Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Add Epsom Salt To Your Garden


Photo by Castorly Stock from Pexels

It can make a big difference

Epsom salt is one of those little known additives that can make a big difference in your garden. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral found on earth, and quite possibly even in space. Its name comes from the source in England - Epsom on Surrey - where it was produced from springs.

Magnesium helps plants produce chlorophyll and fruit, strengthens cell structure, and enhances plant absorption of sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Sulfur is also important for plant growth. It assists in producing amino acids, enzymes, and vitamins.

Needless to say, without these minerals plants can not flourish. Epsom salt combines both in one easy-to-apply form.

How to determine mineral deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is best determined by taking a soil sample, but you might be able to diagnose a deficiency by plant symptoms. Common symptoms include leaf yellowing, deformed or stunted foliage. Roses, tomatoes and peppers exhibit deficiencies more readily than others.

Soils with high pH levels, high potassium and calcium contents are very likely to be deficient.  To be sure, take a soil sample to your regional Cooperative Extension Service for testing. It's the best way to determine whether your soil needs magnesium. If the test shows severe magnesium deficiency, the addition of dolomite lime to the soil might be recommended. But that might not be enough to correct the problem. Add Epsom salt, too. Epsom salt it is highly soluble, so it is taken up by plants much more quickly than dolomite limestone. 

How to apply Epsom salt

You can sprinkle the crystals around plants, or you can make a solution in water and pour it around your plants. You can even spray it on the leaves. The foliar spray works most rapidly.

How much to apply depends on the size of your plants and how you intend to apply it. For vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, apply 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt granules at planting time. Sprinkle the granules around the transplants. For larger plants, apply 1/2 cup of granules in spring and fall. For fruit trees, nuts and grape vines, apply 1/2 cup to 1 cup of granules around the drip line. That's where the feeder roots are. The drip line is the outer circumference of the leaf canopy.

For foliar spray, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Apply generously two or three times during the growing season.

You should see an improvement in plant health in short order. Your fruits and vegetables might even taste better, too. If you have a problem with blossom-end rot on your tomatoes, Epsom salt might just be the cure.

Epsom salt should be available grocery and drug stores. Because Epsom salt is often used for soaking tired muscles, and taken for some other complaints, check the pharmacy department.

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