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Happy Farmers

Diatomaceous Earth Garden Uses

Planting season is here and everyone is getting all their seeds, fertilizers, and lastly, chemical pesticides for their garden crops.  Chemical pesticides have become a staple in our communities without really realizing what impacts these chemicals have on our bodies.  We speak with people all the time and they are completely unaware that when chemicals are sprayed on the garden, they go right to the plants and the fruit is contaminated.  Many say there is no way the companies would allow us to buy it if it did.  Truth is that our government, with the help of DOW and MONSANTO, has spread the highest use of pesticides on the planet other than China and India.

Diatomaceous earth, or known as food grade de or diatomaceous earth de is a collection of naturally occurring, single celled organisms, called diatoms.  Diatoms naturally occur in all water bodies on this planet and account for some oxygen production for us.  Diatoms live for a couple of weeks, synthesizing the water through their single celled body, absorbing the minerals within the water.  Over time, these diatoms fall to the floor of the water body and fossilize over time.   This sedimentary rock is then mined, pulverized, analyzed, and then bagged and sold to distributors like ourselves.

Diatomaceous earth is primarily used for pest control in the garden and home.  This substance will kill insects via a physical action rather than with chemical pesticides.  When an insect crawls through this powder, it gets stuck on their soft bodies via the microscopic sharp edges and then proceeds to polish away at the exoskeleton of the insect as it moves.  Eventually the insect will be dehydrated to death.  Such a simple procedure with huge results!  What insects does diatomaceous earth kill?

We want to be sure you are using the correct type of diatomaceous earth also.  There are two types of diatomaceous earth on the market.  There is food grade diatomaceous earth and then there is filter grade diatomaceous earth.  Filter grade diatomaceous earth is used in swimming pool filters to filter contaminants from your pool.  Its also used in industrial practices that involve filtration.  We have food grade diatomaceous earth and we also have an EPA approved diatomaceous earth that shares the same composition as the food grade but is labeled and registered as a legal pesticide by the EPA.  This product is called crawling insect control diatomaceous earth.  To help with application, we offer a product called the Dustin-Mizer Powder Duster.  Here are some more great uses for diatomaceous earth in the garden!

Water Retention

We have information regarding how much water can be absorbed by the DE.  10x its body weight in water!  So this prompted me to run an experiment.  I wanted to know if this would help with water retention.  I need water retention on a certain crop I plant and I really hate using water absorbent crystals, they are toxic and my plants uptake the bad stuff.  Mix 1/2 cup of food grade diatomaceous earth per 1 gallon of soil.  For garden beds we recommend 2 lbs per 100 square feet.

Insect Control

Our Crawling Insect Control Diatomaceous Earth is the ultimate NON GMO and Organic alternative to using chemical pesticides in your garden.  This stuff kills crawling insects by dehydrating them to death on a microscopic level.  Now this action does not interfere with any growth cycle of the plant and does not adjust the PH of soil if it gets washed into it.  You simply apply a visible application to the plants and/or ground.  Try to find a few days of dry weather at least and leave it without disturbing it.  I tend to do this 2-3 times a month during the growing cycle.    This seems to control squash beetles and other crawling insects well for me here in Nebraska and does not effect beneficial insects and their populations too much applying this way.

Use as a Deodorizer

There are those events when things around the garden can smell pretty foul.  In most gardeners experience, we can have cats and dogs use our garden beds like a bathroom and that can smell.  Simply apply diatomaceous earth over the spot and leave until dry.  Compost piles can get really smelly too and I apply an even application over the top of pile to help absorb the odors.  Certain soil amendments can have a smell also.  Especially amendments like blood meal that spell rotten.  Spread diatomaceous earth liberally over the areas where the amendments are applied.

Conditioning of Soil

Diatomaceous Earth, on a microscopic level, is shaped like a piece of chex mix or a honeycomb.  These spaces in the product can allow air and water to move freely.  This in turn can help condition a soil to make it ready for a root system.  With the help of diatomaceous earth and other conditioning products, your soil will be ready for whatever plant you want to grow in it.  Mix 1/2 cup per 1 gallon of soil and 2lbs per 100 square feet of garden ground.

Discourage Rodents

There is nothing worse than getting rodent infestation in your garden crops.  Rodents really do not like citrus smells and many people incorporate the use of essential oils to deter these pesky visitors from their homes and other areas of their property.  You may mix 3-5 drops of citrus essential oil to 1 cup of diatomaceous earth and you may apply this to your garden or home to help deter rodents from causing problems.

Slug Control

Depending on where you live in the United States, slugs area  huge pest in the garden!  Imagine waking up in the morning and noticing an army of slugs on your tomato plants, its a horrible sight.  Many people that live in areas with slugs have all sorts of traps and products they use to deter them.  Simply apply crawling insect control diatomaceous earth as a boundary around your garden beds or containers.  You may also apply directly to the plants themselves.  The diatomaceous earth creates an environment where it is way too dry for the slug and in many cases will make them go a different way to avoid it altogether.

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