A Bigger, Better Tomato Plant

Planting Tomatoes on their sideWith the garden finally planted, and the weeding underway, I finally have time to post about how I’ve been planting my tomato plants the past few years.

I first like to cut off the first few stems from the bottom of the plant.  This is the entire area I will bury, leaving a few top stems peeking through the soil.

 

Planting Tomatoe Plants with Epsom SaltAfter digging a hole, I place 2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt at the bottom of it.  Epsom Salt acts as a natural fertilizer and contains the magnesium; a nutrient that tomatoes, peppers, and roses need in high levels.

Magnesium is often lacking in older soils and some of the deficiency symptoms include:

  • Yellowing of leaves between the veins
  • Leaf curling
  • stunted growth
  • Lack of sweetness

 

I was noticing some of these with my plants a few years ago and decided to give this a try. I was pretty happy with the results last year.  I found the tomatoes had a rich green color, yielded more fruit, and were much taller than in previous years.

Healthy Tomato Plants
Healthy Tomato Plants

After the first application, I applied a weekly solution throughout the season, diluting 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt with a gallon of water.  There is some debate with home gardeners as to whether the Epsom salt should be applied directly to the soil around the plant or sprayed onto the leaves.  When applied directly to the soil, the mixture works its way down to the roots, where it competes with other nutrients.  When applied, by spray, to the leaves, it is said to absorb more directly into the plant.  I think I will try both methods on different plants this year to see if there’s a difference.

To learn more about the science of Epsom Salt in gardening, I found this article from The National Gardening Association, pretty helpful.

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