Epsom Salts and Organics-Epsom Salts for Organic Growing? Really?

By: Frog & Peach Inc  08/04/2011
Keywords: Harvesting, Composting, Organic Farming


Epsom Salts for Organic Growing? Really?

Epsom salts are a combination of two minerals magnesium and sulfur. How each element works is, sulfur helps plants to activate plant proteins and enzymes needed for proper growth.  Magnesium helps to form chlorophyll in plants which is essential for photosynthesis.

It’s always best to test your soil first before adding Epsom salts so you do not waste your time and effort.

The difference between Epsom salt and other salt is that these two elements magnesium-sulfate [these two elements are crucial to plant growth] and all others are sodium.

Sulfur is crucial to the inner workings of plants, but it is almost never lacking in the soil, thanks in part to synthetic fertilizers and acid rain.

Magnesium can become scarce in soil, usually because of erosion or depletion of the top soil or a pH imbalance. Some plants, like lettuce and spinach, don’t mind going without magnesium. Others may exhibit symptoms like leaf curing, stunted growth that could be attributed to more than one cause. Magnesium deficiency has even been blamed as a cause for biter tomatoes.  In general, magnesium plays a role in strengthening the plant cell walls, allowing the plant to take in the nutrients it needs.

Researchers have never been terribly impressed with the effects of Epsom salts on plants. Gardeners are a different story and the use of Epsom salts is a gardening tip passed down for generations. While many gardeners simply toss in a handful of Epsom salts at planting time, it really is wiser to test your soil first. Epsom salts are not going to cure an extreme magnesium deficiency. However, experienced gardeners have been swearing by Epsom salts for years and folk wisdom is often ahead of scientific study. The three plants that benefit most from an application of magnesium in the form of Epsom salts are: Tomatoes, Peppers and Roses.

To help your tomatoes and peppers, spray the blooms and plants with Epsom salts water. The magnesium in the salts will help the plants to absorb nutrients from the soil and give the plant an extra boost in growing.

Use 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts in one quart of warm water and mix well.

When magnesium is not present in the soil it tends to make the soil acidic. Epsom salt is actually a neutral salt which has very little effect on the pH in the soil. Where you find the soil to be acidic it is better to use dolomitic lime to increase the pH. Now if you find out that the soil is deficient in magnesium but the pH is OK, then you should add Epsom salt to increase the magnesium level. Adding Epsom salt will not alter the soil’s pH.

Remember Epsom salt is a good way to deliver both sulfur and magnesium to plants. When plants are low in either of these nutrients adding Epsom salt should be beneficial. Most cases low magnesium will show that the soil is acidic and with this the case you will need to use dolomitic lime as a way to add magnesium while raising the soil pH.

Keywords: Composting, Green House, Greenhouse Gardening, Harvesting, Organic Farming, organic planting