diatoms are fossilized algae that are used in the form of land and with different uses, such as organic and natural fertilizers or ecological insecticides for crops, among many other common uses. Since they are used in the form of white lands, they are also called White Lands. Therefore, it is a very beneficial natural fertilizer for the soil.
In this EcologíaVerde article, we will talk about what is diatomaceous earth and what is it used forfocusing mainly on the field of gardening.
What are diatoms or diatomite
Diatoms (Diatomae) are unicellular algae that are part of the marine phytoplankton. Currently, some 20,000 living species are known and they are an important constituent of the marine food chain. Although Diatoms are unicellular algae, they can be found forming colonies in filaments or ribbons (eg. Fragillaria), zig-zag structures (eg. Tabellaria), stellate colonies (eg. Asterionella) or fans (eg. meridion).
One of the most important characteristics of these organisms and that gives them a large part of their fertilizer-like propertiesis his opal silica cell wall (hydrated silicon dioxide), known as frustula. These walls have a great variety of shapes that give them different aspects under the microscope, although in general they consist of two asymmetrical parts with a division between them, which is what gives the group its name.
Fossil findings suggest that Diatoms have their origin during or after the early jurassic. In addition, communities of these organisms are frequently used to study environmental conditions, climate change or assess water quality.
What is diatomaceous earth
How do Diatoms turn into soil? As we have commented, Diatoms make up marine phytoplankton thousands of years ago, in Prehistory, but they were not only present in the seas, but also in fresh water. Therefore, Diatoms are among the first organisms that inhabited the Earth.
Over time, as the seas and lakes dried up, these algae formed settlements on their bottoms and, with the accumulation of layers of soil over time, continued fossilizing their silica exoskeletons. It is for this reason that we can find Diatoms under various layers of earth in various places where a sea or lake once existed. Due to their high content of organic silicon and calcium, they acquire that coloration of White land.
What is diatomaceous earth or diatomite for: its uses
Now that you know what diatomaceous earth is and what exactly these are, we will tell you what diatomaceous earth is for. The most common uses of diatomaceous earth They are the following, although there are many more:
Diatomaceous earth can be used as an effective ecological and natural insecticide. It is very effective in getting rid of annoying insects that attack and harm many of our crops, especially in hot weather.
Deworming and food supplement
What is diatomaceous earth good for apart from being an ecological insecticide? Well, this use may surprise you a bit, but it is used in animals and even people use it.
Thus, a lesser known use of diatomaceous earth is its use to eliminate parasites that harm the health of our animals. That’s right, diatomaceous earth is very useful to eliminate fleas that in the summer season parasitize our cats or dogs or to eliminate parasites from small pens or chicken farms. In addition, it can be used as a food supplement and is effective in eliminating intestinal parasites from our pets. We can also take it ourselves for the same purposes, but as long as it is its version suitable for consumption.
Ecological and natural fertilizer
Diatomaceous earth is a perfect fertilizer for farmland. On the one hand, it provides nutrients, such as calcium or silicon, which are very beneficial for the soil, and on the other hand, it improves cation exchange, facilitating the absorption of nutrients by the soil, improves the level of soil aeration, its sponginess and water retention. .
Although the cultivated soils already have their macronutrients, if we do not have the presence of some micronutrients, the plants will not be able to assimilate them. Diatomaceous earth provides important micronutrients to the soil and allows plants to assimilate other macronutrients present in the soil. Specifically, diatomaceous earth helps the assimilation of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium.
In addition, since diatomaceous earth is a natural product without additives, we will also be contributing to improving the health of the soil.
Diatomaceous Earth Nutrients for Gardening and Farming
The diatomaceous earth or diatomite Contribute up to a total of 40 mineral nutrients, of which 6 are considered primary and secondary essential in agriculture and 13 are primary and secondary trace elements. Some of these nutrients are:
- calcium carbonate
- lime sulfate
Diatomaceous Earth Dosage
A very frequent doubt is to know what is the indicated dose of diatomaceous earth for gardens and crops and for human consumption and for animals. The best thing is that you discuss with a specialist who advises you according to the case, for example in the place where you are going to buy diatomaceous earth, but in EcologíaVerde we give you an orientation of the most usual of the doses of diatomaceous earth for the garden and crops and for other uses common:
Dosage of diatomaceous earth for garden and crops
To use it as a sprinkled fertilizer, use a mixture of the substrate or soil of the soil with diatomite in the proportion of 40 or 50 g of diatomite per m2 of garden soil. To use it in powdered form, use 40 g per litre.
To control terrestrial pests, use 100 g of diatomite per m2 of soil and for aerial pests, use between 10 g and 40 g of this soil per liter of water to spray, adjusting the dose according to the size of the pest.
Dosage of diatomaceous earth for human consumption
There are two types of diatomite, the food grade diatomaceous earth and non-food grade diatomaceous earth. So if you are looking for this product for human consumption, check that the packaging indicates that it is food grade and, therefore, suitable.
The best thing is that if you decide to take it, talk to your regular doctor about the most appropriate dose for you, since depending on your usual diet and your general state of health, this may vary. In addition, it is necessary to follow the indications regarding the dose or dosage indicated on the package, since it is recommended by the manufacturer of this product for human consumption. As an average idea, it is usual to take a teaspoon a day and take it for a maximum of 30 days in a row.
Diatomaceous Earth Dosage for Animals
In the case of animals, the dose can vary greatly depending on the species, so it is always better to follow the instructions of the veterinarian who usually monitors the health of the animal you want to treat with this natural product.
As an example, the dose of diatomaceous earth for chickens as an external antiparasitic is a 2% solution in water, as an internal antiparasitic and nutritional supplement, 5% of the food dose is mixed. In the case of the dose of diatomaceous earth for cats, this is 1/2 teaspoon for kittens for a month and two teaspoons twice a day for a month for adult cats. Finally, the dose of diatoms for dogs is indicated for a month’s treatment and the daily dose by weight is indicated. If the dog weighs less than 4.5 kg, give it between 1/2 and a teaspoon, if it weighs between 4.5 kg and up to 8.5 kg two teaspoons, between 9 kg and 22.5 kg the dose is one tablespoon to one and a half tablespoons, between 23 kg and 45 kg the amount is two tablespoons and for dogs over 45 kg the dose of diatomaceous earth is between three and four tablespoons.
where to buy diatomaceous earth
If you want buy diatomaceous earth to use in your garden or orchard, or for your animals or your own consumption, we recommend that you go to stores specializing in garden and agricultural products. You can find this product both in physical stores and in online stores that can take the material you buy to your home.
In addition, we advise you to follow the instructions for use on the package, since some aspects of its use may change depending on the brand, and that you also follow the recommendations of the gardening specialist who sells you the product in the store.
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