05 Nov Richard Holloway: “Volcanic rock dust enthusiast”
Richard Holloway: “Volcanic rock dust enthusiast” – as presented to South Devon Organic Producers – 12th March, 2014 at Landscove Village Hall.
Comment from Jennifer: Richard contacted me to re-stock volcanic rock dust just before my talk to this group – so I invited him along. I am as impressed as the Devonshire growers are about his experience of volcanic rock dust in Devon soils. I start by stressing I don’t have connection with volcanic rock dust other than being a very satisfied customer. Indeed, before tonight, I had never previously met Jennifer Brodie. Apart from being a keen gardener, I have previously worked as a buyer of fertilisers and chemicals for the C.J. Knights group of garden centres in East Surrey, so I have had the opportunity to learn for myself about the good, the bad and the ugly of plant feeds and fertilisers. It’s definitely true to say that they don’t always do what it says on the label!
Moving to North Devon a couple of years ago, I took on a two acre plot and soon discovered that the soil was very impoverished. Parts of it had been used for intensive growing over many years, and many of the nutrients had also been leached out by the heavy rainfall that we experience. Consequently, my first attempts to grow flowers and veg proved to be very disappointing. I finished up with spindly specimens with yellowing foliage. I then set about identifying an organic fertiliser that would provide some “real oomph” over a period of time. A kind of Fish, Blood and Bone but with real “attitude!” Back in my twenties, I’d been fortunate to travel quite extensively in central Africa and the Philippines where I’d been amazed by the extraordinary risks taken by the local farmers who grew amazing crops high up the flanks of active volcanoes. But when you saw the size and quality of their produce, you could understand why they took the risk. These weren’t just tropical crops such as plantains, but included top grade cabbages, onions, sweet potatoes and much more.
So something of volcanic origin was definitely for me. I’d heard about Volcanic rock dust , and tracked Jennifer’s company down on the internet, and ordered half a pallet which I spread all around my garden, about six months ahead of when I intended to harvest. The results were astonishing. The size and quality of the vegetables I produced were amazing, – by far the best I’d ever grown in my life and in marked contrast to the crops I’d achieved the previous year. My dinner-plate dahlias really were dinner plate size, with a few specimens producing flowers that measured fourteen inches across. In fact, my plants became a local talking point in my village, and I was encouraged to enter local shows, and here is the result – First Prize cards for virtually everything that I entered and a nice big shiny trophy.
This wasn’t a coincidence. I know that the volcanic rock dust made the difference, and that’s why I’ve voluntarily made the 120 mile round trip tonight to be here to talk about my experience and to support Jennifer. I’ve also just ordered an entire pallet of volcanic rock dust to make sure that I can hang on to my trophy again next year!
I’ve made the 120 mile round journey from North Devon purely because I’m passionate about the product. I’ve used it now for a period of 18 months.