Epsom salts in the garden.

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Ricard with an H
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Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Ricard with an H » Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:38 pm

The marketing of Epsom salts worries me.

For personal use I have been warned by our pharmacist that it's use will dehydrate the body removing water through the skin but not the salts. I lost 8 kilos of body weight using Epsom salts in my bath over three months though I didn't think I was any more dehydrated than usual. Early morning urine usually presents you with dehydration signs. Normal.

For personal use Epsom salts are fairly close to snake oil, Google it.

For the garden the marketing is equally heavy. >>>>>>>>
Magnesium sulfate may be used to fertilize your plants, green up your lawn, remove unwanted insect pests, and prevent slugs among other things.
<<<<<<<<<

Anyone had any experiences to report ?
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby John » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:15 pm

Hello R H
Epsom salts are good stuff to have ready when the growing season gets underway. Chlorophyll the green pigment in leaves is necessary for photosynthesis (trapping light energy for food making). Epsom salts contain magnesium. Without enough magnesium available a plant cannot make enough chlorophyll and will suffer chlorosis and poor growth because it cannot make enough food. Magnesium is one of the essential elements that are required for plant growth.
A deficiency of magnesium will soon show up as a yellowing of leaf tips and between the leaf veins. Time to reach for the Epsom salts which are magnesium sulphate crystals and put things right. A few teaspoons in a can of water watered over the leaves or into the soil will usually improve things. A similar problem occurs if iron is lacking as this is required in the early stages of chlorophyll formation in the leaf cells.
Sorry about the chemistry lesson but it does help a lot to understand what's going on.

John

PS If you notice chlorosis it doesn't always mean that your soil or compost is lacking in magnesium. It may be that a rapidly growing plant cannot take it up from the soil fast enough - often a problem in young potato plants. In this case leaf watering with Epsom salts should be used.

PPS E salts are much cheaper at the garden centre than at a pharmacy. You don't need pharmacy grade stuff for plants only humans.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Ricard with an H » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:34 pm

Thanks John.

I bought 25 kilos direct from Epsom, I think I got suckered into the idea of ES not only for the garden but to regain my six pack and pull back some of the youth that is missing in recent years.

It's the diversity of its uses marketed to the public that makes me wonder. It deals with slugs, migraine, aphids, depression, and beer-belly.

I'll use it in the garden though I won't be sure the soil needs it until the signs of chlorosis appear, does it work that quickly ?
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby John » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:51 pm

Hello R H
25kg - I'm amazed. Yes it does work surprising quickly on plants. A dilute solution is a good tonic for seedlings as well. Can't say I've ever tried it on slugs aphids etc - perhaps others can help on this.
It will certainly green up the lawn but nice lush growth just means more mowing for me. OK if you have a bowling green type lawn - I have daisies, clover and moss with a bit of grass I think!

John
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby sally wright » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:17 pm

Dear Richard
the most usual use for epsom salts in the garden is to dose chlorotic tomatoes. One teaspoon per gallon of water is the usual amount with the feed when the leaves show signs of it. It usually starts to perk up the plants within the week.
Epsom salts are very soluble and should only be applied outside when the plants are showing signs of problems as if it applied when you sow it will have leached away before the seedlings can use it.
If you plan on sprinkling the crystals about then it would be a good idea to mix them with some sand to even out the spread and to see where you have been. As you are in a high rainfall area Richard I would suggest going with about half the recommended dose and apply every fortnight at that rate to make sure that you are not wasting the product or overdosing. Potatoes will benefit from this regime and I would recommend a copy of Collins guide to pests, diseases and disorders of garden plants to identify other veg which may benefit.
As for using epsom salts on a lawn, well you could I suppose, but the drug of choice here is usually an iron compound as it is less soluble and will reduce grass growth slightly.
Regards Sally Wright.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Ricard with an H » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:17 am

The reason I bought 25 kilos is that in those quantities it is very cheap to buy and my intended use was for more than the garden.

If you Google for its personal uses you'll find it has many though I doubt some of the claims. The weight I lost by using it in the bath was through fluid loss and I wasn't overweight to start with though I had piled on a few pounds last winter down to the precautionary winter lard-up. Magnesium removes water from the body but not the salts so you can end up with a salt overload.

My mother used Epsom salts for all sorts of things, it's sold in posh containers with a pink bow and a nice smell for massive amounts of profit just for sticking in your bath or soaking your feet.

I'll use it in the garden but not on the grasses, my grasses are mostly utility and I have plenty to cut though most with a ride-mower. I only pick up on the domestic grasses so they don't retain their nutrient, I used chicken manure on those grasses.

I'll be on the lookout for chlorosis this year, last year many of my potted-on seedlings were chlorotic, it appears this is usual when you use some types of compost.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:18 am

Only ever used Epsom salts once for personal use.

Didn't look at what I was doing properly and used tblspns instead of tspns.

Won't make that mistake again :D

Used some a while back on the runner and french beans as leaves showed signs of yellow veining. Soon cleared up
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Ricard with an H » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:40 am

Pa Snip wrote:Only ever used Epsom salts once for personal use.

Didn't look at what I was doing properly and used tblspns instead of tspns.

Won't make that mistake again :D


Ahh-yes, as a laxative it is very effective and back in the olden days people took it for all sorts of problems. Magnesium is still marketed under different disguises, 'Milk of magnesia' comes to mind. As our pharmacist warned me about it's use he had it on the shelves behind him. Some famous models and Victoria B use it regularly to stay thin because it gives you tight skin and a tight ass though the warnings are that the water loss is through the skin rather than via the kidneys.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Primrose » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:59 pm

Interesting reading. I have a number of Daphne bushes (the ones with the very fragrant spring perfume) which are looking quite sad with yellowing leaves. Would Epsom salts work with them, do you think? I was wondering what I could dose them with to perk them up.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby sally wright » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:22 pm

Dear Primrose,
it sounds more like iron deficiency for your Daphne. Use some sequestered iron or hydrangea blueing, it is easy to get from your local garden centre. It may not be the general soil conditions in your area that are the problem but possibly some local contamination of the spoil with lime or chalk which has locked up the iron in the soil and made it difficult for your Daphne to thrive.
regards Sally Wright.
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Re: Epsom salts in the garden.

Postby Primrose » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:28 pm

Sally, thank you for that suggestion. i am fond of them for the make gardening such a delight when their fragrance is drifting past you but some of them are looking quite sad now so ai will give them a couple of doses and see what happens. I give them a small covering of manure around their bases every spring whenever I have some spare but they seem to develop this condition as they grow older.
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