Heard of using bentonite in seedling-start mixes?

Joel_BC

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I was at one of my favorite ag supply retailers, and was asking about volcanic-rock powders. There's a brand available in the US called Azomite, and there was a start-up company called Paramount Growth (in Canada) that supplied me with about 17 lbs of samples of their own product for free a couple years ago. I wrote up some of my very pleasing results using this at 10-15% in seed-starting mixes here.
http://www.sufficientself.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=12028&p=1 .

In any case, Azomite is not as yet distributed in Canada, and the Canadian company has apparently had capital-investment problems in the dismal economy of the last few years - so I can't get this type of soil amendment. But at the ag supply, I was describing my experience and saying I wanted to get more volcanic rock powder. A young guy there said he's had seed-starting results that he thinks are similar to what I described - but using bentonite (a type of clay) as part of the starting mix. Not enough info to make me want to buy a bag just yet.

While I do keep an open mind to new ideas, I probably have eight times as many years of experience with raising crops organically as this young fella has. But mainly, I was slightly skeptical because I couldn't see his results - which would be in his home greenhouse & garden.

But I'm open-minded... Has anyone here either heard of or, better yet, tried using bentonite as part of a seedling start mix? If so, what can you tell me?

I've tried a Google search and came up without much.
 

me&thegals

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My guess is they're using it to retain water, and trying to avoid peat...
 

~gd

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They use bentonite to line large ponds around here. I don't think they claim it is water proof But is sure slowes water seepage into normal soil. I wouldn't use it for starting plants but that is just my opinion.~gd
 

Joel_BC

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My only understanding of the virtues of bentonite has been that some people use it to line pond bottoms, to retain water in soils that are light and porous. A neighbor used it for this purpose - although the outcome wasn't perfect... water still leaked out, thougt (as ~gd indicates) more slowly. I have no idea why this young lad thought bentonite was working for him, to encourage strong seedling development.
 

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