I happened upon a most amazing picture. Who knew that diatoms were such a lovely lot?
Organic gardeners know that diatomaceous earth is useful for insect control, but I was surprised at its uses. There are food grade and pool grade, the latter being poisonous, but the food grade is good for worming, and to get rid fo fleas. I didn’t know that! Precautions of not being downwind of it, as it is drying to the eyes is something to remember.
Diatomaceous earth consists of the remains of microscopic one-celled plants (phytoplankton) called diatoms. They are fossilized remains of these tiny things from long ago oceans and lakes. These deposits are mined from underwater beds or from ancient dried lake bottoms thousands of years old. diatomaceous earth has an unlimited shelf life provided you keep it dry. – Info from Wolfcreek Ranch
“[FOOD GRADE] is not the same thing as the DE used in swimming pool filters. Pool grade DE is Diatomaceous Earth produced for pool filters and it is treated with heat, causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume crystalline form. Pool grade DE should never be used for pest control. Swimming pool DE ranges from 60% to 70% free silica!” ~Golden Harvest Organics
got a 2# bucket from organic
fertilizer company, and have used
it for years. a little goes a long way. it’s great for dusting anything in the garden that is chewing on your plants…
it is a decent flea control if applied well to entire coat. when you pet them, they should puff! fleas and ticks bodies
are pierced by the little needle-like diatoms. the picture reminds me of the diversity in snowflakes.
I’ll have to incorporate a mention of DE in my next bug talk. DE is a really good organic product to use on pest insects.
Rob (ourfrenchgarden) says
This is a really interesting post.
Really useful stuff!
J- i thought of snowflakes when I saw the picture too :). I definitely need a bucketful here- something is eating away at lots of leaves, especially the roses.
TC Good idea- I hadn’t thought about diatomaceous earth for years. Used to use it when first trying out organic gardening- then didn’t use anything and let the insects feast, but that isn’t right, is it? I’ve got it on my to buy list now.
Rob, thanks 🙂 We ought to put it to use this season, and all report on whether it solved problems for us later in the year. In fact… I wonder what dedicated organic gardeners list as their top essentials in growing their gardens.