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What Is Greensand: Tips For Using Glauconite Greensand In Gardens

Soil improvements are necessary for rich, organic soil that percolates well and provides bountiful nutrients to your garden plants. Greensand soil supplement is beneficial for improving the mineral content of your soil. What is greensand? Greensand is a natural mineral harvested from ancient ocean floors. It is widely available at many of the better nursery centers. The high quantity of minerals gives the gritty mix a greenish color and its name.

What is Greensand?

Oceans once covered many areas of the earth. As the seas receded, they left behind nutrient-rich marine beds (these deposits harden into layers of minerals) where rich sediment is harvested from the sandy rock for garden soil amendment.

Greensand fertilizer is a rich source of glauconite, which is high in iron, potassium and magnesium. These components are all important to good plant health. It also helps loosen soil, improve moisture retention, soften hard water, and increase root growth. Greensand soil supplement has been marketed over 100 years but has actually been used for centuries.

Using Glauconite Greensand

Greensand provides a slow and gentle release of minerals, which protects plants from the classic root burn that many stronger fertilizers can cause. Using glauconite greensand as a soil conditioner provides a gentle source of potassium in a 0-0-3 ratio. It can contain up to 30 different trace minerals, all of which enrich the soil and are easy for plants to uptake.

One of the biggest benefits of greensand is its ability to break up clay soils, which increases drainage and allows oxygen into the soil. The exact amounts of greensand garden application will vary depending upon what manufacturer produces the compound. Some manufacturers will add sand to the mixture, which may impact the strength of the product. The condition of your soil will also dictate how much greensand fertilizer is necessary for maximum effectiveness.

Greensand Garden Application Method

Greensand must be broken down in soil and is not water soluble. As a general rule, mix 2 cups into the soil around each plant or tree. For broadcast application, the average rate is 50 to 100 pounds per 1,000 feet of soil.

The product is organically certified and the green color from the glauconite helps absorb sun and warm soils earlier in spring. The gritty texture is able to soak up more moisture than garden sand and conserve it for plant roots.

Greensand soil supplement is easy to use and gentle for even the most sensitive plants. Apply in early spring as either a soil amendment or simply a good all purpose fertilizer.

Green Sand Casting

What is a Green Sand Casting?

These castings are made using sand molds formed from “wet” sand which contains water and organic bonding compounds, typically referred to as clay. The name “Green Sand” comes from the fact that the sand mold is not “set”, it is still in the “green” or uncured state even when the metal is poured in the mold. Green sand is not green in color, but “green” in the sense that it is used in a wet state (akin to green wood). Unlike the name suggests, “green sand” is not a type of sand on its own (that is, not greensand in the geologic sense), but is rather a mixture of:

There are many recipes for the proportion of clay, but they all strike different balances between moldability, surface finish, and ability of the hot molten metal to degas. Coal, typically referred to in foundries as sea-coal, which is present at a ratio of less than 5%, partially combusts in the presence of the molten metal, leading to offgassing of organic vapors. Green sand casting for non-ferrous metals does not use coal additives, since the CO created does not prevent oxidation. Green sand for aluminum typically uses olivine sand (a mixture of the minerals forsterite and fayalite, which is made by crushing dunite rock).

The choice of sand has a lot to do with the temperature at which the metal is poured. At the temperatures that copper and iron are poured, the clay gets inactivated by the heat, in that the montmorillonite is converted to illite, which is a non-expanding clay. Most foundries do not have the very expensive equipment to remove the burned out clay and substitute new clay, so instead, those that pour iron typically work with silica sand that is inexpensive compared to the other sands. As the clay is burned out, newly mixed sand is added and some of the old sand is discarded or recycled into other uses.

Improve Your Garden Soil With Greensand

Last Updated: May 18, 2015 | by Mike McGroarty

Greensand is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined from ancient sea floor deposits and it has been used as a fertilizer since the 1700s. In the U.S., greensand is found mainly in Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Arkansas, in areas that were ocean floor at some point in Earth’s history.

Greensand 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 mixed into the soil at planting time or it can be applied around established plants as a side dressing. Unlike chemical fertilizers, it will not burn your plants if applied too heavily.


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At first glance, greensand may not look like much of a fertilizer, with an N-P-K rating of only 0-0-0.1 to 0-0-3. But it is the trace minerals present in greensand that prove its worth. Depending on where it was mined, greensand can include up to thirty different trace minerals, including silica and magnesia. While plants need only tiny amounts of these trace minerals, they are essential to the health of both the soil and your plants. Greensand is mainly potash and hydrated silicate of iron and is often used by organic gardeners as a source of potassium for the garden.

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Some manufacturers add sand to their greensand products, so the exact strength and application rate may vary anywhere from five to thirty pounds per 100 square feet of garden space. The application rate will also depend on the specific needs of your garden’s soil. Whether you buy Jersey greensand, Texas glittergreen greensand or any other greensand, always check the label for instructions before applying this amendment to your garden.

In general, when applying greensand around established landscape plants, give each shrub or tree about two cups as a side dressing once a year.

Other than as a fertilizer, here’s another reason to use greensand: Greensand will help loosen up clay soils and help bind sandy soils, actually helping to prevent erosion. The greensand particles act much like sand to keep soil particles from locking together, while also trapping moisture in the ground and keeping soil in place. The potassium in greensand also promotes root growth, and its ability to loosen the soil will help increase the amount of oxygen available to the growing roots.

Greensand increases the soil’s ability to hold moisture. When greensand is mixed into potting soil, less watering will be required for your potted plants. Desert clay soils amended with greensand will retain and be able to use available moisture more readily.

No matter what type of soil is in your garden, the addition of greensand will help to make soil nutrients more available to your plants. Greensand is not water soluble, it will not dissolve in water. The nutrients in greensand are available to plants only after the greensand has been digested by the good microorganisms that reside in healthy soil. These are the same microorganisms that help the soil’s organic material break down and become rich, dark soil.

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 when greensand is applied to the soil surface, its dark color will help absorb sunlight and help warm the soil in early spring.

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 be a big step in making it more suitable for your plants.

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. Greensand is good stuff and your garden soil and plants will appreciate it.

Questions? I do my best to answer all questions on my blog…

Using Greensand Brings the mineral rich ocean to your garden

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  • Greensand
  • Uses
  • Buy Green sand
  • Application Rates
  • More …..

Greensand

It is an all natural slow-releasing source of potassium an essential nutrient required by plants contributing to their overall hardiness and good health. It is used as both a soil amendment and fertilizer, typical NPK is 0-0-3. and is one of the best certified organic sources of potassium, OMRI listed for organic use.

Being derived from undersea mineral deposit in sandy rock or sediment that were once part of the sea-bed, it has the consistency of sand but is able to absorb 10 times more moisture making it an exceptional soil conditioner. Not only is it a rich source of potassium but the naturally occurring Iron-Potassium Silicate contains, magnesium, iron and silica as well as many trace minerals that are important to plant health and growth.

Green sand Uses

  • Apply green-sand to enhance soil structure.
  • Adding potassium rich green-sand to your garden helps to increase root growth of plants.
  • Green sand can be added to the soil surface and allowed to slowly perculate down into the garden or blended into the soil by spade, fork or tiller.
  • It improves plant health in general by making nutrients more available in whatever soil you have.
  • Loosen’s heavy clay soils, the additional looseness of the soil will increase the supply of oxygen to the growing roots.
  • Helps to improve the moisture retention of sandy soils, making them more drought tolerant.

Potting Mixes

Green-sand is often used in potting soil to provide a slow release potassium and in time can improve soil structure. This is fine for potted plants that are permanent residence in those pots. However because this source of potash is very slow release and is available to plants at relatively small amounts at any one time it has limited use in potting mixes for quick growing vegetable seedlings that spend very little time in seedling pots.

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Green sand Application Rates

The recommended application rate is to broadcast:

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GREENSAND: What Is It & Why We Need To Use It

Benefits: What Does It Do?

While Greensand has been used for over 250 years as a soil amendment in the US, there is a lack of adequate scientific research to explain what numerous greenhouse and field studies have shown. Most scientists are so focused on the soil conditioning aspects of greensand, that they fail to recognize the nutritional value of the 30+ trace minerals it contains.

Hence, a bag of greensand will typically list a handful of nutrients, touting the potash, potassium, and iron content, but fails to mention the 30+ trace minerals that are the most important aspects of Greensand! But greensand is nothing short of amazing for supplementing the soil with minor, micro, trace and pico nutrients.

And while most sources only mention greensand has “30+ trace minerals”, I count 73 trace minerals and micro-nutrients in the list found here:

click the photo above to read more

What’s the big deal about trace minerals?

Recent studies reveal that it is the trace minerals such as found in greensand, that enable the plants to more effectively transport nutrients from roots to leaf tips, strengthening the plant against disease. So the plants not only grow better or bigger with greensand, but it significantly strengthens the plant’s immune system.

It also improves the flavor and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. I can tell you from personal observation, even the deer will ALWAYS choose the plants that have been fed with greensand and other organic soil amendments over even their “preferred favorites” menu grown synthetically!

Why is the “iron” and “potassium” on
the label NOT the big deal?

Iron content can vary from 12-19%, and often is released so slowly that we need additional iron supplementation in Florida to get past the calcium in our water.

Potassium varies typically from 5-7% and is also released so slowly that it is insufficient as a sole source of potassium. But because it is a slow release product, greensand does not burn.

Other Benefits

Greensand is a great soil conditioner, improving the moisture holding properties of soil, as it is capable of absorbing 10 times more moisture than most soil. It loosens hard soils, and binds sandy soils and assists in the release of other nutrients.

We also know that mineralization can improve soil life by increasing certain bacteria that can slowly dissolve insoluble mineral nutrients, making them more bio-available.

While the pH will vary some from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, it makes little effect in the overall pH balance of the soil.

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