Epsom salts has been used to relieve magnesium defi ciency found
during intensive cropping of many fruit and vegetable species worldwide.
Th ese include commonly grown North American crops such as alfalfa,
apple, beets, carrots, citrus, cauliflower, cotton, grains, hops, kale,
nuts, okra, peppers, plums, potatoes, snap beans, sugar beets, sweet
potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes, watermelon, and wine grapes, as well as
more exotic species including banana, cacao, coff ee, rubber, Swedish
turnips, and tea.
Among the diverse plant materials that have been studied under treatment
with Epsom salts, there are two commonalities: all are intensively
produced crops and all were suffering from magnesium deficiency.
There are two primary causes of magnesium defi ciency in plants:
an actual lack of soil magnesium, or an imposed defi ciency caused by
mineral imbalances in the soil or plant. Magnesium defi ciencies most
commonly occur in soils described as light, sandy, and/or acid, though
occasionally clay soils under intensive production can show
magnesium defi ciency as well.
Regardless of type, soils heavily leached by rainfall or irrigation are
more likely to exhibit magnesium defi ciency. Thus, soil addition of
highly soluble Epsom salts under leaching conditions does not benefit
magnesium-deficient plants but does increase mineral contamination of
water passing through.
To restore magnesium, buy some Epsom salts at the drugstore and add
about one tablespoon to an empty spray bottle. Then fill the bottle with
lukewarm water, shake it up so the Epsom salts dissolve and spray the
solution on the leaves and blossoms of your pepper plants.
Epsom salt solutions have been sprayed on foliage, resulting in leaf
scorch; inclusion of a wetting agent can relieve this. A teeny bit of
detergent maybe? Commercial wetting agents look pricy.
As well as all this keep in mind that a foliar spray is a quick fix not a
long term solution and it doesn't last long. Unless you want to do it every
few weeks study your soil and see what needs to be done to provide a long
term balance of minerals.
On Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:22:26 PM UTC-4, David Hare-Scott wrote:
Everything is fertilized with 10 10 10. The peppers (bell) do not have very
thick walls and I thought I had read that this would help. There is a lot
of irrigation to the garden, so am I wasting my time and effort? The burnin
g issue concerns me too. Would early morning be enough to combat that?
Of course I recommend that you go organic. That said, I can only
recommend you try different pepper cultivars, and find the ones that
best like your garden. Watering at levels above what is needed can
create cultivation problems (root rot), and dilute flavor in the fruits,
Early Girl is well suited to a technique known as "dry farming".
Researchers at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are among those who have
described the technique: not watering tomatoes after transplanting,
forcing the roots to grow deeper to seek out moisture, producing more
"concentrated flavor," and saving water.
Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes have a cult following, and aficionados
claim the taste of dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes rival those of the
best-regarded heirloom tomatoes.
Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are popular in farmers markets in the San
Francisco Bay Area. The variety is also popular with home gardeners in
that region, where it thrives despite the area's cool and often overcast
Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters is a fan of the Early Girl tomato,
telling an interviewer "[O]ne of the best tomatoes IΉve ever had was an
Early Girl that was dry-farmed up in Napa at a friendΉs house."
The problem with burning is the concentration of salts in a droplet of
water. Wetting agents let the water spread out in a sheet, rather that
let the surface tension hold it together in a droplet.
Try a drop of detergent per bottle, and then spray a leaf. If droplets
persist add another drop. I wouldn't go above 10 drops (1/2 ml), but
more than that may be OK, depending on the size of the sprayer bottle.
I am assuming you have good reason to think your soil is deficient in
magnesium. If this is just a guess on your part it might be easier to do
some testing before springing into action. If the only indicator you have
is the thickness of the walls of your peppers then consider that this may be
the cultivar you have not the environment. For example the 'bulls horn'
capsicum (sweet pepper) has much thinner walls than the short square kind.
First check the pH of your soil, if it is too low instead of raising it with
garden lime try dolomite instead which contains magnesium as well as
calcium. This form of magnesium is nowhere near as soluble as epsom salts
and so it will last longer.
Keeping the magnesium in the soil also depends on the presence of colloids
such as those in clay or compost (look up cation exchange capacity).
Retentive soil will always be easier to maintain minerals compared to very
sandy soil. This does not apply just to magnesium but all minerals. So the
long term solution would include the steps: getting the pH right, get the
exchange capacity up and add a source of magnesium if required.
On Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:42:42 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
ry thick walls and I thought I had read that this would help. There is a lo
t of irrigation to the garden, so am I wasting my time and effort? The burn
ing issue concerns me too. Would early morning be enough to combat that?
I have had the soil tested many times at through the cooperative extension
office but it has been a few years. I don't remember the exact results but
there was never anything that stood out and the 10 10 10 was their recommen
dation. The soil is fairly sandy and slightly acidic due to the pine trees
near by. I have never been able to figure out what is in the soil that cau
ses my tomato plants to develop wilt but they do every year. In fact I took
some dirt out of the garden, put it in a pot, planted the tomato plant and
it too has wilted.
But back to the peppers, I put a tablespoon of the Epsom Salt around the b
ase of each plant and I sware the plants are greener. How often should or c
an I do this? The garden is watered twice a day for 15 minutes. The plants
are just getting flowers.
it may be still too early to pick them, try
giving them a bit more time to develop.
if your soil is not holding moisture well and
requires a half hour of watering each day that is
a good sign that your soil could use some added
clay and organic matter. this also would help in
holding nutrients for the plants. also top dressing
lightly with a mulch (once the soil warms up after
the spring) will help hold moisture.
if nothing stood out they should have
left it alone, but anyways...
have you had the water tested? is it
city/treated or well water?
are you watering using hoses that are
laying in the hot sun all day? if you
spray that directly on plants fresh out
of the hose that's not a good thing...
when i water i always flush the hose
first until the water runs cooler and
use a little agricultural lime (powder acts
fastest, grit lasts longer) in your garden. if
you make your own compost add it to the compost
heap. how much you need depends upon how far off
your pH is from neutral. if you are 6.5 to 7.5
that is fine for most garden plants (other than
those well noted for needing acidic conditions).
don't add a lot all at one time, but over the
course of a few years you should be able to
gradually increase the pH. however, if your
soil is mostly sand and has little clay or
organic material to hold the moisture it can
be leached away quickly once stopped. that is
why i recommend adding a little clay and organic
material to help hold things in place and to
give the rest of the soil community more to
diseases can be a problem for some plants.
do you start your own seeds? have you tried
different varieties? do you do crop rotation
or are you planting tomatoes and peppers in
the same soil year after year? if you are
starting your own seeds you could be using
infected seeds/trays/pots/starting mix, tools,
watering can, hoses or location. if your
starting process is flawed then it all follows.
what do you do for soil organic matter? do
you add compost? do you grow other crops in
the area and turn them under?
we've grown tomatoes for years and had some
problems with fungi (after flooding and heavy
rains), but not wilt. we also rotate plant on
a minimum three to five year cycle (tomatoes
first on new soil, then peppers, then beans,
peas, beets, greens, then cover crops like
buckwheat or alfalfa or trefoil. if we've planted
the same crop two years in a row it is because
i've turned the soil deeply enough to not worry
also, mulching lightly to reduce rain and
watering splashing of soil on the leaves. some
people even remove the lower leaves of the
plants once they get growing to keep disease
problems from having an easy start. i don't go
i dunno, around here both magnesium and
sulfur are at reasonable levels and we amend
enough with other materials that they shouldn't
be getting depleted.
you could be picking them too early. when we get
thin walled peppers it is those at the end of the
season when the temperatures are lower and the light
is not as strong. they are still edible up until
the frosts get them, but the flavor isn't as good
as prime time.
you could also try different varieties.
On Monday, June 3, 2013 9:18:01 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:
The water comes out of the lake we live on and is acidic although I do not
know the actual number. It is an irrigation system that waters around 10 pm
and then again around 5 am.
ALL of the above. I start my own seeds, I have tried everything from seeds
from actual tomatoes, cheep ones from Wal Mart, disease resistant seeds fr
om a mail order place in Florida. All of my utensils are correctly used.
Yep rotate every year. Have not turned them under, especially the tomatoes
because of the wilt. Organic matter is just fallen leaves and not much else
. I cover the garden is black plastic for the winter (November - February)t
o kill the weeds but whatever is there gets tilled in. We are homebrewers s
o any spent grain gets put in the garden but nothing else compost wise. I h
ave tried it and it just doesn't seem to work for me.
I do. I remove all the lower leaves on everything.
Again have done this too. The ones I have had success with have been from s
eeds harvested from grocery store peppers, believe it or not.
Thank you for your time and information. I just feel like I have been doing
this long enough that I should be growing perfect produce :)
sorry this seems so frustrating to you, but
there's a lot of things that the rest of us
don't know about what you are doing and so in
order to try to help it is important to find
out as much of the history and methods you are
using. when i ask a question i want a specific
answer to that question. if you think you're
repeating yourself you might not be getting the
point i'm after. already below you've revealed
a few things that i didn't note from before so
they can help longer term. :) patience...
the more complete you can be the more it helps.
have you ever been able to grow tomatoes there
at all? you say you've planted different varieties
but have you tried cherry tomatoes or smaller
have you ever tried growing tomatoes (patio or
cherry tomatoes) in a brand new pot using potting
soil and not using water from the tap?
for an experiment get a bucket, put a few
holes in the bottom, fill it with potting soil
and put a patio or cherry tomato plant in there
and keep it watered using distilled or spring
water (i.e. don't use tap water or water from
the lake). fertilize it lightly only after it
gets growing for a month.
if you can keep that plant alive then at least
we know it's not you... :)
i still think this will help overall for your
garden apart from everything else.
your soil is sandy loam? the soil tests
should tell you what type of soil it is
and how much clay (the percentage). if clay
is too low then you're low pH water will be
leaching nutrients from a sandy soil.
test your water. find out what you are
up against (at the rate of 30 minutes at so
many gallons per minute) each day.
i'm not sure if irrigating at different
times would help too. is your irrigation
system buried so that the water isn't being
heated up at any point along the route
from the lake to the garden?
is it being stored in a tank that is
in the sun or does it come straight
from the lake to the garden? (to
adjust pH some folks run acidic water
through a crushed limestone gravel bed,
this works well for a while, but the
gravel can eventually get a coating on
it which then decreases the adjustment
so after that it needs to be stirred.
a much, much easier approach is to use
earthworms and limestone grit. the worms
use the pieces of grit in their gizzards
to grind things up. along with their
calcium secretion glands they are very
good for maintaining pH.
have you ever lifted a plant and looked
at the root system? compared a healthy
plant with a wilted plant? perhaps you
have root knot nematodes (sandy soil ...)?
it may not be wilt. just curious what you've
examined and if you've sent a wilted plant in
for diagnosis? if so, what was the exact name
ok, how are you rotating? how large an area?
have you ever double dug an area?
if you have another area far enough away that
has never been gardened put a tomato in that
spot and see what happens (even if it doesn't
get enough light you can still examine the
root structure later on or see if it wilts
in the same manner).
not much actual nutrition in fallen leaves.
your soil is crying out for a more balanced
is wilt a fungal, bacterial or viral disease?
if it is a fungal disease then covering the
ground for that long a period of time and not
encouraging bacterial populations is not going
the sun sterilizes the surface of the soil
(UV rays). earthworms will also help change
the bacterial and pH characteristics of a soil.
also growing plants will help. if you can switch
to planting a mixed cover crop for those months
and then turn it a few weeks before planting the
garden i think you'll eventually be in for much
once you learn more about what is going on (is it
a fungal disease, bacterial or viral) then you can
also adjust your practices to encourage the other
factors to reduce the problem.
again, another very limited nutrient material.
perhaps also too oriented towards fungal (like
covering with plastic for months at a time will
if you can afford fertilizer you can afford a
bag or two of alfalfa pellets or alfalfa meal.
top dress your garden with that and lightly mix
it with the top few inches of soil. mulch lightly
over that. in combination with added clay (if you
don't have enough) some agricultural lime (probably
needed) you'll greatly increase the bacterial and
fungal counts. if you do this along with adding a
bit of composted cow manure and other known good
quality compost then you'll help to add more
competition to disease organisms. this is best
done a few weeks to a month before planting.
"I have tried it" what is "it"? compost or
cover crops or ?
there's a lot of history we don't know about
yet. we have no idea how long this garden has
been going, if you've ever been able to grow
tomatoes there, what the light situation is
i'm trying to find out. :) if you answer
each question i ask (bear with me, but each
question is important because it gives me a
better idea of what you are doing).
already we are getting a clearer picture of
do you use any mulch, covers or what?
likely California Wonder (the most common green
bell pepper found in stores).
you're welcome. i enjoy problem solving and
perhaps others can learn something too. i don't
consider it a waste of time, but it speeds things
up if you answer each question even if you think
i should know the answer already. not everyone
reads the backstory or the past articles and
someone far wiser than i may see something
obvious that i haven't...
as for growing perfect produce. well i can tell
the bugs which plants to eat and they listen. just
joking... every year i learn more and i've been
growing houseplants and gardening for more than 40
years. the more i learn the more i appreciate what
a fine world we have.
getting back to your problem with tomatoes...
i think i would lay off using the brewing
leavings and instead use those in a compost
pile (to reduce the yeast populations and to
introduce a wider variety of bacteria and
fungi to the compost, which then gets added
to the gardens). i would add a little lime
to the compost pile, and use dirt and
composted cow manure from a different site
to innoculate the pile.
you want to encourage a wider population of
soil creatures than what you currently have.
many of them will help fight an imbalance, but
you want to get these soil creatures from a
whole different location and source than what
you have now.
if you want a prime example of how this type
of process works look at the problem of c. diff
in people. it's a very nasty bug of the digestive
tract. very resistant to drugs. yet they can
treat it in a fairly inexpensive manner by taking
a healthy person's poop and putting that in the
infected person's digestive system (simplifying
the description, but that's about what they do).
c.diff almost killed my aunt. before this
treatment was made known, she was not really ever
fully recovered... now they know a lot more and
more people are able to be treated.
garden soil is a whole community much like the
digestive system. if you can find the imbalance and
correct it that is good, but you might also need
to give it a boost with a new community of
organisms to provide competition with whatever
is causing disease.
a few things you are doing is pushing your
soil community towards the fungal life, but
also certain types of fungi (yeasts and those
that thrive in low light and warmth) does
that sound familiar? like the understory of
a tomato plant in summer humidity?
stop smothering the soil for months at a time.
plant a mixed cover crop and turn it under about
a month before planting. at that time add some
lime, new compost from a known good source
(innoculated with soil from a known good area
not at all close to yours). if you can get
native earthworms (not composting worms) to add
at the time you turn the cover crop and add the
lime (add the lime first and water it before
adding worms) this will help things a great deal.
clay too. don't forget that if your soil is too
much sand. a little bit goes a long ways.
another thing, is that earthworms (not composting
worms) don't tend to hang out in poor sandy soils.
they like a little clay and they like a little grit
and they like green stuff up top and cool enough
temperatures below. give them grit, green stuff and
a bit of clay and they will work for free to help
you keep your pH up. they are great garden helpers.
a light layer of mulch after the ground has warmed
up enough to plant will also help give them a bit
of protection from the heat and drying out. composting
worms are ok too, but they are more up top creatures
and what i would want to encourage in your situation
is actual soil dwelling worms.
On Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:48:26 AM UTC-4, songbird wrote:
Oh I know, I don't mean to sound ungratefull
Yes the first year we lived here there was no problem. (8 years ago)
THe only thing that gets watered from the lake is the gardens. All of the potted
stuff and the green house get watered from tap water that I let sit out before I
use it. I thought distilled water was a no no.
What the hell is a worm? Seriously I have not seen one in 8 years.
Don't know what you mean by double dug? The gardens are 35" x 4"
Well ya your right, I guess all the good stuff goes into the beer :)
Sorry for the delay in responding. We had a quick trip out of town
Do you let it sit for 24 hours as you would for a fish tank? That should
blow off any chlorine worries.
bird is just trying to get identify the problem. If your plants grow
well with distilled water, the house/lake water IS your problem.
Distilled water doesn't have any minerals, and volatile compounds should
have been blown off by the heat (chlorine for example), leaving you with
a small residue of aromatic compounds, but probably not as much as
straight lake water, unless it is a very pristine lake. Most water is
OK, as long as it isn't high in salts, which you would taste.
You might ask the cooperative extension office about the lake's pH. They
would probably know.
Ouuuuughaaaaa. ³Danger, Will Robinson!² Houston, we have a problem.
On second thought, we don't have a problem, your soil be day-ed.
Sorry, I came in late to the show, but if it isn't too late get some
organic material into your soil ASAP. This is also where the 10-10-10
comes in. It doesn't support the soil ecology. Hmmmmmmm OK, people grow
hydoponically so you should be able to grow without worms, but it will
be more expensive.
You won't have to water as often as hydroponically, since the soil wil
hold some moisture, but you would be feeding at each watering.
Check with a nursery that has hydroponic supplies. As you might guess,
I've never done this before, but it would rule out if it is your soil,
or if you are overwatering (root rot).
Sounds like salt! hmmmmmmmmmm
You might shake up some soil with water, wait 24 hr for solids to
settle, and then filter the clear fluid into a glass jar, and then let
the water evaporate. If you have salts, you'll see them.
That's a pretty small garden. it's almost an entire sq. ft. ;O)
Double digging is digging a trench in the garden. Then you dig the
trench again. The material that came out the first time goes in first,
and that is covered with the soil that came out the second time. The
idea is to increase the area in which the roots can grow easily. This is
done for the entire garden.
Not to worry, you can catch it on the way out.
Lightly indeed. Alfalfa meal can fry a plant just as effectively as
So everything else grows OK, it's just the tomatoes that you have the
It's recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly before touching any
non-diseased plant, and sterilize any tools that have been in contact
with the diseased soil. You don't want to spread that <bad word> around.
the worst thing is to win the first outing
at a casino...
yeah... i have that problem too in places.
i've made progress over the past few years.
one garden last year had zero worms when tested
(pile organic materials on top, water, wait a few
days, see what's in there). i added worm poo and
worms to it when planting the tomatoes in there
last year (down fairly deep in that clay too, heavy
digging). this spring i had a wheelbarrow full of
bark pieces and wood chips and no place to put them
quickly so i dumped them in the middle of that
garden. today i finally was able to check it out
and see if there were any worms in or under that
pile and there was. i was surprised as i didn't
see them other places i'd done the same treatment.
only thing i can figure is that garden didn't get
so heavily flooded last summer and also had a
little more organic material in it to start.
the journey continues... :)
somehow i have to convince Ma that refuges are
good things to have in each garden.
i'm not sure what the problem is, it might still
be a combination of things. irrigation in sandy
soil may not be enough when it gets really hot.
that first season may have been cooler. etc.
unlikely... (i think he'd see signs of
that in the rest of the garden plants, especially
after 8 years of irrigation)
note that double digging generally does NOT
recommend switching soil layers. nor do i.
i only recommend it when there is a problem and
a reset of the soil community may help (along
with using fresh compost and worms along with
other appropriate amendments).
i also use it as a learning about the soil
observational thing. if i'm putting work into
a garden i want to know what i'm dealing with.
i don't double dig every year. only new gardens
and other gardens i'm burying things deeply in
and once in a while test trenches to see how
things are going. for the heavy clay here it's
way too much work to double dig a whole garden
that often. not when we have several thousand
sqft of gardens.
no tilling. not anymore if i can help it.
using a shovel and leaving larger clumps destroys
much less of the soil community. i only break
clumps on the surface if the seed bed needs a
finer grain (and only in the planting rows and
not the whole garden). saves a lot of work too
not having to break all that up.
see below (not done when planting, but before).
i think so, but there was some talk about bell
peppers being too thin walled (could be a timing
thing or lack of nutrients or ...).
using a word like "wilt" is too general. in all
of the disease of tomato keys there are more than
one "wilt"s, there are: bacterial, viral and
in your disease identification process have you
had the same diagnosis each year? pictures?
records? written down the name of the species?
ok. good to know.
for a test it's fine. use bottled spring water
if that sounds better (the label of the bottled
spring water i can get locally for cheap is sourced
from a municiple water supply in Columbus Ohio of
all places. doesn't sound like a spring to me, but
oh well... (bad puns alert :) )).
what i'm trying to figure out from that test is
if your light and watering habits will support
tomato life apart from the system you have in
the gardens. the combination of soils/water/diseases
and potentially irrigation system aren't working for
tomatoes, so perhaps moving that one crop to large
potted containers is the answer. if the test grows
fine, then you can switch to tap water after a
while and see what happens. if that works then
you will likely have some kind of crop from that
setup and we've sidestepped the larger garden
problem for now and gotten you a tomato to finish.
next year you can then do the same thing with
tomatoes in large containers, but add a test of
using a few containers in combination with lake
water. if those do poorly or well that answers
a question, but perhaps it will take more than a
single season for the lake water to have the
negative effect. so it's not a conclusive test
by far, but it continues to gain information you
didn't have before.
some people can grow some things and not
ah, see this is another wider system diagnostic.
but perhaps you are in an area where worms
are not native. i don't know.
can you find a local master gardener who
has a good knowlege of the area? they should
know. if the answer is that there should be
worms about then it's a good indication you
are doing things to your soil which isn't
if you haven't gotten a certain id of the
problem then we could be wasting time. use
google and do a search on "tomato wilt" and
then use the site that comes up from any
university that (Cornell's seems to be decent)
will let you work on identifying the culprit.
if it is an actual disease and not a part of
the physical set up. that is the complexity
of your situation is that we still aren't sure
if it is a general wilt from having sandy soil
and not enough moisture holding capacity of
the garden (so the plants can't keep up with
the heat of the summer and just collapse) or
if it is a disease. or the pH is too low or ...
note also that there is a pretty good list of
different varieties to try. most of them i've
never heard of. :)
it is a method of digging down two layers.
what it does is let you examine the soil
structure other than the top few inches
you might see when planting or weeding.
the other point is that it lets you see
if there are worms and drainage down
deeper, how dry the soil is, if there
are any layers which might be limiting the
root growth (if your tomatoes can't get
roots down very deep because there is a
hard sandy layer (common in some areas)
then they could be wilting because of the
heat and lack of water along with other
generally, it's a practice that few do
these days (it's a lot of work :) ), but it
gives you a chance to observe the soil you
are depending upon for growing something.
i recommend it as a test trench across a
garden every so many feet just to make sure
the soil is not different. you take the
top layer of soil off, set it to the side
and then dig another layer from underneath
that and put it to the other side. if you
are reversing soil layers then you bury
the one with the other, and if not, vice-versa.
as a method to isolate diseased soil from
plants it can also be useful. in that you
can dig a fairly deep trench and bury the
infected topsoil (reducing disease causing
organisms that come in contact with plants).
by changing the environment of the disease
organisms it can also help moderate them
(some don't like lower oxygen levels, others
do better down deeper (some fungi don't do
all that good up top, etc.).
it's like hitting a major catastrophe switch
for the soil community. so not recommended
if you already have healthy garden soil, but
unlikely to hurt if you have a rather troubled
garden. if you reverse soil layers and then
add compost from a known good source to the
top layer (after the switch is done) then you've
pretty much started a whole different garden
system. add a bit more organic material, some
clay, some lime, mix, water and plant and you
might find that certain crops improve. if you
can find native earth worms. harvest some of
those (keep a separate bin of them that can't
be raided by animals and then you can use these
as a supplement too) and add them. use a light
top mulch (once the soil warms up especially
where you are growing peppers/tomatoes/eggplant/
i also use deep trenches to bury plant debris.
instead of throwing useful material away, i let
the fungi, worms, and other soil critters have
at it, eventually it gets turned into plant
almost every garden i do these days is in
heavy soil so they can all use more organic
matter and better drainage. some of these
gardens are also in flood prone areas. if
i can bury several inches of chunks of wood
under there then that helps lift these gardens
above the likely flood stage. over time that
woody material gets digested and has to be
replaced, but in heavy clay that can last a
fairly long time (it turns into peat-like
material and acts as a worm refuge during the
hot parts of the summer and the really cold
parts of winter).
good test too.
it's a pretty limited diet. i know kids who
were raised on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs
but eventually they figured out they like to eat
other things too. i've even seen them eat a
Billy pokes me about alfalfa meal being a hot
agent, but my whole comment includes the fact that
this should be done some time in advance (if you are
mixing it in the top few inches of soil).
after reading more i see there are alfalfa related
diseases so perhaps better to avoid alfalfa unless
run through a hot compost pile or through worm
composting. i haven't seen any problems yet using
green manures so they are what i consider the best
ok. but keep at it. learn how to make a
well balanced compost and your garden will
be helped by that. if you don't add some clay
then it will get used up fairly quickly (an inch
or more per season would not be uncommon) that's
a lot of compost. just using it once and saying
it didn't help is probably also common. add some
larger pieces of wood chips, add some clay and
give the pile some green stuff of varied kinds
and over the longer term your garden soil will
improve and like i've already said too you can
use some lime and that will give worms a chance
to stick around.
i mean, during the growing season, not just
the black plastic through the winter.
no problem, i'm not on a schedule here. :)
I've been mixing up in a spray bottle 2T of molasses, 2T organic liquid
seaweed fertizer, and about 1T+/- of Epsom Salts pre-disolved in warm water
added to this mixture... then I fill the bottle with rain water or tap water
if I have no rain water. I've been spraying that mixture 1 time a week on
everything that I have planted. Cukes, tomatoes of various types, melons,
jalopeno peppers, and habanero's. I did the same thing with my peas, but it
burned a few pea leaves. I ended up pulling up my peas anyway because they
didn't like where I planted them and I replaced them with pole limas that
have broken ground over the weekend. Everything else I sprayed that mixure
on is growing like crazy and my peppers have nice big blooms on them now. I
even sprayed it on a kumquat tree that I overwintered indoors and had just
put outside. It was dropping leaves and a couple branches died back, but
now even my kumquat is growing like a weed!
This is the first time I've opted for mixing this combo of organic fertizers
and hand spraying them every week, so it's an experiment for me this year,
but seems to be working out so far.
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