How To Use Epsom Salt For Sweeter Tastier Tomatoes

I published an earlier blog message regarding the use of Epsom Salt. Some of this information may be identical but there might be a tidbit that is new. I’m always looking for helpful hints to improve my garden.

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How To Use Epsom Salt For Sweeter Tastier Tomatoes

epsom-salt-sweeter-tastier-tomatoes-07302015You’ve probably heard of using Epsom Salts for personal hygiene. However, epsom salt and tomato plants may be something new. It’s true, epsom salt can also be used in the garden!

What Is Epsom Salt?
First of all, Epsom salt is not salt. It is NOT something you can put on your food! It’s actually a compound called magnesium sulfate that occurs naturally. The name Epsom is a nod to a saline spring found in a part of England by the same name.

Magnesium sulfate is known for providing wonderful benefits when growing tomatoes, functioning as a plant fertilizer.

Incorporate Epsom Salt And Tomato Plants From The Start
#1 For Potted Tomato Plants
Dissolve around 2 tablespoons of epsom salt in 1 gallon of water. Use the solution to water your plants. No need to do this every day though! Instead, use the solution once a month and switch to regular watering for the rest of the days.

#2 When First Planting Tomato Seedlings
When first planting seedlings in the garden, take 1 cup of Epsom salt and sprinkle it liberally over the plot. Ideally, 1 cup of Epsom salt will cover roughly 100 square feet. Make sure you distribute it evenly.

When you’re done, work the epsom salt into the soil. This makes it easier for your tomato plants to obtain nutrients from the soil, building stronger root and burst into healthy blooms.

#3 Tomato Plant Maintenance
Generally, you’ll know if your tomato plants are suffering with a magnesium deficiency as the leaves start to become yellow. Do not wait for this to happen! As your tomato plants mature, add a bit of Epsom salt to the soil.

The ideal ratio is 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height. If your tomato plant is two feet in height, you’ll be feeding it two tablespoons of Epsom salt at least twice a month!

Once on the 15th and another on the 30th would be perfect. For other plants, the general rule is once every six weeks. Opt for the less frequent method and observe how your plants react.

Warning: DO NOT over use!

#4 Applying Epsom Salt As A Soil Drench OR A Foliar Spray
Drenching with Epsom salt improves the overall health of tomato plants by giving them a good dose of magnesium. If your tomato plants need a boost, dissolve about one or two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Drench at the base of the tomato or pepper plants and allow the water-salt solution to soak into the ground. Repeat throughout the season as necessary.

Apply as a foliar spray using the same 1 or 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water, every 2 weeks for a boost.

What To Expect When Applying Epsom Salt On Tomatoes
With the proper application, your tomato plants, you can expect the following results:

Tomato plants are less prone to problems like blossom end rot
The tomatoes bear fruits longer
Ripening color is redder than usual and more attractive
Larger tomato fruits
The tomatoes are sweet and incredibly juicy
Better seed germination

Of course, Epsom salts may also be used for other plants and not just tomatoes. More on Epsom Salt Garden “Cheats”!

Read: Tomato Q & A Here

Other crops that benefit from Epsom salt include: pepper plants, rose bushes, and the vegetable garden.

Understand that different plants have different care needs so you’ll have to do some research based on the crop you intend to grow.

Tomato with two thumbs up

Valuable information !!

Thirteen Tips for Gardening in Extreme Heat

Hot weather thermometerLiving in Southeast Texas, I need all the tips I can read. These… were posted on the Garden Training Project Facebook forum.Smiley face with fan

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“Some gardeners live in climates with extremely hot summers, where daily temperatures frequently exceed 90, or even 100 degrees. If this is your situation, summer may be the most difficult season for your garden, instead of winter.

“Extreme heat is not only stressful for many plants, but it can actually make many of them go dormant and stop growing – even if they are kept well watered. High heat can also keep plants from setting any fruit because extremely hot temperatures can kill the pollen. Other crops will bolt and go to seed extremely quickly.

[Lorraine here to say the above information is priceless. I wondered why my tomato plants stopped blooming.]

Look for those vegetables that were bred for the desert, the southern states, or the tropics. These include: tomatoes, eggplant, melons, peppers, malabar spinach, cowpeas, and lima beans. Sweet potatoes, okra, and southern peas can handle the most heat.

However, even many of these plants may drop their blossoms and stop setting fruit when the temperatures regularly exceed 90 degrees F. Look for varieties that may have been bred to continue fruiting in extreme heat.

Although in some situations you may need to water daily, it’s very important to water your plants deeply – a minimum of 6 inches down – at least once a week for clay soils, and twice a week for sandy ones. Don’t guess – check your soil moisture level by using a trowel to dig 6” down.

Giving your garden some partial shade during periods of extreme heat can reduce temperatures by 10 degrees F or more. You can cover your garden with shade cloth, a snow-fence, or latticework supported on a frame – even old sheets or sheer curtains. Make sure your shade-producing materials are well-secured against high winds, and are high enough above the plants so that your garden will get good ventilation.

Many gardeners in extremely hot climates have found that providing about 30-40% shade usually works best. Even tomatoes, peppers, and squashes can benefit from shade cloth in desert climates.

[Lorraine here to say I’m grateful I planned ahead and prepared the shade cloth sheltered area.]

Brick, stone, and concrete will absorb heat and keep your garden hotter during the summer.

These will absorb extra heat and continue to release it after the sun sets – the equivalent of the “urban heat island” effect in your garden. Your garden will also be hotter if you place it up against an unshaded south or west side of buildings (in the northern hemisphere). You can keep your garden cooler by surrounding your garden beds with lawn grass or organic mulch.

[Lorraine here to say “oops”!! My planters are sitting on the cement pad specifically prepared for the Garden Tower.]