TZ -OH6
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Salty fertilizer is better

I do love a good attention grabbing headline, LOL.

Arguements about inorganic fertilizers being SALT and all salts are poisonous to plants, all life on Earth, etc are not unusual when the topic of inorganic fertilizers comes up. I just saw a ranting post last week on another forum that was so out of left field and vehement that I think it made even the organic growers looking at it and shake their heads. It made me think of this study, which I just again stumbled upon today.


Anyway, here is an interesting study/report that shows there is more to the picture than just good and bad.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428092116.htm


The context is that irrigating with diluted seawater can increase the nutritional content of tomatoes. This is good for places where seawater is available, and this is good for greenhouses wanting to make a buck selling more nutritional tomatoes. This is extra good for developing countries where malnutrition is a problem. Arid places without enough rain to flush salts out of the soil will still have problems with salt buildup stunting growth, so flooding the fields with seawater may not be the best thing for those places.


I have seen "Old Timey Wisdom" suggest putting a couple of tablespoons of table salt in the planting hole to increase the flavor of tomatoes, so there is probably some truth to that, but the flavor of my tomatoes is so variable for other reasons that I doubt it would matter enough for me to do it. I have enough snow and rain here that the salt would wash out of the soil before next season so that is not a concern for me. I also adhere to traditional American eating habits (too much) so avoiding malnutrition is not high on my to-do list. Eating one less Twinkie, bag of potato chips, etc boosts the nutritional content of my diet so I'm not rushing out to micro manipulate the nutrient levels of my tomatoes.


There is also the question as to whether or not it is the sodium or the trace minerals in seawater that make the difference (probably some of both). Table salt does not have the trace minerals that sea salt does. I do not know about the trace minerals in the rock salt that you would use to de-ice your driveway, but I would tend to use that before using my box of Mortons. I certainly would not use my expensive gourmet sea salt.

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applestar
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Hey this is an interesting point, and maybe worthwhile to note if you have access to washed-up-on-the-beach seaweed to use as fertilizer. Maybe it's not as necessary to "rinse thoroughly" to wash off the seawater/salt as is often recommended when you consider that you would most likely be doing the rinsing with chlorinated/chemically treated municipal water.... 8)

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Duh_Vinci
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An interesting read TZ, thanks for posting!

Regards,
D

TZ -OH6
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Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

I found another interesting article along the same lines. Old time Jersey Tomatoes possibly tasted better than their modern counter part bacause of the sodium in the Chilean salt peter fertilizer used at that time. To test the theory the researchers dumped seawater on their garden and got better tasting tomatoes.



https://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/reprint/69/4/966.pdf

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