Epsom salt uses are extensive… including in the garden!
Epsom is most commonly thought of as a healing remedy for soaking tired feet or a hot restorative bath, but it can also be a wonderful supplement in your garden. Epsom salts do far more than relieve tired and aching feet or provide beneficial cleansing and detox.
Life style hacker, self-experimenter and author of the acclaimed 4 Hour Workweek, The Four Hour Body and The Four Hour Chef—books with loads of survival-hacking how-to’s—enjoys daily Epsom salt baths for therapeutic benefit. Author, Tim Ferriss says, “I take hot baths every night when at home. Nearly always, I add epsom salt (typically 4-8 cups), which facilitates muscular relaxation and recovery. Rather than buy small boxes at CVS or Safeway, I buy [Epsoak] in bulk and store it in rolling dog-food containers. This is a good use of Amazon Prime.”
After a day of gardening, treat yourself to an Epsom bath!
For gardening, you may prefer this 50 pound bulk size Epsom Salt. Speaking of Epsom salt for the garden… which plants like an Epsom salt bath and when should it be applied?
How and Why to Use Epsom Salt on Plants
By Julie Christensen on GardeningChannel.com
You’ve used Epsom salts for aching muscles in the tub, but Epsom salts in the garden? If this sounds far-fetched, consider that test gardeners from the National Gardening Association noticed significant improvements in their gardens after using Epsom salts. But, like any garden supplement, Epsom salts have their limitations and work best on certain plants and in certain conditions.
Epsom salts aren’t really salt at all!
Epsom salts aren’t really salt at all, but natural mineral deposits found in the water in Epsom, England. Their chemical composition is hydrated magnesium sulfate. Plants need magnesium to build strong cell walls and fruit. Magnesium also helps plants use nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus.
Magnesium Sulfate Fertilizer
Plants use sulfur to produce amino acids and vitamins. Sulfur is also the compound that gives many vegetables, including broccoli and onions, their distinctive flavor. Most garden soils have sufficient levels of sulfur, but magnesium deficiencies are common, especially in old, acidic soils and the highly alkaline soils found in the western states. So Epsom salt is basically a magnesium sulfate fertilizer.
Magnesium deficiencies are common… but test your soil first!
Severe magnesium deficiencies can cause stunted growth and yellowing of the leaves between the veins. However, the only symptom you might see is slow growth and fewer blossoms or fruit. Soil tests can detect severe magnesium deficiencies. In some cases, though, a soil test might reveal that your soil has adequate magnesium, yet plants are unable to access it due to high levels of potassium and calcium.
Intrigued? If you’d like to try Epsom salts on your garden, consider the following:
- Test gardeners from the National Gardening Association found that they obtained the best results from foliar applications (sprayed on leaves) rather than amending the soil with Epsom salts. You’re also less likely to damage the soil using this method.
- Epsom salts made the largest difference on tomatoes1)https://gardensall.com/common-tomato-problems-and-how-to-avoid-them/, peppers and roses. Test gardeners found that their tomato and pepper plants were larger, greener and produced more fruit. The fruit had thicker, juicier walls and tasted sweeter. Roses had greener leaves and more abundant, larger flowers.
Epsom salt made the most difference on tomatoes, peppers and roses.
Next we provide some directions for using Epsom Salt.
Directions for Using Epsom Salt for Gardening
If you know your soil is low in magnesium, (remember to test your soil first), try sprinkling ½ cup granules around the base of your roses in the spring as new growth emerges. Apply an additional ½ cup in the fall before the leaves drop. During the growing season, dilute 1 tablespoon Epsom salts with 1 of gallon water. Spray the roses after the leaves emerge and again during flowering.
To treat tomatoes and peppers, dilute 1 tablespoon Epsom salts with 1 gallon of water. Spray the plants after transplanting, when they first flower and when they begin producing fruit. In addition to producing more abundant fruits, Epsom salts can also reduce problems with blossom-end rot, which are believed to be caused partially by a magnesium deficiency.
If you’re not sure if you have a magnesium deficiency, skip the soil applications and stick to foliar applications instead. Source: GardeningChannel.com 2)http://www.gardeningchannel.com/how-to-use-epsom-salts-in-your-home-garden/
Or better yet, test your soil, and make sure the test kit you buy also tests for magnesium! To test your soil for pH, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potash (K) levels the Rapitest Soil Test Kit is the best seller.
It’s far better to test your soil early and amend as needed than to lament over poor crop yield. Prevention is always best.
You may also enjoy these articles on soil testing methods and on tomatoes.3)https://www.gardensall.com/best-soil-testing-methods/4)https://gardensall.com/how-to-grow-the-best-tomatoes/
Epsom salt is beneficial for your garden… and for you! So next time you come in tired and sore from working out in the garden, be as kind to yourself as you are to your plants and enjoy and Epsom salt bath! Oh… and share it with your tomatoes and roses!
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