Ask a Question forum: Epsom salts???

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Name: Michelle
Pleasant Lake MI (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Canning and food preservation Keeper of Poultry Herbs Organic Gardener Butterflies
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Mizshelli
Aug 1, 2017 5:45 AM CST
So the guy that owns farm down the street where I get all my plants told me yesterday that he sprays the tomatoes with Epsom salts for the magnesium sulfate. Can anyone tell me exactly what this does for the plants? His plants are always big and prolific, and the tomatoes I buy from him grow to be 6' sometimes, so if that's his secret, I'd like to know! How often would you apply it, and what's the ratio?
Is treise an dúchas ná an oiliúint.
(Nature is stronger than nurture)
https://mmhobbyfarm49272.wixsi...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Aug 1, 2017 5:54 AM CST
Magnesium is one of the essential nutrients for all plants, they can not thrive or even survive without it. It naturally occurs in the soil. Some plants may need more than others, and it usually is not included in fertilizers although some do (check the label). If for some reason there is not enough magnesium in the soil, or some other nutrient is in excess and preventing the plant from getting enough magnesium, then it can be supplied with Epsom salts. You'll find suggestions as to the amount all over the map. It's not the solution to all plant problems known to mankind as some might imply Hilarious! If your soil has adequate magnesium then there is no advantage to applying Epsom salts, a soil test will answer that question for you. It's more likely to be deficient in acidic soils in which case you'd likely be better off supplying magnesium with dolomitic limestone.

You may find this article interesting, Miracle, Myth or Marketing - Epsom Salts by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott
https://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-co...
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 1, 2017 3:47 PM CST
Hi there Michelle 😁😁😁
I've gotton alot of FLACK !
About mentioning Epson salts.

I see ! The FLACK ! A coming. 😁
I don't care ! 😁

Reaseach it !

I found an artical. That says. The magnesium sulfate, makes another essential, something or another ! avaliable to the plant.

That is good for hydrangeas, roses, peppers, eggplant,
AND TOMATOES !

I'm serious !!!

Philip 😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Aug 1, 2017 4:00 PM CST
Philip, I said above that magnesium is an essential nutrient. But you don't need to add it unless the soil or potting mix is deficient in it, that's the point. Plants also need boron, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iron, sulphur and calcium as well as magnesium (without even considering NPK) so why single out just one nutrient when any of these could actually be deficient while magnesium is not.

Philip, please read the article in the link. Smiling

Also this one, Garden Myths - Epsom Salt for Plants
http://www.gardenmyths.com/eps...

Edited to add: Note that adding Epsom salts to tomatoes if the soil already contains ample magnesium that is already available to the plants can contribute to blossom end rot.

BTW Epsom salts are named after a town in Surrey, England not Epson the printer company.
[Last edited by sooby - Aug 1, 2017 4:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Aug 1, 2017 5:22 PM CST
Its me Philip thinks he will get flack from but I think Sooby covered it all. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Aug 1, 2017 5:27 PM CST
I'm just glad to know that Epsom salts are named after a town in Surrey, England not Epson the printer company.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 1, 2017 5:35 PM CST
tx_flower_child said:I'm just glad to know that Epsom salts are named after a town in Surrey, England not Epson the printer company.


It's where natural Epsom salts were first discovered. I think of it more as the location of the racecourse where the Epsom Derby is run, the second leg of the British horse-racing Triple Crown Hilarious!

Name: mike
commack, NY
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mikedi
Aug 5, 2017 12:46 PM CST
Try baking soda also for sweeter tomatoes or so I was told. I used both epsom salts and baking soda this year for the first time. Both are cheap enough fixes.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Aug 5, 2017 3:03 PM CST
mikedi said:Try baking soda also for sweeter tomatoes or so I was told. I used both epsom salts and baking soda this year for the first time. Both are cheap enough fixes.


If you need to raise the soil pH and add magnesium, why not use dolomitic limestone instead to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak?

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Aug 6, 2017 7:28 AM CST
Just to add to the above, I can't think of any reason why adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, a salt) to the soil would result in sweeter tomatoes. If the soil already has a high pH, or is saline, it will may actually be detrimental to the plants. High levels of salt can make it harder for plants to take up water. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is also a salt. So you're adding two salts if you do both.

Adding Epsom salts when magnesium is not needed may contribute to blossom end rot of tomatoes. I had the worst ever blossom end rot last year and coincidentally I had given them Epsom salts because the fertilizer had no magnesium. I suspect that baking soda may do the same based on this comment from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, or else it will cancel out some of the magnesium in the Epsom salts (any chemists care to comment?):

".......bicarbonate can form insoluble particles with calcium and magnesium ions when it concentrates in the soil, making these important nutrients unavailable to plants. High levels can also prevent plants from absorbing iron and can lead to chlorosis."

https://www.bbg.org/gardening/...

Anyway, I do not see why or how adding sodium bicarbonate to the soil could make tomatoes sweeter. Shrug!
Name: Michelle
Pleasant Lake MI (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Canning and food preservation Keeper of Poultry Herbs Organic Gardener Butterflies
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Mizshelli
Aug 7, 2017 6:49 AM CST
Thanks for all your opinions guys :).
I'm just gonna leave them alone for now, they all look like they are doing great. The Mortgage Lifters and Early Girl tomatoes have outgrown their cages again and have about 20-25 fruits on them each, and so far the only thing I've seen wrong is a bunch of catfacing on the Beefsteaks. The Roma are prolific and gorgeous, so I'm just gonna stick with my organic fertilizers and my watering schedule for now! Thank You!
Is treise an dúchas ná an oiliúint.
(Nature is stronger than nurture)
https://mmhobbyfarm49272.wixsi...
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums Spiders!
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Ursula
Aug 7, 2017 7:13 AM CST
Magnesium is to Chlorophyll what Iron is to Hemoglobin, look at the center of the molecules!
The Magnesium in Epsom salt helps in growing green, healthy plants.
Thumb of 2017-08-07/Ursula/b48d09

I should add, I myself add it to my fertilizer mix aiming for good green growth mainly on my Orchids.
[Last edited by Ursula - Aug 7, 2017 7:17 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 7, 2017 7:23 AM CST
There's no question that magnesium is an essential nutrient for plants. The thing is it occurs naturally in the soil, so my point was that there's no benefit to adding it, and possible harm, unless the soil is deficient in magnesium. This is more likely to occur on certain soils, such as those that are acidic.

It's one of those things where somebody with a deficiency situation in their garden would possibly benefit from adding Epsom salts whereas someone whose soil is already abundant in magnesium would not and it might even cause a problem, such as blossom end rot in tomatoes. When something works in one garden it doesn't mean that it would work in another and not potentially do harm in another. A better solution to an acidic soil that is low in magnesium would be dolomitic limestone.

From NDSU Extension: The Epsom Salt Myth (blossom end rot)
https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/yardan...
[Last edited by sooby - Aug 7, 2017 7:54 AM (+)]
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