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Credit: Flickr / elvisripley

Zeolite makes an excellent soil amendment, but it might not be practical for the average gardener

Q: You mentioned Zeolite as a soil amendment. What is it? Where do you get it and how do you use it? I live on a gravel berm above Qualicum Beach, but because I raise chickens I've added a lot of chicken house cleanings to my garden throughout the last 20 years.

With the gravel base, any water I pour on my garden just runs on through and I can never get enough to stay at the plant level.

“Zeolite” is a group of minerals derived from volcanic origin in and consisting of about 50 elements. This mineral is made of silicon, aluminum and other metals.

The fertility analysis is 0-0-3.2 with 2.5 per cent calcium. Structurally, the mineral has open, cage or channel-like framework. Zeolite can be produced synthetically found in rare (small) pockets.

The man-made versions specifically produced to be used in purification or filtration. The natural sources are predominantly used as soil conditioner, e.g., moisture retention, fertility, relief compaction, etc.

Natural zeolites are mainly used on sports fields or golf courses as a topdressing. There are pockets of zeolite in British Columbia’s interior.

I have come across this product but you might try your local municipal sports fields or golf courses for their supply source. I believe cost might play a major factor regarding usage due to limited availability, mining, and shipping for the average homeowner.