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Gary350
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What is Epson Salts good for?

I have a gallon container of epson salts what is this stuff good for?

DoubleDogFarm
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Soak your feet in it, but keep it out of my garden. :P :lol:

Adds magnesium sulfate to the soil.


Eric

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Epsom's salts = magnesium sulfate.

Magnesium is a minor nutrient behind calcium in how much a plant needs. It helps the overall functioning of the plant and is a part of chlorophyll (similar to the way iron is part of our blood)... mid to late season some plants may start to show signs of magnesium deficiency so an application at 1-3 tsp per gallon water is usual. Epsom' salts will also add sulfur to the soil and make your onions hotter. If you add too much to the soil the magnesium can screw up the plant's ability to take in potassium and calcium, but it leaches out of the soil pretty quickly in wet climates, and unlike most nutrients the plant can stockpile it within the cells.

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hendi_alex
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Any time I have a sore that starts to fester or starts to look angry, out comes the epsom's salt. A good soaking in a mild solution usually for one day, occasionally two and the injury turns to healing so quickly it is almost like a miracle cure. The best darn home remedy that I've ever seen!

Far as the garden, I never use it there.
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stella1751
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On another thread, I've been researching an answer to why Epsom Salts works as a cure for BER, but I haven't heard back from my source yet. However, I found several great threads online that tout Epsom Salts' abilities to 1) strengthen plant cell walls, 2) improve the plant's ability to take in nutrients, 3) improve seed germination, photosynthesis, and the formation of fruits and seeds. (This all came from [url=https://gardening.about.com/od/organicgardenin1/f/Epsom_Salts.htm]GardeningAbout.com[/url])

[url=https://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/fertilizing-your-organic-garden.html]Dummies.com[/url] says that tomatoes, peppers, and roses especailly benefit from Epsom Salts, and that it is said to make tomatoes sweeter tasting.

Following is an article from a website called [url=https://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7802782/benefits_of_organic_gardening_with.html?cat=32]Yahoo Associated Content[/url]. Pretty interesting stuff! (Terrible writing, though, which costs the author in terms of credibility :roll: )
Epsom salt is one of the most used substances when it comes to organic gardening. It is becoming increasingly popular amongst many gardening enthusiasts because of the beneficial properties that it contains. This substance has been proven as one of the cheaper alternatives to use in organic gardening and is beneficial for many different reasons for both indoor plants and outdoor plants. Here are some of the benefits of organic gardening with Epsom salt that can be achieved.

The benefits of organic gardening with Epsom salts allows for more greener and healthier plants and soils. Because of the ingredients of magnesium and sulfate within this Epsom salt, the plant is able to absorb its nutrients better from the soil that it is planted in. Epsom salt works like a fertilizer, it enhances the garden areas where applied and can also make the plants live longer and healthier.

The benefits of organic gardening with Epsom salts can also help to assist with seed germination. It can help to make the plant cell walls stronger which is beneficial for the plant to receive essential nutrients when feeding. Proper photosynthesis can be achieved as well because of the magnesium within the salt, and it is also said that the use of this mineral brings on more flowers per plant that was planted with this salt.

The benefits of organic gardening with Epsom salts also include better life expectancy of plants with improved health with the use of the sulfate that is mixed with the magnesium. This sulfate also helps in the plant producing more chlorophyll, and works with the magnesium as a full nourishment boost for better and greener plant life.

This salt can be mixed with a ratio of 2 tablespoons to one gallon of water and can be added to a potted plant's soil allowing it to seep in slowly. This mixture can be substituted for the normal watering routine that is done on the plants either weekly or monthly. Over time you should see an increase in the color of the plant and should also see better blooming rates and all round health.
I use it when I need it, if I think a plant has a calcium deficiency. I can't swear it works, but I feel pretty confident it does. I also occasionally put it in my compost tea.
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Scott Kessman?


Eric

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stella1751 wrote:On another thread, I've been researching an answer to why Epsom Salts works as a cure for BER, but I haven't heard back from my source yet. However, I found several great threads online that tout Epsom Salts' abilities to 1) strengthen plant cell walls, 2) improve the plant's ability to take in nutrients, 3) improve seed germination, photosynthesis, and the formation of fruits and seeds.
.
My dad always puts Epsom salts in the ground with the compost when he plants his tomatos. (just about a tablespoon full or so.)
He seems to find the info you quoted to be true...
Life is great..... but if you get lemons - compost them :-)
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I understand that many people do not put much stock in the work of academics/scientists when confronted with statements lit this.

"There is little research to prove conclusively that Epsom salts have any effect on plants,..." followed by this "However, experienced gardeners have been swearing by Epsom salts for years, and folk wisdom is often ahead of scientific study."


Please see this

https://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/magazine%20pdfs/EpsomSalts.pdf

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stella1751
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TZ -OH6 wrote:I understand that many people do not put much stock in the work of academics/scientists when confronted with statements lit this.

"There is little research to prove conclusively that Epsom salts have any effect on plants,..." followed by this "However, experienced gardeners have been swearing by Epsom salts for years, and folk wisdom is often ahead of scientific study."


Please see this

https://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/magazine%20pdfs/EpsomSalts.pdf
I saw this one when I was researching Epsom Salts, TZ, but it was the only naysayer out of dozens of advocates. Even Colorado State University, the big Ag college in my area, recommended them, albeit in relation to PH levels.

I suspect Epsom Salts belongs in the realm of likes and dislikes, sort of like the pro-compost faction that maintains nothing else is needed to amend soil and the pro-amendment faction that maintains compost is only one of many amendments one should add to the soil. If you like Epsom Salts and have had good results with them, then it's a matter of preferences to continue to use them. I've seen only positive effects from their use; others oppose them.

I've yet to see an argument, however, that maintains they are harmful to the plant. Arguments against them seem to rely solely on a failure to perceive any beneficial chemical interaction or reaction.

Too many websites say that they improve the plant's ability to uptake nutrients for me to ignore their potential. Some take this one step further, saying this is because of their effect on cell wall development. I suspect that's the reason they work on BER: they improve the plant's ability to process calcium.

I'm an Epsom Salts fan :clap:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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I Googled "epsoms salt cell walls" and had several hits on gardening sites and blogs that all had nearly the exact same wording for a general statement about how wonderful Epsom salts were.

"In general, magnesium plays a role in strengthening the plant cell walls, allowing the plant to take in the nutrients it needs. It also aids in seed germination, photosynthesis and in the formation of fruits and seeds."
https://gardening.about.com/od/organicgardenin1/f/Epsom_Salts.htm

But the Epsom Salts Council, although touting numerous benefits to plants, omits anything about cell walls.

https://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/garden_benefits.htm

Looking for some specifics, I Googled "magnesium cell walls" and got a few hits for bacterial cell walls, which are chemically different from plant cell walls.

I googled "calcium cell walls" and got inundated with a lot of specific info about plant cell walls such as this

https://employees.csbsju.edu/ssaupe/biol327/lecture/cell-wall.htm

which does not mention magnesium at all.

The Colorado State U. sites I found talk about magnesium deficient acid soils in eastern Colorado. They also state that Epsoms salts are useless in alkaline Colorado soils. In either case there is relatively low precipitation and the salts can stay in the soils longer before they leach out. In wetter climates the magnesium would quickly leach out, which is why people use foliar application. The acid soils in those areas would benefit more from slow release dolomite in most cases.

https://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Soil/epsom.htm

https://fortcollinsnursery.com/fcn-blog/gardening-and-epsom-salts/

https://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1601.html

I don't dispute the fact that plants function much better with adequate magnesium especially where energy transfer concerned is but there is no scientific evidence that it is directly associated with strengthening cell walls.

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Google is acceptable for casual research. Regarding Epsom Salts in particular, I found two highly reputable universities on Google that maintained it would raise pH and two that said it had nothing to do with pH levels. I also found one university, the University of Maryland, that said it would sweeten melons :lol:

I went to my college's databases for research articles. "Relationships among Chloroplast Pigments Concentration and Chlorophyllmeter Readings in Soybean under Influence of Foliar Magnesium Application," published in Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, concludes with the following: "One treatment with Epsom salt was enough for significant positive effect on grain yield in both years." The rest of the article was all Greek to me.

The abstract for "IMPACT OF PRE-PLANT ROOT SUBSTRATE AMENDMENTS ON SOILLESS SUBSTRATE EC, pH, AND NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY," published in the same periodical, reads as follows:
Pre-plant root substrate amendments have a great impact on the
soluble salt level of plug seedling substrates. Nine common preplant
amendments alone and a typical commercial combination of
some of these showed that the greatest contributors to seedling
substrate (2 sphagnum peat moss: 1 perlite: 1 vermiculite by
volume) electrical conductivity (EC) level were gypsum, calcium
nitrate, and potassium nitrate. Moderate contributions were
realized from triple superphosphate, Epsom salt, and two
commercial micronutrient mixes. The salt contributions from
dolomitic limestone and wetting agent were small and of little
commercial concern.
Finally, in a magazine called Ground Maintenance, author Mark Weterlen writes, "[Y]ou can use Epsom salt as a soil amendment to correct poor infiltration rates in certain situations." He also writes that the Epsom Salt Industry Council says it can be used to get "rid of racoons" :shock:

Oh. Here's the article I was talking about from [url=https://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1601.html]CSU[/url].

I found nothing scholastic on the cell walls. I suspect that reference was from a study done too long ago to be in the college's databases. I can search some more, though. I only used one database service, and it wasn't one specific to agriculture.

Again, it comes down to preferences. As I mentioned previously, I use it to treat BER and occasionally in my compost tea. I haven't used it yet this year, but I probably will if I feel like experimenting later in the season while making compost tea. Or if I have a raccoon problem 8)
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TZ -OH6
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I have found lead is good to get rid of racoons. :lol:

pickupguy07
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TZ -OH6 wrote:I have found lead is good to get rid of racoons. :lol:
yep.. lead works for crows too..
(and my neighbors loose chickens)
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I use a small amount of magnesium sulfate in foliar sprays several times on my peppers over the course of the summer. I've been doing so for more than 30 years. My pepper plants (32 hot varieties, one of each, and 28 sweet, 6 varieties) do extremely well. They are grown in raised beds with lots of compost so probably they don't need extra MgSo4. However after so many years of having great pepper success, and even though I spent my professional life as a biologist and should be open to running a controlled experiment, I do the same thing each year because it's hard to change something that seems to work. Plus, the 5 lb container I have of it will last me at least two more lifetimes.
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TZ -OH6 wrote:"There is little research to prove conclusively that Epsom salts have any effect on plants,..." followed by this "However, experienced gardeners have been swearing by Epsom salts for years, and folk wisdom is often ahead of scientific study."
Scientist seem to pay very little attention to what other say and do they only go by what they learn from research. In 1977 it was published in a scientific report that scientest had learned, there is only 1 Star in the North Sky, the North Star. The Bible says that, it was witten 2000 years ago. A lot of studies have come out over the years about how wine is good for your health. The most recent medical information about wine is, alcohol has the ability to clean your blood. The liver can matabolize 1/4 to 1/3 ounce of alcohol per hour. The alcohol has the ability to flush all the bad stuff from the blood as the alcohol is removed by the liver. The Bible says, Take a little wine for the stomach.

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Yes, we scientists tend to only go by research results because we understand the pitfalls of doing it a differnt way.

The scientific method is designed to test in such a way to eliminate and disprove (never to prove) so that that any possitive results can only come from the single factor being tested. That being said, folk wisdom is the source of ideas to be tested. An example is new plants to be tested for drugs based on folk medicine in the tropics. However, without the scientific method doctors would still be bleeding people who had the flue.

If someone says that they put epsom's salts on their plants and saw a result, I can name a handfull of variables that could have caused the same thing. The other variables have to be canceled out to know if it really was the epsom's salt. The next step is to understand the mechanism. How does it bring about the result?

The other day a one legged vulture* flew over the house and the TV flickered so it must be cause and effect? Primitive societies would stop right there and make the vulture an omen (i.e. eagle with snake in its mouth), especially if the high priest witch doctor had an agenda and could use it to gain power or make a buck....wasn't the second coming supposed to happen a month or two ago?

Scientific method... fly the vulture over the house again, if the same thing happens in exactly the same way every time, then fly the vulture over someone elses house, and also get a differnt vulture to fly over the first house. Repeat this many times. It may be that the one house had some weird electrical thing where a 5 lb mass of water at that location in the air blocked the TV signal (similar to holding onto the TV antenna while standing on a chair to get a signal). If it happened at every house where the one legged vulture flew over (but not a two legged vulture) it's time to test other one legged vultures....

The biggest problem with the public's view of science is that the press wants everything to be black and white and sensational so if a scientist publishes in a scientific journal that they have a signal that might be consistent with water on one of Jupiter's moons the popular press turns it into "possible life on Jupiter". From that point on few people go back to the original source. Popular writers/reporters are almost never experts in the field that they are writing about so they present whatever they run across from whatever sources they find to get their work done and move on to the next topic. They aren't as bad as advertizers, but almost.

Science is all about skeptisism, to even get your research results published the work has to be critically reviewed by three other anonymous and non afilliated experts in the field to ensure that your methods were adequate and that your conclusions followed from the data. They go into the process looking to tear the work apart so rarely does crap get through the process.

In the BER sticky I have linked and discussed a paper that reviews every scientific study of Blossom End Rot. I suspect that most people skip over that part and go down to where someone says "I've been gardening for 50 years and put a chicken bone in the planting hole the same way my great grandmother did and I have never had BER".



*The vulture was more lame than one legged. He had both leggs but one wasn't woring very well.

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I've heard the same thing about Epsom salts and cell-walls. I'm starting to think that this is something that was published long ago and has since been perpetuated. Even at it's publishing, it may have only been, like TZ illustrates, a hypotheses that wast gradually perpetuated to be fact.

Also, since it's a salt, wouldn't that have an adverse effect on the microbiology in the soil like osmotic shock?
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TZ, I would kill the vulture and remove the cell phone or LED watch that is clearly in its gullet :lol:

You are definitely onto something with your explanation of the scientific method. We are both committing the logical fallacy known as the appeal to ignorance. You maintain that because no scientific study exists linking Epsom Salts to the prevention of BER, Epsom Salts must not work in the prevention of BER. (I do believe the same argument was made 500 years ago regarding the dimensions of the earth :lol: ) Someone who grows many tomatoes and does occasionally encounter BER should set up a control group and an experiment group to determine whether or not Epsom Salts does help.

I, a creative type, maintain that, because I once had BER, used Epsom Salts to prevent further incidents of the malady, and enjoyed success, Epsom Salts must work for this purpose. There was no control or experimental group in the application, and I've only had BER once in 20 years of gardening. My claim is equally irrational. Nevertheless, I know that, should it happen again, I will run to my Epsom Salts for a cure, and I know that I will continue to recommend it because it did work for me.

However, until a well-conducted study concludes that there is a benefit to its application for the prevention of BER, Espom Salts cannot be definitively said to work.

I think it does, though :twisted:
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I have used a one time watering with aweak Epsom salt solution for the seed geraniums I start in my greenhouse.
Geraniums are heavy feeders and need extra Mg to prevent lower leaves from falling off. our well water has low overall Ca and Mg levels. now I have specific fertilizer for this problem.

Glad to see that Epsom salts are now consideteed part of organic gardening.

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stella1751 wrote:You maintain that because no scientific study exists linking Epsom Salts to the prevention of BER, Epsom Salts must not work in the prevention of BER.
Actually I think he's asserting only that there's no proof of its efficacy.

As the old saw goes, absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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