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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Portland Area Rock Dust Survey

Portland Area Rock Dust Survey

Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 189

I started this IndieGoGo to come up with some money to test local rock dust for use as soil amendments. Check it out and please repost!

Rock dusts are have amazing potential as a soil amendment, but which one is right for your soil? This project will help you figure that out.

Every garden's soil composition is
different, lacking in essential minerals and nutrients while rich in
others. The same disproportion is true of rock dusts. Southern Maine
is very geologically diverse, and our local quarries collect and sift
the fine tailings from their crushed stone products, resulting in diverse
rock dust with different mineral profiles from one quarry to another.

By collecting and analyzing samples of
rock dusts from local quarries, I will create a database of the
minerals available within a given quarry's rock dust. The database will be freely available online. Using this
database, local gardeners will be able to cross-reference the results
of their own garden's soil test results to determine which quarry's
rock dust is the best match for their needs.

The majority of the funds raised here will go towards testing samples at Logan Labs LLC, a $25 test from the lab will give these data points for each source: pH,Total Exchange Capacity, Sulfur, Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Boron, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Aluminum, Molybdenum, Cobalt, Silicon, Selenium and % Base Saturdation Ca, Mg, K, Na. Some funds will be needed for acquiring samples, packing and shipping samples and possible extra testing. I hope to test samples from 10-15 sources.If you want to help in ways other then donating, or in addition to donating, you can help spread the word by linking to this page on facebook or other social media and by alerting me to rock dust sources i may not know of. Of course if you have already tested a local rock dust and can share the results that is very helpful as well.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 96
Great idea! Posting it on might be another way to get the word out. I'm inquiring my local source, P & K Sand and Gravel in Naples, about the availabiltity/pricing of their dust, and will be happy to share any findings.
One thing I've discovered is that dust from cutting operations could be potentially contaminated. The water that is used to cool and lube the blades has a flocculant added to it, and I was told by a guy in the yard of Rockport Granite that it is 'toxic'. So, it seems to me that rock powders from crushers are a better choice.
A former member
Post #: 39
Hi Everyone,

I hope you are enjoying our beautiful Fall weather and the developing foliage.

Aaron is correct about the rock dust / rock flour. I share his enthusiasm and have been using this product in my garden's soil, around our shrubs and trees for over 6 years. The results have been fantastic! Even my wife asks me now if I added any rock flour to her flowers.

Don Weaver, who is the author of To Love And Regenerate the Earth and co-author of The Survival of Civilization, shared with me in an email that "it is the microbes and the fungi, that run the show on Earth and we need to feed them well". He added, "Sometimes you can get gravel dust or "fines" at gravel pits for more like $10/ton, so you might check around your bio-region first. Granite is only one kind of rock Nature uses normally to create the world's most fertile soils."

Both of Don's books are available for free at:

Granite is definitely something we have in abundance in Maine.

Many decades ago, Maine had a thriving granite industry. They supplied most of the granite that Washington D.C. is covered with, as well as the granite blocks that supports the Brooklyn Bridge, had been delivered on wooden, sailing ships from mines located along our coast.

Unfortunately, many of the owners of those old mines had few environmental concerns of using their "fines pits" other than as waste dumps. You're not going to find information like that in any of the history books, in fact, most of today's new owner's are often oblivious to the unscrupulous acts that transpired over one hundred years ago. Another fact, I learned of recently, while at a town hall meeting, is that many of these pits were and are still being used for target practice and are peppered with the accumulation of possibly tons of lead shot.

You've got to do your research.

1. Wikipedia (Rockdust): http://en.wikipedia.o...­
2. Wikipedia (Rock flour): http://en.wikipedia.o...­
3. Remineralize the Earth: http://remineralize.o...­

Dennis Warner

Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 190
Good idea on the MOFGA board, jesse. A great thing to get if you are checking around for source is the super fine stuff they wash out of the stone dust, its usually called "lagoon dust" "lagoon sand" or "sump sand". If they have it they are usually willing to part with it for under $2/ton.

Thanks for the story Dennis!
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 97
P & K Sand and Gravel in Naples simply screens their crusher product, no floating or washing, so the dust that's available there has quite a variety in particle size, from 3/8" down to powder. Lots of sparkly mica flecks. Costs about $10/ton delivered.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 557
Jesse, does their particle size distribution lead to good drainage and water retention in the P&K mix?
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