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sea water and epsom salt  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I read somewhere on facebook that people are using epsom salt one handfull per watering can (9 litres) and it improves grows of vegetables and fruit.  Is is OK to do that without knowing what's in the soil? HOw often? And to me one handfull seems to be a bit too much.
And how often would you use seawater and would you spare the beans out? I probably dilute it one to one. What minerals does ot contain?
 
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Espson salt is Magnesium:
1) most soil are acidic so it should be fine, pH wise
2) it is water soluble so most of it will just drain to the water table and the root zone will be fine
3) in terms of mineral compostition, most soil are very lacking in Magnesium, even soils high in calcium usual don't have a Ca:Mg ratio of 7:1

Sea water is 95% NaCL regular cooking salt pure salt isn't that good of an amendment.
1) but I am sure if you did it the traditional way and self collected some sea water, you would be inoculating your soil with some wonderful organisms, that would break some pest cycle
2) traditionally that sea water also included seaweed which is high in iodine and other mineral.
I worry that is someone just took some lab made NaCl and added water they wouldn't get the same traditional effect.

Edit:
Sea water is 85% NaCL by DRY MASS once the water has been evaporated. My above number of 95% is off by a bit.

 
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Seawater, fermented seawater and biowater
 
Angelika Maier
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I hope to go to the beach during holidays and collect some sea water and some algae.
 
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I'd like to clarify something in this thread. Sea water is not 95% salt, if that were the case it would be devoid of life. Sea water averages 3.5% salts, which includes NaCl.

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/whysalty.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seawater

 
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Sea water is a great thing to use to add up to 95-97 minerals to your soil, you use it at a rate of 4 L (1 gal.) per 31 sq. cm (sq. ft.) for the initial infusion of minerals. This amount will not add much salinity to the soil.
You can alternately find sea salt that has been evaporated naturally and not purified (still has all the minerals in it) and use that at the rate of 2 cups per sq. meter (sq. yd.) this too will not do any harm to the soil.
Usual recommendation of frequency is 2 times a year, you can use it as much as 4 times a year but doing a soil test would be advisable for that many applications.
Normally you would use this treatment in an alternating year pattern. I use a product called Sea-90, which is sea salt and has 95 minerals in it.
I spread it at the 2 cup per sq. meter rate every three years, except for our straw-bale gardens which get one shot (1/2 cup per bale, all over the top of the bale) of sea-90 just prior to planting.

There have been experiments where sea salt was spread on fields at the rate of 2 tons per acre with no measureable salinity increase.

Redhawk
 
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Most soils are not high in magnesium, and Epsom will wash through fairly quickly...
BUT...
some soils are high in Mg, and low in calcium
if so, Epsom will hurt you more than help.
especially, if you use too much.

it also has sulfer.

if your soil is too acid, it can make it a little worse.

that said, i have used it several time and it has greened up leaves on some plants
especially in containers.
iron also helped.

soil test is best though.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I agree with you Brad,
I like to add calcium carbonate then add some Epsom salt, that way I know I stand a good chance of not binding up too much calcium by adding magnesium via the Epsom salts.
 
Angelika Maier
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I wait for the results of the soil tests will be next year...
As for the sea water, do what do you mean by 31 sq cm is it one ft2 or 31 cm2?
There is and expensive product called seasol, probably the seaweed or seawater does just the same.
 
Brad Mayeux
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If the biology in the soil is right, you shouldnt have a problem with the plants getting minerals.
bacteria and fungi break down rock, sand etc..., and organic matter is releasing minerals all the time also.

im not opposed to adding things like kelp, which will break down and release lots of minerals fast
but the biology certainly should not be ignored either.
its the MOST important thing when it comes to the plant absorbing nutrients it needs.

my practice is adding coffee grounds, grass clippings and leaves on top the soil
with some wood chips on top of that
this provides a great environment for worms.
worms will work 24x7 to aerate the soil leaving holes packed with nutrients roots can use.
best damn workers i got.

if i really need a fast infusion (in poor soil) i add fish emulsion with a little molasses.
or, a compost tea or worm tea with fish and molasses added.

over time, adding leaves, grass clippings, compost etc...
will create the right environment.
no one fertilizes the forest, or adds seawater to it, and most trees do just fine.


You should watch a few videos by Dr. Elaine Ingham
Heres one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzthQyMaQaQ

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Angelika Maier wrote:I wait for the results of the soil tests will be next year...
As for the sea water, do what do you mean by 31 sq cm is it one ft2 or 31 cm2?
There is and expensive product called seasol, probably the seaweed or seawater does just the same.



31 cm = 12 inches  so what most Americans call a sq. ft. (12" x 12") would be 31 sq. cm. Yes?
a cubic foot would be 12" x 12" x 12" (Length x height x depth)

If you can bring in sea water, I would use that over the seasol, no need to go into expensive products unless that is the only choice.
When I lived in California I would go to the ocean every weekend, I always came back with a couple of drums (55 gal.) of sea weeds to whack up and use around my citrus trees. I didn't have any other types of fruit trees there.
 
Angelika Maier
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Thanks for clarifying, when do you guys finally get metric?
I used to transport the seaweed in old feed sacks, convenient but it slightly smells....
 
Bryant RedHawk
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In the USA it seems only those in the scientific field are more comfortable with the metric system. The US was supposed to wean people into the metric system but it has apparently stopped  being something to move forward.

Yea, sea weeds can  begin to breakdown fairly rapidly. I measured the decay rate of some iodine kelp back in the early 1960's and from wash-up on the beach to total breakdown was only 15 days.

When I lived close enough to the ocean to gather some seaweeds for the gardens I used plastic bags, not the best idea, then I found some gunny sacks and they worked a treat, less smell and premature breakdown from beach to house.
 
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when you guys amend with seaweed what amount do you put on?

sorry math police here... a square foot is something like 930 cm2 or .093 m2.  you square by multiplying the length of the sides of the square.  so a 2ft by 2ft square is 4 square feet or .186 m2 or 1860 cm2.

 
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