I’ve long been intrigued with the use of Epsom salt in gardening. I found this great article with all the details. What follows is a synopsis.
Throughout time, Epsom salt has been recognized as a planter’s “secret ingredient, helping to create lush grass, full roses, and healthy, vibrant vegetables. Just as salt works with the ingredients in food to enhance and bring a meal to its full potential, Epsom salt enhances fertilizer and soil’s capabilities to bring a deeper level of vitality to your garden’s composition.
Why It Works
Epsom salt is Magnesium Sulfate, minerals crucial to healthy plant life. Unlike common fertilizers, Epsom salt does not build up in the soil over time, so it is very safe to use.
Magnesium assists with the process of seed germination. Infusing the seed with this magnesium strengthens the plant cell walls, so that the plant can better receive essential nutrients. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in photosynthesis by assisting with the creation of chlorophyll, used by plants to convert sunlight into food. In addition, it is a wonderful help in allowing the plant to soak up phosphorus and nitrogen, which serve as vital fertilizer components for the soil.
Sulfate, a mineral form of sulfur found in nature, is an equally important nutrient for plant life. Sulfate is essential to the health and longevity of plants, and aides in the production of chlorophyll. It joins with the soil to make key nutrients more effective for plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Sulfate works in conjunction with Magnesium to create a “vitamin” full of minerals, nourishment and health benefits for your garden.
General Use Directions
When first planting a garden or setting it up for the new growing season, Epsom salt is especially useful for getting a nourishing start. Prep your garden soil by sprinkling up to 1 cup of Epsom salt per 100 square feet, and then work it into the soil before seeding or planting. This helps the seeds to germinate better, and start with a strong and healthy growth. It is also very beneficial for more mature plants that you are going to add to your garden, since the transition can be difficult for their growth and health.
For maintaining and creating a vegetable garden, Epsom salt can help you refresh and revitalize the garden you have already created—or create a healthy beginning to a new space. Epsom salt is advised for use with all fruits, vegetables, and herbs. As previously mentioned, it does not cause build-up or any harm to plants when used, and so can be used safely and effectively during any stage of the plant’s life.
For general purposes, Epsom salt works well as a saline solution for a tank sprayer. Simply fill your tank sprayer (commonly available at gardening and home improvement stores) with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Then spray your garden after the initial planting, later when it begins to grow (or after a month or so for transplants), and lastly when the vegetables begin to mature. It is believed that this practice will give you healthier vegetables, and a lush vegetable garden.
The advice above is wonderful for any vegetable or herb, but we do have additional advice for some varieties and situations:
Tomatoes, Peppers and other Vegetables – Add one or two tablespoons per hole before planting the seeds or transplants. Then as the vegetable matures, work in one tablespoon of Epsom salt per foot of plant height around the base of each plant. A study conducted by the National Gardening Association discovered that four out of six home gardeners noticed that their Epsom salt-treated peppers were larger than those that were un-treated. This solution truly aides in the production level, aesthetic beauty and quality of the harvest produced.
Flower Gardens – To use, follow the guidelines described previously for new seedlings and more mature plants. Next, using a tank sprayer, fill with a liquid solution containing one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water. This solution can be used as much as desired during the gardening season; but definitely after the initial planting, then later when you see growth (or after a month or so for transplants), and finally when they have received full bloom. If you don’t have a tank sprayer, you can always create this solution in a watering can using the ratio of 1 tablespoon Epsom salt to one gallon of water.
Roses – Epsom salt treated roses have greener foliage, are healthier and produce more canes and blossoms. Start by soaking unplanted rose bushes in one half cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water before planting. Then, when planting, add one tablespoon of Epsom salt to the hole before inserting the rose bush. After the roses are planted and to boost already planted roses, make the liquid Epsom salt solution listed above for either a tank sprayer or watering can. Once during the beginning of the season, it is also advised to work one half cup of Epsom salt into the base of the plant to encourage blooming canes and healthy basal cane development.
Shrubs – For flowering and green shrubs, Epsom salt can improve the blooming of the flowers and the vibrancy of the greenery. Simply work in one tablespoon of Epsom salt per nine square feet of bush into the soil, over the root zone. Repeat this every two to four weeks for optimal results.
Lawn Care – Epsom salt is particularly useful for preventing a yellowing lawn and creating lusher, softer, deeply green grass. It can be applied using a tank sprayer or a lawn spreader. Use three pounds per 1,250 square feet (25’ x 50’), six pounds per 2,500 square feet (50’ x 50’), and 12 pounds per 5,000 square feet (50’ x 100’). Dilute the salt in plenty of water, enough to make it dissolve.
Trees – Simply work in two tablespoons per nine square feet into the soil over the root zone three or four times a year. Planning to complete this at the beginning of each season is particularly helpful for preparing the tree for the change in weather, and allowing them to become stronger and healthier.
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