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Diatomaceous Earth

Updated: Feb 14

What is it?

Diatomaceous Earth packaged under comes from an extremely pure fresh water deposit of the diatom Aulacoseira from a deposit created in the Miocene epoch.

Why is this diatom so special? Its shell is made of amorphous silica. Its shape and hardness are important to how it works. Its hardness keeps it from dissolving in liquid. The holes along the diatom's wall allow it to absorb moisture, hence its use as an anti-caking agent. Darker colored Diatomaceous Earth often contains an excess of a particular mineral such as iron or a high percentage of clay. The amorphous silica, present in Diatomaceous Earth, increases the uptake of nutritional elements from the soil through the root system of plants. Gardens with Diatomaceous Earth added to the soil will see a very healthy earthworm population. In fact it is often added to the soil of worm farms.

How to use it?

When shopping for DE, look for "food grade" quality. The DE used in pool filters is not effective against garden pests.

Sprinkle bands of DE around the plants you are trying to protect. It's important that the ring of DE does not have any gaps for pests to sneak through.

If pests are eating the leaves of your plants, you can dust the leaves with DE, which should discourage further damage. However, you should avoid applying DE near the plants' flowers, where pollinators might inadvertently come into contact with it. When using DE, it's recommended to wear eye protection and a dust mask, as the small particles can be irritating.

DE works best in dry conditions. It clumps together when wet, so reapply after it rains.

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