• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Epsom Salt fertilizer  RSS feed

 
Peter Mally
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I started an experiment with using epsom salt fertilizer on some of our sugar snap pea's. I was wonder if anyone else uses espom salts for fertilizer and what kind of results that they get
 
Kota Dubois
Posts: 171
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Epsom salts provide magnesium which is a necessary MICRO-nutrient. If your soil has none then a small amount will do no harm. Maybe better to get a soil test first?
 
Mary James
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Peter ,
I grew up using epsom salts as fertilizer my mom and granny both did as well..I use a food grade .I use it in all the gardens and the greenhouse when I need it..The containers mix in the greenhouses I tend to use it the most since I recycle and remix that soil each year it depletes..I guess I am not sure what your question is in regards to it..The food grade based I buy depends on price sometimes it is more economical for me to by the 50 lb bags while other times it is cheaper to by it in the 6 lbs sizes on sale..We also use it for soaking after a day in the gardens,,
Mary
 
Peter Mally
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm just curios on people's experience with using it and how well it works.
 
Mary James
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awe curious that I can answer from our experiences.
In our gardens we use it for certain deficiencies not as a broad spectrum fertilizer...We are old,,LOL and have been gardening since childhood so unlike most people we do not run for a test kit ,,I know plants and watch for signs to see what they need...The container's I use it in the soil mix is a bit different since we do several hundred pots of tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouses those plants use quite a bit of magnesium and need what they can utilize quickly,Especially during high production, I also use other goodies in compost that bring in long term magnesium and sulfur but it takes longer for the plants to be able to access ,,,We use it in the flower beds as well having more then a hundred roses it is helpful with them as well.It does great on blueberries that struggle in our area...
When I teach others about gardening the first part about research is always helpful..However your running on other peoples opinions I always suggest they do a test on their own and see if the products they are asking about work in a similar manner for them..What I find that works well in my opinion may be something that others have only had so so or not good results with...With fertilizers like Epsom salts many people recommend testing your soil to see if your deficient,, for people who have not lived in there gardens for decades this is a good suggestion,,Independent plant needs are also something one learns to take into consideration as well..hence plants like roses, tomato, potato, etc needing a bit more magnesium which can be used only around those plants root base..
For what we do utilize the Epsom salts for I would say in our gardens it does the job very well as a compliment to many of our other organic fertilizing methods...If it did not after all these years it would not be included in our gardening..My grandmother and mother both used it as well as part of their fertilizing ,,
Mary
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use small amounts in compost tea.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use them to produce tall, green, lush tomatoes and peppers that produce large amounts of fruit. I agree with Mary about long term gardening at the same site...one gets to know what works or doesn't without soil sampling. When it all comes down to it, it is mainly trial and error until you see what works, what doesn't.

If you want to know if it works in your garden, set aside a sample row or a set of plants and experiment with the plants in that row or set to see the results. I've done this with various methods and supplements and it always shows the results....yeah, it isn't exactly scientific process but it will do for the average gardener whose growing for food.
 
Peter Mally
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well so far I have done two feedings with my epsom salt fertilizer on my sugar snap peas and they are looking much better than the control bed.

I'll definitely get a soil test kit and do some samples and figure out what the soil is like. The area we are farming was a CSA for 3 years before we started doing it this year and they only did side dressing for many of their crops and didn't do much in the way of prepping the beds. We couldn't this year due to time and money constraints. This fall/winter we plan on doing more, plus I am putting out a couple of chicken tractors to help with it as well.
 
Cee Ray
Posts: 98
Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
if you're Ca levels are low I would just use dolomite lime... which has the right ratio of Ca to Mg and is a natural product
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone have any followup info on using epsom salt in the garden?
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i tried on some older trees, didn't seem to make much difference with them.

if you are in the west tho, make sure to try some zinc, is usually depleted also.
Think there is only one type that works.

I ended up buying some Sea Agri sea salt last fall to try this year on the trees, instead of the real expensive micronutruient mixes.
 
Mateo Chester
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a good amount of experience using epsom salts in container gardening. I do a lot of bonsai work, and because so much leaf matter is removed, magnesium deficiencies sometimes occur with certain plants. I apply it mostly as a top dress, but if a quick fix is needed, a foliar application works. The downside to foliar applications of epsom salts is they can leave a residue on the leaf surface if not properly washed off with plain water. Given this, foliar application to fruiting crops is not recommended.
I never use it as a soil amendment because it is far too soluble and breaks down/releases far too quickly for my liking.

My methods have since evolved. I now primarily use langeinite. I use this as a slow release source of magnesium, and in the process get fantastic levels of potassium and sulphur. When building my soil from scratch, I have incorporated it as an amendment, but no longer do so. Instead of putting it into the soil, I now only top dress with it, and on very rare occasion, take a couple days to dissolve it in water and apply as a soil drench. I have also combined the langbeinite and epsom salts as a 1:1 mixture and top dressed with that. The largest bonsai's I have are in 1/2 gallon containers, and I typically give them 1/4 tsp per pot. I do this a couple days before topping the canopy, and as a result, avoid all signs of magnesium deficiencies in my bonsai systems. Recently, I have been replacing the espom salts altogether with langbeinite. With a little more foresight, I haven't needed the quick release nature of espom salts and have had tremendous success using just langbeinite. And just to mention:

"1.1.5.5 Potassium Sulphate, non-synthetic ( 0-0-50) (CGSB Allowed)*
Potassium sulfate (K2SO4), also known as sulfate of potash, contains about 50% K2O and 18% sulfur (S). There are a few forms of potassium sulfate on the market. The one that is allowed for use in organic agriculture is from a natural source and is not altered.

* The second form is prohibited because it is derived by reacting sulphuric acid with potassium chloride. Potassium sulphate should not be confused with muriate of potash (0-0-60), which is prohibited in organic agriculture. In the fertilizer industry, anti-caking, binding agents and dust control agents are often added in small amounts to improve the flowability, handling and blending characteristics of fertilizers, to ensure that they can be applied uniformly at the correct rate."

Source:
http://www.acornorganic.org/cgi-bin/organopedia/itemdisplay?38

Hope this helps.

Much peace.




 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 356
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
13
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I tried it, with many plants. Several of them greened up quite a lot, but effect is rather short term (unless you do it again). I guess its because is so soluble, which is not desirable from a sustainable perspective. However is also not as significant in greening plants as giving a boost of nitrogen by using diluted urine.

I think compost tea seems a more healthy natural fertilizer, in the long term for most crops. Also seaweed seems a better fertilizer. And both should also contain magnesium.
 
Mateo Chester
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live rather far from the ocean, and as much as I'd love to source seaweed, it just isn't an option for me.. I am familiar with many other terrestrial plants that we can use as fertilizers, but given my mountainous location, are there any species of plants I may find in or around lakes/ponds/rivers that might provide the same/similar benefits as seaweed? And just out of curiosity, what is your process for making compost tea?
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ditto the warning about balancing Ca - Mg - K, with a surplus of one causing deficiency of another.

If I recall, dolomite is 50-50 Ca to Mg, and the Albrecht/Acres USA gang recommends 65-15 ratio of Ca to Mg, so I think around 3 parts lime to 2 parts dolomite gives that ratio

Seaweed is lovely... Shell also provides an oceanic source of micronutrients but provides more Ca than K. Greensand is the mineral version (a marine sedimentary rock powder), providing both potassium and micronutrients. Potassium can also be introduced through wood ash (or pot ash.... or potash).

For all the cations (including Ca - Mg - K - and a bunch of the micronutrients) what you also need is the soils capacity to release them from organic matter and hold on to them once they are released, which is primarily provided by the chemical stickiness of decomposed organic matter (google Cation Exchange Capacity). So all these tools for importing nutrients are in my opinion subsidiary to developing a healthy soil biota and good pools of organic matter. In turn, I suspect that some salts, if overused, might make some of your soil biota unhappy. Many folks introduce raw minerals thorugh the composting cycle.

Regarding if adding a nutrient has an effect -- it would likely depend on whether that nutrient is limiting in your soil and situation. Different places tend to lack different nutrients. Talk to an extension agent about what kinds of deficiencies are common in your location due to climate or your soils parent material.
 
Mateo Chester
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for putting things into perspective. My question to the OP is why they thought they needed to add Epsom Salts to begin with? A specific deficiency or just a trial and error thing? If I may ask, are you working with depleted soil that you feel needs amending/supplementation? And do you have the ability to mix some of the things that will elevate your CEC into the soil? If you do, certain types of clays, as well as glacial and volcanic rock dusts will greatly increase CEC. These materials will also provide a valuable mineral component to your soils...

My question to Paul is in regards to the liming agents. Are you speaking of Dolomitic Lime or Dolomite and Lime separately? And in your experience, how long before the dolomite/lime/(crustacean?) shell become available to the plants?

And thanks again Paul, building organic matter and elevating CEC is great advice.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All my understanding of availability is based on book learning/basic principles rather then primary literature or personal chemical testing, or lots of casual observation of limed and unlimed units (AKA no experience). Books commonly recommend fall application of life for spring crops, and warn against quick results from liming. Book learning suggests mineralization (release of ions into soil solution) is a function of particle size, temperature, and biological activity. So shell is typically more coarsely crushed and so would release slower (over a longer period of time). Compost pile application may provide some priming of release is a setting where you can control leaching. My understanding is that Dolomite or dolomitic lime is CaMg(CO3)2, where Agricultural lime (chalk...) is CaCO3--two different products. Brady and Weil suggest organic matter commonly has three times the CEC of clay. I wonder about biochar, but haven't seen much research. I don't know whether fungi serve as an intermediary for cations like they do for phosphorus. End of report
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We use Epsom salt solution on our gardens and keep. It has been helpful. We did not buy it for that purpose though. I soak in a high concentrate solution of it due to malabsobtion issues; hence, we have it readily on hand for supplementing. For the individual who buys the bulk food grade, I am curious as to your source? I would like to do some price comparing with whom I have been ordering from (San Francisco Salt Company). Thank You!
 
You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because
2017 Homesteaders PDC (permaculture design course) & ATC (appropriate technology course) in Montana
https://permies.com/wiki/61764/Homesteaders-PDC-permaculture-design-ATC
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!