There are a variety of soil amendments a person can use to grow plants organically. At Anima Journey, as vegans, we only use non-animal soil amendments for fertilizing. This way, we avoid supporting the slaughterhouse industry, as well as avoiding potential hazards of animal-based fertilizers. After reading an old book on organic gardening in Hawaii, as well as reading additional materials that are not Hawaii-based, and utilizing our own experience, we decided on a few organic soil amendments. We use the following soil amendments to fertilize our fruit trees and our garden beds:
Greensand: greensand is mined from deposits that were originally from the ocean floor. It contains 3% potash [potassium], as well as a variety of over 30 trace minerals. It is also long-acting so only needs to be put in the soil about every two years or so [of course, this will vary from place to place].
Rock phosphate: rock phosphate is made from the hard rock phosphate mining industry. The phosphate is reduced to a water soluble form and the sulfur bonds with the calcium to form gypsum. Soft rock phosphate is the soft colloidal clay that lies between the various layers of hard rock phosphate. The colloidal clay is washed off and what is left is a completely natural phosphate source and truly valuable fertilizer. It provides tremendous benefits to the soil, microbes, plant life and worms. [Hard rock phosphate is not bio-available for the soil.]
Agricultural grade spirulina: while unable to find any conclusive research on how or if plants can actually utilize the nutrients [especially nitrogen] in ag-grade spirulina, we decided to go ahead and buy and use it for fertilizer. We can buy it locally from a business that produces "Hawaiian grown spirulina." Our main source of nitrogen [which is one of the main items we struggled with for a long while - how to get a high source of nitrogen without using animal-based fertilizers or buying VERY expensive substitutes such as soymeal, which still had low percentages of nitrogen], and decided to try ag-grade spirulina. We really need to get a soil test done to determine the validity of the nitrogen in the spirulina, but that has proved difficult.
Dolomite: dolomite was recommended to us by a gardening store and supposed expert on bananas. Our bananas werenʻt producing as much as when we initially planted them, and so we were wondering if there was some nutrient, especially a micronutrient, that they possibly needed. While Hawaii has many different types of soil, and bananas do better in some areas than in others due to elevation, annual rain fall, and other environmental factors, we hope that the dolomite will prove beneficial for the bananas. Bananas are referred to as ʻheavy feedersʻ, meaning that they need to be fertilized more often than other fruit-bearing trees [although bananas are technically a grass], so we use all of the above more often on the banana trees than our other fruit and nut trees. Dolomite is a mineral, and has weak bonds of calcium and magensium, which supposedly makes it easier for plants to assimilate it. It is different from limestone, and is also long-lasting in the soil.
So, there you have it! These are currently the soil amendments in use at Anima Journey. Of course, as we learn more about our local environment and specifics about the tropical trees we have planted, we may make modifications or changes. But, for now, these are the main soil amendments we use at Anima Journey to help our trees and plants grow and be healthy and produce yummy fruits and vegetables!