a result, our four-legged friends are suffering from many of the weight-related health issues that plague us humans.

When it comes to soil microbes, however, more food is a good thing.

You see, soil microbes are very, very hungry. You can’t see bacteria, fungi, algae, nematodes or anthropods with the naked eye, but these microorganisms depend on minerals in the soil to live and to multiply. In return, they act like the “worker bees” of the soil, breaking down organic material and making essential nutrients and micronutrients available to plants. The result is rich soil that grows healthy and nutritious food—the same food that you’ve resolved to eat more of in the New Year!

The Rock Dust Diet: Not Just a “Fad”

So what do these hungry little microbes like to eat?

For the answer, just look to Mother Nature. Our planet’s soil is formed by two major natural processes. Volcanoes create new soil through lava flows and ash deposits. Glaciers grind rocks up into small particles. These fresh deposits of rock material are what allow beneficial soil microbes to flourish.

Absent Mother Nature’s intervention, the next best way to feed the microbes in our soils is to apply a layer of minerals in the form of rock dust. (On the plus side, driving to the garden center is a WHOLE LOT less dramatic than waiting for the next volcano or glacier!).

And while there are many different types of rock dust, crushed volcanic basalt is one of the best sources of plant nutrients including calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), and manganese (Mn). When looking for a basalt-based product, look for a product like Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster which is OMRI Listed for organic production and which contains no other ingredients, i.e., no synthetic or man-made materials. (Note: Silicon is naturally derived from basalt and helps improve plant structure and stress tolerance.)

So this year, as you renew your vows to take better care of yourself, make another resolution to take care of the microbes in your soil, too. They may be small, but they hold within them the power to build a healthier planet for all of us.