I’m starting to see little yellow flowers on my tomato plants, so it’s time to get out the Epsom salts and fertilizer so I’ll have tons of delicious tomatoes in a few weeks.
Why Epsom salts, you might ask. Epsom salts improve flower blooming and enhance a plant’s green color. It is made of hydrated magnesium sulfate which is important to healthy plant growth. Magnesium helps plants take up valuable nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Plant leaves green up because magnesium helps create chlorophyll.
Apply Epsom salts as a folliar spray after the first bloom and fruit set. Add one tablespoons of Epsom salts to one gallon of water and spray the entire plant.
Magnesium is not the only nutrient tomatoes need though. They also need Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). Whether you use a granular or liquid fertilizer is a matter of preference, but you might want to use organic fertilizers on your food crops. For tomatoes, fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous and potassium is recommended.
Finding the right fertilizer can be challenging as each producer seems to have a different ratio of N-P-K. Try different ones till you find what works best for your plants or check out what gardeners online are using. Always follow the makers recommendations for how much and how often to use.
Granular fertilizers dissolve slowly and provide a steady stream of nutrients. Spread them around the base of the plant a little away from the stem, scratch into the soil, and follow with a good watering.
Liquid fertilizers like fish emulsion or powders you add to water are good to drench the soil. Be sure to follow recommendations on the bottle or box for frequency.
Worm Castings work wonders for vegetable plants as they are organic and produced by earthworms. Basically worm manure, worm castings improve soil aeration and drainage as well as increase water retention. They contain all the essential nutrients that plants need in addition to enriching the soil.
Other Manures – Chicken and horse manure (usually mixed with straw or hay and well composted) work wonders for plants and soil. Be sure it is not fresh as it could burn the plants.