"Why and how should I add Epsom salt to my garden?" is a question I'm frequently asked.
salt is magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is important for producing
chlorophyll and fruit. It also strengthens cell walls and improves
plants' absorption of vital nutrients such as sulfur, nitrogen and
Sulfur is vital to plant growth. It helps plants produce enzymes, vitamins and amino acids.
deficiency may be difficult to detect without taking a soil sample.
Some plants such as roses, tomatoes and peppers exhibit deficiencies
more readily than others. Common symptoms include yellowed or misshapen
leaves and stunting.
Magnesium is often deficient in soils with alkaline pH, high potassium and calcium content. 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 service
may recommend addition of dolomite lime to the soil. But don't rely on
dolomite lime alone to correct the problem. Add Epsom salt, too. If the
soil test shows adequate magnesium along with high potassium and calcium
content, you should still add Epsom salt to your garden.
salt has the advantage over other sources of magnesium because it is
highly soluble. The salt granules can be sprinkled around plants. Diluted with water, the Epsom salt solution can be
poured around plants or sprayed on their leaves. The foliar spray
delivers maximum rapid results.
How much Epsom salt you should
apply depends on the size of the plant and the method of application.
Vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers benefit from 1 tablespoon of
Epsom salt granules at planting time. Sprinkle the granules around the
transplants. Larger plants such as roses and shrubs will benefit from
1/2 cup of granules applied in spring and again in fall. Depending on
plant size, apply 1/2 cup to 1 cup of granules around grape vines, fruit
and nut trees at the drip line because that's where the feeder roots
are. The drip line is the outer circumference of the leaf canopy.
foliar spray, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Apply
generously two or three times during the growing season.
often report better plant color, stronger growth, improved fruit set,
better tasting fruits and vegetables. Epsom salt applied to tomatoes may
help to prevent blossom-end rot.
Epsom salt can be purchased at grocery and drug stores.
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