How Can I Add Minerals to my Compost?

by Jim
(Kilkenny, Ireland)

How can I add trace elements (e.g. Magnesium) to my compost?

Comments for How Can I Add Minerals to my Compost?

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Feb 07, 2012
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Testing Your Compost is Key!
by: Compost Junkie Dave

The first questions I have to ask are these...

How do you know your compost needs remineralizing?
How do you know which minerals your compost needs?
Why do you home in on Magnesium?

You asked about adding "trace minerals" to your compost, but then you specified Magnesium, which is not a trace mineral. It's a VERY important macro-mineral in my opinion.

magnesium compost



My suggestion would be to have your compost tested. You'll never know what you need to add just by guessing. I would also have your garden/farm soils tested, so you can cater your remineralization of your compost to the soils onto which it will be applied.

When choosing a lab, please make sure they test the following nutrients - See the link below for a thorough nutrient analysis used by Logan Labs for testing compost. When possible, make sure your lab will test for "base-saturation" levels as well.

Logan Labs Compost PDF

Once you have your test results, send them over to me and I'll help you interpret them.

Unfortunately, I do not know any specific soil/compost testing labs in the UK. Does anyone else in the Tribe have any recommendations?

Once we know our starting point, we can know where we are heading.

I hope this helps.

If you choose to avoid all of this, you can add some seaweed extract, or sea water (you can purchase this in dried form and reconstitute it), to your compost to increase the levels of trace minerals. BUT that's just guessing and hoping for the best (not recommended, especially when our goal is nutrient-dense crops via balanced soils).

Please follow-up with me.

Related Products

Soluble Seaweed Extract

seaweed extract

Feb 07, 2012
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Brimming with Biology
by: Jim

Hi Dave,

I may have read somewhere that Mg was not present in abundance in compost, but I suppose that depends on what you put into it! I am toying with the idea of producing a compost tea, brimming with biology, perhaps fungal more than bacterial, and with copious macro- and trace-elements. I have a particular interest in promoting perennial grasses in sports turf.

Feb 07, 2012
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Compost Tea for Turf Grass
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Jim,

That's wonderful. I look forward to hearing more about this incredible brew you're concocting. I would also love to hear more about your use of perennial grasses in turf fields. What species of grasses are you working with?

Feb 11, 2012
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Nutrients in Leaves
by: Lloyd

I use a lot of deciduous leaves in my compost making to help with adding the various micro-nutrients. Rutgers did some analysis on the plant nutrients in a hundred samples.

Rutgers Nutrient Analysis

Feb 12, 2012
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Compost Tea
by: Brian

I have heard of successful gardeners and farmers using a bit of epsom salts in their composts...does that help to balance up a magnesium problem if you had a soil test? What quantities you would use is anyone's guess but they don't use a lot of it. Any clues?

I have heard a lot of so called gardening experts (somehow mysteriously connected to gardening supply companies) who say don't use this and that...only because they are not selling products because we the ordinary folk have gone back to basics in vegetable gardening. One of those everyday household products is epsom salts. I know gardeners use this for a lot of gardening reasons, especially roses, and they have been told by so called experts they should stop it for the experts' own ulterior motives (You will put thousands out of a job if you go back to basics, and I am one of those thousands). Mind you, I am not one for conspiracy theories..lol.

Give me the ordinary experienced gardener anyday. I have heard a lot of them over the years who have said, "Don't go out and waste money on this or that product. You have it in your kitchen or the garage." And 90% of the time they are right. It was under my nose and I didn't see it.

Feb 12, 2012
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Epsom Salts and Real People
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi Brian,

You make an excellent point. I'm with you 100% and can't stand the ol' ulterior motive gig.

Regarding the epsom salts - I used them this past Fall in my garden BUT that was only after I had my soils tested and learned that my Calcium to Magnesium ratio was way out of whack. My main point is this (and I think you already got it) - Don't just throw any ol' fertilizer in your gardens/composts without first knowing what they need. And the only way I know how to determine what they need is via a soil test from a reliable lab. To do anything else, is usually a waste of money.

My goal with this site is to connect real people with real gardening/farming experience to others with like attitudes and experiences. Together, we can help one another create some incredible food and slowly rebuild our food system from the ground up (pun intended).

You would be surprised how many times I have to delete comments from these pages from people trying to promote their product under the camouflage of offering up some shitty advice.

Your Soil and Health Scout,
Dave

Feb 12, 2012
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Azomite
by: Claude Phillippy

Check out Azomite.com This is a pretty sure way to add 70 minerals and trace elements. Since it's organic it's pretty safe to use. I add 1 teaspoon per gal of soil or compost.

Feb 13, 2012
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Southern States /Azomite
by: Claude Phillippy

I just found out that the Southern States Stores will carry Azomite starting this spring. I've been ordering mine from a mail order co. and the shipping is pretty high. It will be nice to have it available at my local Southern States Store even though it's a little pricey it's still better that paying the freight.

Feb 13, 2012
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An Example of What NOT to do!
by: Compost Junkie Dave

In reference to Claude's posts above...

This is the exact bullshit that Brian and I are talking about when we say people posting "advice" with an ulterior motive.

Claude, your post adds very little to the conversation aside from a product promotion. That sends up a flag to a site owner (Me). So I searched your name and a couple other terms in Google and low and behold, you appear to be a distributor for Azomite. 50% of the posts on Azomite's Facebook page are from you and they link to your store from their website.

Now don't get me wrong, I have ABSOLUTELY nothing against Azomite (it's similar to a product I frequently use); however, I DO have a problem with you posing to be something you are not. You had an ulterior motive when you posted this to our comments section.

In the future, do myself and our community a favor, if you want to promote your product, send me an email describing who you are and then send me a sample of your product. If it's as good as you say it is, I will have no problem trialing it and referring it to our Tribe.

When push comes to shove, there's a life lesson here and we were all taught it by our parents - BE Honest! That's all. It doesn't do anyone, especially yourself, any good to live a lie.

D

May 01, 2013
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help please i'm lost
by: rusty

Hello I have just had the results back from a sample of composted horse manure. the company carried out the analysis under my instruction but I am having trouble understanding the results. the said company are not allowed to recommend what I should do with the product, I have maybe 600 cubic meters, I would like to clean it, screen it, bag it & sell it! I have been given a comparative for organic manure's but I don't really understand those either! could you help? many thanks rusty

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