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Epsom Salts in the Garden

Does Using Epsom Salts in the Garden Actually Help?

The use and history of Epsom Salts

Most people will have heard of Epsom Salts, but not sure of its history and application in the garden.

Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate, MgSO4) provide a rapid cure for magnesium deficiency in plants. Magnesium is vital for the production of chlorophyll - without which plant foliage will turn brown and wither. Luckily, most soils contain enough natural magnesium for this not to be a problem.

However, tomatoes, roses, brassicas and primula can be susceptible to this deficiency. The early symptoms of the problem is a yellowing between the veins on older leaves. Epsom Salts provide a simple and very effective remedy, as well as encouraging new, vibrant and strong foliage. Apply as soon as the problem is spotted. Either work into the soil as a base dressing or, dissolve the salts in water and apply directly to the leaves with a sprayer or watering can.

The history of Epsom salts: Epsom salt is named after the English town in which it was discovered, where it bubbled up in water from an underground spring in the early 17th century. The summer of 1618 saw England gripped by drought, but as Henry Wicker, a local cowherd, walked across Epsom Common, he came across a pool of water from which his thirsty cattle refused to drink. The water tasted bitter and on evaporation yielded a salt which had a remarkable effect: it was a laxative. This became the famous Epsom’s salts and a treatment for constipation for the next 350 years.

‘Epsom Salts’ is available from the Tettenhall Gardening Club Trading Hut, in boxes of 1.25Kg.

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