What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is made form the fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatoms are ancient small aquatic organisms who's skeletons are made up of a substance called silica. Diatoms have accumulated in parts of the world and left huge reserves. These reserves are then mined, and the finished ground powder product is what diatomaceous earth is made of.
(Diatoms under a microscope)
How To Use Diatomaceous Earth?
Depending on what you want to use D.E. for, there are different applications for the same product. Diatomaceous earth can be used as a pest prevention remedy, an additive to animal feeds, and food grade D.E. Is consumed by humans as a health supplement.
How To Use Diatomaceous Earth As a Insecticide
(Diatomaceous earth is widely used as an insecticide for fungus gnats, aphids, mites & more)
There are EPA registered versions of diatomaceous earth that are labeled to be used as insecticides. These can either be food grade or feed grade D.E., and some are OMRI listed. Diatomaceous earth that is registered for pesticide use is used in a mechanical insecticide way. The diatoms of which d.e. is made of, acts as tiny little razor blades that cut the exoskeleton of insects. These tiny cuts and abrasions removes the waxy layer from the outside of the insect, and the insect is not able to retain moisture, and then dies of dehydration.
To properly use diatomaceous earth as an insecticide you want to use a thin powder layer. Placing giant mounds of d.e. in your garden will not work, because the pests will just go around it. You want to spread a very thin layer of dust where you are having the issues, and make it so that the insects can't go around or circumvent the dust. Eventually you should see the pest insect population decrease. Re-application of d.e. Is necessary if it gets wet from rain, or watering your garden.
This will only work on soft bodied insects, and I personally have found that it has limited success. For things like fungus gnats you may notice a difference, but I believe this is more because the diatomaceous earth dries up the soil thus taking away the food source from the gnats. For things like aphids, and mites, I personally haven't seen any success with d.e., and wouldn't recommend it for that use. It's not going to hurt to try it out, but don't expect it to be a magic bullet for your pest issues, or you will be majorly let down.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth as a Soil Amendment
One of my favorite uses of d.e. is to use it as a soil amendment. When mixed into potting soils, or your garden it is an awesome source of silica for your plants. Silica helps to strengthen the cell walls of your plants, and makes it so that they are more tolerant of drought & heat. It also helps to increase the water holding capacity, which is a great attribute to add to almost any potting soil.
Application Rates For Diatomaceous Earth As a Soil Amendment
Outdoor Gardens & Flower Beds: 2lb. To 5lb per 100 square feet of garden
(Applied Once Per Season)
Potted Plants: 1 to 3 tablespoons per gallon of soil
(Applied Once Per year)
Outdoor Cannabis Plants: 1/8 to ¼ Cup Per Cubic Foot Of Soil
(May Be Applied Twice Per Season)
Indoor Cannabis Plants: 1/8 to ¼ Cup Per Cubic Foot Of Soil
(Applied Once Per Cycle)
Using Diatomaceous Earth As Animal Feed Additive
(Diatomaceous earth is regularly used in cattle and horse fee)
A lot of farmers have know the benefits of supplementing their animals diets with many different feed additives. D.E. Has been used for many years as one of these feed additives to improve the quality of health of farm animals. When adding D.E. to your animals feed, your animals may experience improved digestion, an improved glossy coat, and a side benefit is that since it is so dry it can help to soak up moisture in animal feed which may make it last longer.
If you are using diatomaceous earth in your cattle or horse feed you will want to follow a basic guideline. You will firstly want to use food grade diatomaceous earth. Mix your food grade d.e. with your cattle or horse feed at a 2% ratio by weight. So for every 10lbs of food you can use 3 to 4 ounces of feed. Feed your horses or cattle as you normally would, and make sure they have access to plenty of drinking water.
Diatomaceous Earth As a Food Grade Supplement For Humans
The use of d.e. as a health supplement has become more common place. It is touted as having positive effects on the body like, improving digestion, helping your hair and nails grow, improving cholesterol levels, adding trace minerals into your diet, and possibly improving bone health.
On the flip side, there are studies that show that there is no increased silica in the urine of people who supplement with diatomaceous earth. Those studies have concluded that when taken as a supplement, d.e. Is mostly excreted, and there is no benefit to the taker. Some studies go even further, and say that using diatomaceous earth as a supplement may be detrimental to your health.
We can not suggest anyone take anything we sell for health benefits of themselves, as what we sell is to be used in a garden application only. Make sure to study anything you put in your body thoroughly before you begin taking it, and always consult your physician.
Where To Buy Diatomaceous Earth?
You can buy diatomaceous earth at large home stores like Home Depot & Lowes. Usually even smaller hardware stores like Ace Hardware will carry smaller bags during the growing season. Obviously you can always jump on Amazon to purchase diatomaceous earth, but depending on the amount needed you may be paying more than needed.
Buying diatomaceous earth from Redbud Soil Company tends to be one of the cheaper routes to go. We buy in bulk, and repackage, which makes us able to pass those savings on to you the customer. Buying diatomaceous earth online is usually cheaper, and way more convenient. You can literally order it while you are in your garden, and it will show up in a few days.
There are many uses for diatomaceous earth, and the garden seems to be only one of those. With so many chemicals being used in all products we use in the garden, ourselves, and our animals, having safer alternatives that are natural is never a bad thing.