How to Remineralize Your Soil With Basalt Rock Dust

by | Oct 23, 2021 | Habitat Restoration, Pollinators

A super easy way to make your garden lush & green is to remineralize your soil with basalt rock dust. At a time where top soil is being lost at extraordinary rates, this is a no brainer. This article explains how to get amazing results using basalt rock dust to boost your plants’ health & soil life.

Basalt Rock Dust

Using basalt rock dust for soil remineralization is the coolest new thing in organic agriculture. More and more farmers & gardeners add finely ground basalt rock dust to their soil. The goal: provide essential mineral nutrients for the soil microbes that fertilize your garden. This is how it works:

  1. Naturally, freezing temperatures in conjunction with rain, ice and other geological processes break down rock & stone.
  2. Mechanical movements of animals, plant roots and soil microbes further the process of breaking down minerals.
  3. Then microbes digest the minerals and fix them into a form your plants can use.
  4. Adding basalt rock dust can accelerate this process and create soil fertility from readily bioavailable soil minerals.

Indeed, lots of successful growers apply rock dust or “stone meal” as one of their best soil amendments.

“Bread From Stones”

In the late 19th century, a German scientist Julius Hensel stepped up to be the early pioneer of remineralization.

He was fascinated with the study of rock dust as an organic soil amendment. His book on the subject entitled “Bread from Stones” was published in 1894.

School of Rock

He conducted dozens of experiments and worked with growers, farmers and agricultural educators. In result, he was able to show that using rock dust had major positive effects on plant growth:

  • He noted rock dust positively affected plant vigor, survival rates, resistance to pest, disease, drought and freezing temperatures.
  • He even noted higher, heavier yields of more nutritious fruits.
  • One farmer who used it for five years straight reported that his soil noticeably improved year after year.
  • Others report enhanced shelf life of produce, improved flavors and nutritional value to the consumer.

How to Use Basalt Rock Dust

Using rock dust is super easy and low-risk. You cannot “burn” your plants with it. Don’t use so much in your pots or garden beds that it thickens your soil. But other than that, just sprinkle it on!

  • Spread on farm plots and garden beds at the low rate of 10 lbs / 100 sq.ft.
  • Sprinkle lightly around the drip-line of trees or plants, gently scratch into the soil surface with a rake or hand, then water in.
  • Add to soil mixes at a rate of 1/2 – 1 cup / sq.ft. for potted plants.
  • Sprinkle into your compost bin every 6 months to boost bacteria and feed microbes.

Pioneers for Safer Pest Control. 

Is Basalt Rock Dust Sustainable?

In terms of sustainability, basalt rock dust ranks highly. 

It’s a byproduct of mining basalt for roads and landscaping. Basalt rock dust is a great choice for sustainable remineralizing products.

Especially here in Portland Oregon where basalt is plentiful and nearby.

Other rock dusts sometimes come from industrial waste sources such as quarry fines and or cement kiln dust. Cheap availability may mean better farms with more food. That’s food sovereignty.

Basalt vs. Glacial Rock Dust

Basalt Rock Dust

Basalt is cooled volcanic rock. I like to think of basalt as the volcanic-fresh rock full of great calcium, iron, magnesium and silicon that plants need to grow strong. 

Glacial Rock Dust

Imagine watching a glacier slowly melt over hundreds of years. You’d be shocked at how many rocks are swept up and broken apart inside. Glacial rock dust is formed as glaciers slowly pulverize rocks and leave behind a moraine of dust as they recede. Then the dust is distributed by winds, which sometimes form rich layers called loess.  

Glacial rock dust has a terrific mix of minerals and trace elements from many different kinds of rock. 

There are big carbon costs to transport the heavy rock dust from a glacial moraine to your garden center. However, it can be used at a low rate of 2 1/2 pounds per 100 square feet, or just 1 tablespoon. So you might consider the cost-benefit of using glacial rockdust to remineralize your garden.


Sprinkling a little bit of basalt rock dust into your garden is a great way to start remineralizing the soil. Do a little research to see what’s available in your area to choose the most sustainable rock dust. And if you’re looking for soil restoration help in Portland Oregon, feel free to give us a call.
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