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Learning something every day

Glauconite is used as a fertiliser in organic farming. It’s a rock which contains potassium.

Potash is not used as a fertiliser in organic farming. It’s a rock which contains potassium.

Weird, eh? Rock which contains potassium is just fine or it’s the very devil. Based upon, umm, what?

12 thoughts on “Learning something every day”

  1. You should ask “How does the plant know whether its potassium comes from Glauconite or Potash?”

    There might be two responses. (i) A scientific-sounding, literalist missing of the point, or (ii) A startled dropping of the jaw.

  2. I suspect it’s due to speed of release. Wood ash (also called potash) contains readily soluble potassium. When wet, wood ash releases all of its potassium in one pulse. Glauconite is a silicate which will release the potassium slowly for a relatively long time. Vermiculite, which is also a silicate mica can be mixed with quicker acting fertilisers to extend the release time.

  3. So fast rock bad make plant grow bad make world bad, slow rock good, plant grow good, make world good?

    Alternative explanation: Glauconite is (literally) green…

  4. The plant cannot, of course, distinguish between potassium from potash or from glauconite. It can distinguish between a Goldilocks rate of potassium supply and a hell of a lot too much all at once.

  5. Obviously potash is an Abomination Unto Nuggan. What other reason to ban it from organic farming do you need?

  6. If I was to guess from the wiki references, I’d argue that since manure and glauconite (greensand) are low-potassium-content sources that can be profitably transported only short distances to crop fields, glauconite is an artificial ‘natural manure’, and is thus ‘organic’.

    However perhaps someone can prove I’m talking bullshit. It certainly sounds like it to me.

  7. OK, dearieme, I’ll have a stab make the first pass¹.

    It’s not entirely to do with the plant: with a more soluble quick-release fertiliser the risk of the goodness leaching out into rivers and water-courses is that much greater.
    1) revised usage approved by the University of Dumb

  8. Actually, the plant’s don’t care. Unless, of course, you overdo things and literally salt the ground.

    The whole thing is that almost all potash in standard fertiliser comes from Ebil Factories, and is Chemical, and an Abomination Unto Nuggan.
    There’s plenty of organic farmers that make their own in the pre-industrial style from wood/plant ashes. It’s not that hard, y’know..

    The Glauconite is a typically Green Thing. It’s powdered rock, thus “Natural”.
    The fact that overuse/inappropriate use of the stuff can easily poison your plot with ferric and aluminium salts which kills off the subsoil microfauna before even showing up in the plants is generally beyond them.
    But then again, there’s a reason they’re referred to as Greentards..

  9. The release rate of fertiliser is related to the particle size- finer particles dissolve more quickly & runoff from rain means you lose a greater proportion of the active ingredient. This has long been known and encourages users to make a larger sized product &/or granulate it. I was involved in 3 plants that made potassium sulphate as a by product. We provided a water wash on the centrifuge to wash off the brown, organic, smelly, impurity to give the product a white appearance. They didn’t use the water wash as the brown smelly version sold better to farmers, who regarded it as more like an organic fertiliser.

  10. Essentially it comes down to:- “Greens” are generally scientifically-illiterate. If they were scientifically-literate they wouldn’t be “Greens”.

  11. Is this really just about trolling a strawman?

    How come Masanobu Fukuoka needed nothing but some transitory ducks to fertilize his 1200-pounds-of-rice-yielding quarter acre?

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