Where to get green sand in Canada (Calgary specifically)

natalie403(7)January 17, 2010

Hello all, I read great things about green sand. Since I will be starting a few vegetable beds this year, I am hoping to give green sand a try. Does anyone knows of a place where I can get it in Calgary. Otherwise, I will have to order online.

The only source I found in Canada is http://www.welcomeharvestfarm.com/ but they sell green sand in fairly small packages (2.2 kg for $13).

I read in the banana forum that they are selling green sand at Lowes for under $4 for 40lb!

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Sorry can't answer you. Why the "green" sand ? are you loosening up the soil for better drainage? Are you looking at mineral factors? Lois

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Hi Natalie

I'm in Calgary as well, and you should know that we have limestone soil - limestone + sand + water = concrete, so be very careful adding sand to your soil. That may be why you are having trouble finding it here in Calgary.

If you are trying to amend clay soils, compost is a way better way of doing that. It's easy to do - just dump it on top of the bed and let the worms and critters pull it down.

I had a bed in my garden that I couldn't rototill - the tines would not dig in, just kept sliding over the surface, so I topdressed with about 5 cm of compost in the spring and by the end of August I put a shovel in to test it and was able to easily go up to about 30 cm.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:52PM
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I've never seen it here in Calgary. You could ask the people at Edward's or Garden Retreat, as they tend to stock items that other places don't. I'm sure one of them could bring some in.

Looking at the banana forum, I have my doubts about the claims there that it's 0-0-7. That's incredibly high for a natural product.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 6:44PM
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Thanks all for the info!

Here's a cut-and-paste of greensand definition from about.com:

Definition: Greensand is an organic fertilizer that contains the deposits of minerals that were once part of the ocean floor. Also called "glauconite," greensand has a bluish-green color. The NPK ratio for greensand is approximately 0-0-3. It is a good organic source of potash (important for overall plant health and disease resistance) and can also be applied at a rate of 50 to 100 pounds per 1000 square feet to improve clay soils.
Also Known As: Green sand, glauconite.

Greensand is also a useful component of container garden soils and seed starting mixes.

morphoz3a_ab - your result from top dressing with compost is very encouraging!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 12:57AM
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The good news is that you don't need greensand (0-0-3). Western Canadian soils generally have enough potassium and it's not necessary to add additional amounts. If your soil is very sandy, then you may need to apply potassium.

That's probably why it's not easily available even at places such as Professional Gardener. Don Heimbecker, who was the premier rose grower in Calgary, used ammonium phosphate (16-20-0) on his roses. It has the advantage of having about 14% sulfur. I would add that to my vegetable garden before spending the money on greensand.

If you need to be "organic" then a Complete Organic Fertilizer such as suggested by Steve Solomon is a good choice. A simpler method would be just to apply soybean meal which can be purchased in 25 kg. bags at feed stores. Divide the protein content by 6 to get the nitrogen equivalent.

If you do use an organic fertilizer, make sure that there is a good amount of organic matter in the soil or add an inch of compost at the same time. Organic fertilizers need to break down and that requires micro-organisms which are pentiful in organic matter.

Your limiting nutrient will usually be nitrogen. Most sources will say that you need 4-6 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for healthy plant growth. So apply the soybean meal at a rate based on the nitrogen content. For high demand vegetables you can side dress. Alfalfa meal is also a good source of nitrogen and other trace elements but it takes longer for the nitrogen to become available to plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening when it counts: growing food in hard times By Steve Solomon

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 5:35PM
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That's great info! Thanks so much!

I borrowed Steve Solomon's book from the library last month and found it really useful. I think I will get my own copy.

I have trouble finding seed meal (soybean or cottonseed or what not). I googled and called a couple places around Clagary but none of them have them. Can you recommend a place where I can get that? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:22PM
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If you find greensand, tell us :)

Anyhoo cowgirl2 is right on the money.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:01PM
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Co-op Seed mill in the SE. South of the #1, east off Barlow Trail. It's the left at the first light south of #1.

Last year at Seedy Saturday there was someone who was selling the Solomon COF pre-mixed. He should be there this year as well - March 20.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 5:16PM
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cowgirl2 - can't find co-op seed mill on google or Canada411. Does #1 means Highway 1? But that's on the north side of the city! I am confused!

Anyhow.. if I can't find seed meal, I will get the premix COF from Seedy Saturday (great to know). Do you remember if it's reasonably priced? Thanks so much!

shazam_z3 - Found greensand! Double AA Garden Supplies. It's not cheap - $20 for 2.2 kg. $75 for 10 kg. I may hold off and see if I really need it before spending the money.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 1:06AM
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Thanks for the update. That's too expensive. I'd rather just buy compost.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 1:19AM
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Sorry, that's NE. Centre Ave. is just south of that intersection. I was confused.

Federated Co-operatives Limited
1020 26 Street NE
Calgary, AB T2A 2M4
(403) 531-6656

The pre-mixed stuff at Seedy Saturday stuff was not unreasonable.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 11:56AM
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In case anyone is looking for greensand, I found it at Evergro 403-287-3988.

Gaia Green Greensand 50lb for $48.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 4:06PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

Greensand is used for filtering water. Or at least there is a gritty material called greenesand used for that. Used for industrial sized water filters.

Try companies like calgon. Look up water filters in the yellow pages, and try them.

Some farms may use a sand filter. So UFA, Co-Op, and Peavey Mart may be possible suppleirs.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:05AM
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