( Post Updated – Mar 23, 2020 )
There is no doubt that growing tomatoes could be beneficial to the growers in more ways than one. However, there are many ways used for growing tomato plants.
Many gardeners are comfortable following their own tested and tried method which they believe will help them to grow the best of tomatoes. There are many stories doing the rounds about the right way of growing tomatoes.
Some even suggest growing it with banana peels, Epsom salts or eggshells. Though you may be doing it, you may not be sure as to why these things are recommended.
There are quite good reasons for adding these additives to aid in your tomato plant growth.
Eggshells are rich in calcium and banana peels are known to have potassium and nitrogen.
Epsom salt also contains magnesium which is very important for the healthy growth of the plant.
However, as far as Epsom salt is concerned there is quite a bit of misinformation surrounding it. Hence, it would be useful to learn about the facts as to what Epsom salt can do for the growth of tomato plants.
Some Known Facts
Epsom salt is basically a mineral compound that occurs naturally. It is made of sulfate and magnesium. It is often recommended for relief against symptoms of cold, medicated salves and also for muscles that are sore.
Many gardeners recommend the use of Epsom salts for better growth of tomato plants because it is supposed to improve flavor, health, and vigor of tomatoes.
While these are some known facts about Epsom salts there are also some unsubstantiated claims about it which we need to understand the keep in mind while growing tomato plants.
Is It For Real?
There are some myths surrounding the use of Epsom salt for tomato plant growth. Hence it is important to separate the truth from fiction.
There are studies to prove that the use of Epsom salt could be damaging the overall garden results rather than benefiting it. It is a fact that magnesium and sulfur in Epsom salt could be important for proper health and growth of tomato plants.
Further, there are a few micronutrients in Epsom salt which could help in protein synthesis, photosynthesis, and also for the cell wall structure. Hence under certain conditions, Epsom salt usage in tomato plants could be beneficial.
But it would be wrong to give a blanket nod for the use of Epsom salt in the garden. This is not right and such liberal use could cause more harm than good.
Here are some claims pertaining to Epsom salt when used on tomato plants which basically are myths and unfounded claims not exactly backed by research, facts, and figures.
Does Epsom Salt Stop Blossom End Rot?
No, it does not. Blossom end rot has got nothing to do with the use of Epsom salt. It is more of a disorder that is induced because of stress.
It also has nothing to do with the deficiency of nutrients in the soil and adding Epsom salt will hardly make any difference. But magnesium could certainly help in better uptake of calcium and it will help in a better quality of tomato plants and tomato fruits.
Therefore in case of calcium deficiency or if the pH is not best suited for calcium uptake, Epsom salt could actually lead to a situation where tomatoes rot as far as blossom ends are concerned. But there are hardly any reasons to believe that Epsom salt on its own would be able to prevent blossom end rot.
Will Epsom Salt Make Tomatoes Sweet?
Perhaps yes. Epsom salt does have useful micronutrients and sulfur. A healthy supply of micronutrients in the soil does have a role to play in the growth of tomatoes which are full of flavor.
If your soil is deficient in micronutrients, adding Epsom salt could improve the quantity of magnesium and sulfur which could help in better impact in improving the flavor of tomatoes. However, in case the soil is deficient in different types of micronutrients then going in for a balanced fertilizer usage could be a better choice.
Depending on Epsom salt alone may not be able to provide the right answer to the problem.
Should Tomatoes Be Fertilized With Epsom Salts?
This is not recommended. Though Epsom does have two vital micronutrients, there are various other micronutrients that are also important and these include phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Hence it would be wrong to substitute these regular micronutrients with Epsom salt alone.
You would do much better to go in for a complete and total solution to the problem and look for fertilizers that are complete and wholesome in nature. Piecemeal approaches using Epsom salt may not be able to bring in the desired results.
Will Epsom Salt Help In Fighting Yellowing Of Tomato Plant Leaves?
It might because deficiency of magnesium could lead to yellowing of tomato leaves. But this will work only when the deficiency is caused because of magnesium.
Otherwise, it would be better to go in for organic fertilizer that is more balanced which would certainly yield much better results.
In fact, there are some studies that have proven that indiscriminate use of Epsom salt to fight yellowing of tomato plants could damage the entire crop and could create big problems rather than solutions.
Does Epsom Salt Work As A Natural Pest Control?
There are some stories and claims which talk about the ability of Epsom salt to deter the growth of various garden pests such as beetles and slugs. There are claims that Epsom salt could also kill slugs.
While this could have been great news, pest control solutions are not so easily forthcoming. It always is better to remove pests by hand and the use of organic deterrents such as pesticides and neem oil could be better options.
While there are certainly some important nutrients in Epsom salt, it cannot be considered as a miracle cure for all problems of tomato plant growth that are related to pests and availability of the right micronutrients.