I think this is one of the reasons why I love gardening. It's never the same every year. One year my tomato plants were attacked by hornworm caterpillars. The next my cucumbers were assaulted by stink bugs. This year, one of my many tomato plants has blossom end rot.
I've never used Epsom salts, and I always thought that Epsom salts were for the very elderly, and they just soaked their feet in it. Why? No idea. It's one of those items that's been around since the beginning of time, so that generation learned how to use items for multiple uses (it was the Depression after all)
A quick google search lead me to this article with 20 different personal uses for Epsom salts! I had no idea about some of these. Our bodies even have deficiencies of magnesium and sulfate, so when absorbed through the skin, it can help heal a ton of ailments. Things like pain, cramping, tension (to help with muscle and nerve functioning), and even helping to regulate blood sugar! If you take it orally, it can help relieve constipation (but I'd ask your doctor before taking on a new regimen). You can see the whole article here.
But that's all medical, so why would I use it in the garden? Apparently I need to be using it. Plants that are heavy feeders will take all of the magnesium out of the soil. My assistant said there's an old gardener in her hometown that puts a teaspoon of Epsom salts in each hole before he plants his plants and has gigantic plants each year. But what does it do?
How it was explained to me, is that Epsom salts main benefit is it helps the plant absorb nutrients from the soil. As the plant gets bigger, absorption begins to slow or stop, and by adding some epson salts to your water, it helps to revive that absorption again. There's a great article here that describes this.
My assistant uses it to stop blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is when you see the nice green tomatoes starting to grow on your plants, and when you go look at it next, it's all brown on the bottom (where the flower was, thus the name blossom end rot). The tomato is lost, but is the whole plant? Not necessarily. I learned that blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. But you can fertilize your plant, but if it's not absorbing it, it's not effective. By adding some Epsom salts to the water, the plant will start to absorb the nutrients again. New tomatoes should not have blossom end rot.
Do you have any gardening tips you'd like to share with us? Please email me or comment below and I'll be glad to share them with everyone!