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Seed Germination: Epsom salts and Seed starting mix

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hillabeans
Chaska, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 15, 2009
1:24 PM

Post #6269873

Hi all.
I rented some of Jerry Bakers videos on Net flix and I thought I might give some of his ideas a try this year. I know some of it is apparently very controvertial- according to some web searches I have done- but I thought I'd check here-
He recommends putting 2 TBSP of epsom salt and starting mix in a styro cup to start seeds. I am going to use my regular flats since I have them- but 2 TBSP- even for a 6or 8 oz styro seems ALOT. I was wondering if anyone used any epsom salt at all- and if so- in what ratio? any input would be great! Thanks
joannabanana
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

March 15, 2009
2:10 PM

Post #6270048

This is a wonderful site for info on using epsom salts in the garden. There are recommendations of how much to use for what (tabs on the left)

http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/garden_benefits.htm
2ndChance
Tempe, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 17, 2009
12:43 PM

Post #6279663

Nice site tip!
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 17, 2009
1:23 PM

Post #6279776

Last year I started all my plants inside in flats and they did wonderfully. I used peat pods and pro-mix mixed with a little sand that we purchased at a local seed company. I watered the soil before filling the cups with tea I made from cammomile tea bags. This helps prevent fungus from starting on the soil. I covered them until they sprouted and used lights. As soon as the babies hatched...I uncovered them and wa la! I kept them moist but not soggy and they set on their real leaves.I continued watering them with weak cammomile tea until planting and they loved it. I transplanted my extras in styrofoam cups with holes punched in the bottom before they set on their real leaves. It was easier and I found that I didn't disturb their "roots" by doing this. When planted them in the fields...I did try something that I researched online and it worked great! After digging my holes I dropped in about 2 Tablespoons of epsom salt and about the same of powdered milk. Yes...I did! I had problems with black rotting spots ruining my tomatoes from lack of calcium in the past but we didn't have any of those after doing this. It was extra work at planting but it was well worth the trouble. I'm sure there will be people that will probably not approve of my methods and I'm sure no expert but it worked great for me and I will do this from now on. This is only one of last years pics. I had over a thousand pepper and tomato plants of all kinds from all over the world that I collected seeds online all winter and raised, planted and shared with family, friends and churches for their needy families. We didn't sell one but we were richly rewarded in our hearts. I am busy growing my plants again this year only I doubled the lights and plants. I think with the economy like it is we need to do all we can to help our neighbors. Growing up in a middle class to poor dirt farmers family I still remember my up bringing and how hard my parents worked to raise five kids. I still live a modest life and am still middle class but I hope to honor my parents and leave my children and grandchildren something to think about when I'm gone.

This message was edited Mar 17, 2009 9:32 AM

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hillabeans
Chaska, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 17, 2009
1:40 PM

Post #6279833

Thanks, guys.
I did mix about 2/3 cup of epsom salt into a bag of mix. We'll see? I also sprayed with weak TEA, but I used the granules- like Jerry Baker had said- Bsetiawan- I have heard of the chamomile tea too- is that better than regular tea??? Wow- all I can say to 1000 plants is WOW- that is ALOT! I also plan on giving extras to the food shelf- But I wont have near that many!
I'll send pics as soon as I get some green!
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 17, 2009
1:48 PM

Post #6279867

Yes...from what I read it has to be chamomile tea. There is something about chamomile vs regular tea. I find it in the herb tea section of the grocery store. It usually has coupons inside the box so the next time I use them. This helps with the cost. Good Luck. I wish you well!

This message was edited Mar 17, 2009 9:59 AM
saanansandy
Sue, RI
(Zone 6a)

March 23, 2009
2:19 PM

Post #6307604

bsetiawan, when you placed the 2 tblsp of Epsom Salt and the 2 tblsp of powdered milk, did you mix it with dirt at the bottom of the hole or did you line the hole w/ this mixture? I was curious if it had direct contact with the roots or if there was a dirt barrier between. I have the black spotted problem w/ my tomatoes and peppers.

Thanks, Sue
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 23, 2009
3:39 PM

Post #6307925

If Epsom Salts & Powdered milk will prevent Blossom end rot-I'm using it! Last year for the first time ever, I had a terrible problem with BER- I had just made a new garden, and put a lot of rotted manure in it- I don't know if that was a factor or not- BER has so many causes- I will definitely try the Epsom salt & milk thing!
starlight1153
Seale, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 24, 2009
9:10 AM

Post #6311633

The epsopn salt I used but powedered milk. This is the first tiem I have even heard of such a suggestion. You would think once the milk was activated by the water that it would spoil in th eground?

You don't happen tto know how it works do ya?
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

March 24, 2009
9:42 AM

Post #6311670

Thanks besetiawan, I'm growing tomatoes for the 'community' garden to help out.
I did purchase some heirloom seeds and hope to keep seeds for next year from them. Is that a San Marzano tomato? I did get those seeds and am going to start them this week. Will try your cammomile tea for watering, and put in epsom salts for tomatoes.
Thanks for the hints. If you have any heirloom seeds for next year to share will give you some also...
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 24, 2009
3:34 PM

Post #6312817

saanansandy...sorry it took me a few days to get back to you..I've been transplanting my tomato and pepper babies and haven't had time to get online. LOL! Yes...I do mix the epsom salt and powdered milk with the soil in the bottom of the hole before planting the tomato plant. JoParrot...try it...it worked for us. We had always had a problem with end rot...last year after I researched for...ever...we thought it sounded nutty . We did it anyway out of desperation and it really did work for us. starlight1153...I don't think the powdered milk has to be activated. It is a source of calcuim and a lack of calcuim was our problem. No...I don't think it will spoil in the ground. I'm sure there are other ways to get the calcuim but this is our way. You only use a couple of spoonfuls and it is mixed with the soil. geraldine87...I'm so happy that you are growing tomatoes to share. We all need to help as much as we can. I believe that tomato is of San Marzano although I grow so many I wouldn't swear to it without checking my labels. I also had a problem last year with my ink fading off my labels. The only way I could tell some of my plants was that I pasted the pictures of my tomatoes to the envelopes when my seeds arrived. Last year we grew more than 1000 tomato and pepper plants and this year I have twice as many. I grow heirloom and hybrid in two different fields. I ordered my seed online from all over the world through the winter months. I love growing so many varieties and just watching how different they can be. I save seed from my favorites as there are so many I don't have the time to save them all. I usually just re-order gettting new varieties as there are so many once you start searching. You would not believe just how many varieties there are that I still don't have. If that isn't enough I've also started growing some flower seeds. Needless to say...I think i've about stretched myself thin.
starlight1153
Seale, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 24, 2009
11:38 PM

Post #6314791

Bsetwain. Do ya happen to have the name of the kind of powdere d milk ya buy?
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 25, 2009
12:05 AM

Post #6314905

I'm so happy to hear that others are planting for the needy. We've started that here at our food pantry, doing 5 gal buckets to be taken home to patios or fire escapes in the sun. Cucumbers do well that way, too, on a trellis, and bush green beans.

As it happens, I have a box of powdered milk in the back of my car (don't ask, haha). I'll be getting some epsom salts, too.


Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
1:00 AM

Post #6315171

If I remember correctly (and I may be wwaaaayyyy off here) the Epsom salts solve a Magnesium deficiency in the soil, which is also what causes the Blossom end rot, or maybe it's calcium ... which is what the powdered milk would cover? (Sorry, but it sounds gross!)

The Chamomile tea is an anti-fungal.
saanansandy
Sue, RI
(Zone 6a)

March 25, 2009
11:50 AM

Post #6316513

bsetiawan, thanks for the info. :-)
rtgardens
Clinton, IA

March 25, 2009
4:59 PM

Post #6317785

My question may have already been answered (sorry) I have a tendency to whip through some of the threads. Is the epsom salts/powdered milk just for tomatoes? How about the cammomile tea can I use this on my flower seeds for fungus prevention?
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
10:48 PM

Post #6319487

starlight1153...i just buy the cheapest powdered milk i can find. Usually Walmart or any store brand. I'm just after the calcium content not the brand name and I think it is so over priced anyway. Don't forget to add a little epson salt and mix it with the soil in the bottom of the planting hole. I don't use it until I plant outside. Pagancat...yes...I thought it sounded strange too...but after having tomatoes to rot on the plants every year...I was willing to give it a try. It worked for us and we filled my sisters pick-up truck full of boxes of beautiful tomatoes and peppers and sent them to the local churches and missions until frost along with loads of apples and other vegetables and fruits that we were blessed to have. Many hungry people were very happy, thankful and fed. rtgardens...I haven't used the epson salt and powdered milk on anything else ...so I don't know how it would do. I have in the past used a very weak epson salt solution to water flowers and they had many beautiful blooms. I don't know if that was the reason. I have always grown many flowers outside but this is my first year to actually start some more delicate flower seed under the lights inside. I did start them with the cammomile tea mixed into the soil before sowing my seeds and they are coming along great. I will post a couple of pictures as soon as I can get my husband to snap them for me. He thinks no one else can touch his precious camera> LOL! I haven't had any problems with fungus or wilt. Whether the cammomile tea is the reason I don't know. I'm not an expert ...I'm just a dirt farmer like my parents before me that loves to plant and watch things grow. I just found the info last year online after searching around and tried it. All I can say is that it worked for us where we live and with our soil. Whether it will work for anyone else is to be seen. I hope it helps ... I felt that it was worth the try. cathy4...I've grown a few things in buckets. With so many plants last year I had them everywhere. I had tomatoes in buckets tied to the rails of our carport that reached to the top. It was easier than walking to the fields everytime I wanted a tomato. I've grown peppers and cucumbers that way also with wire tied to let them run. I've never planted beans in buckets as we plant them in fields...but if I didn't have the space I'd try it. Cleaning up around here in the fall is a job but I live so far back into the mountains that very few people see my gardens anyway and it's just a few months. We actually just started doing this for fun and as you can tell...it's gotten a "little" out of hand...he he he. We're getting to old for it to last much longer but we will continue as long as we can which I doubt with be many more seasons. Our UPS guy says he loves to deliver here just to see what is blooming and growing. We usually stop him and load him down as well. LOL! As the old saying goes...there is no place on earth as near to God as in the garden. Or at least that's how we feel at our place.

This message was edited Mar 25, 2009 6:51 PM
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:13 PM

Post #6319588

posting a few of last years pics after using the epsom salt and powdered milk

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bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:14 PM

Post #6319596

I don't know how to get several pics on one posting so I'll send a few more I hope it is not boring

This message was edited Mar 25, 2009 7:36 PM

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bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:15 PM

Post #6319600

another

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cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 25, 2009
11:18 PM

Post #6319610

Wishing those were scratch and sniff, I love the smell of a fresh tomato.
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:21 PM

Post #6319626

yes...scratch and sniff...can't wait til we have more!

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bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:23 PM

Post #6319633

just a couple of more

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bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2009
11:24 PM

Post #6319640

I'll stop here.

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Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2009
12:35 AM

Post #6320011

Neat multi-colored pepper plant!
starlight1153
Seale, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 26, 2009
2:27 AM

Post #6320619

Forget a scratch and sniff, just toss me a few. LOL Now I want a mater and mayo sandwhich: )

Thansk for th einfo, I always up for somethign new. Gona giv e the espsom salt and milk a try . Just hope mien look like yours : )
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2009
2:30 AM

Post #6320639

We are lucky to have fresh tomatoes for the 4th of July, so any you can send north are appreciated. I'm going to keep one plant in the greenhouse this year to see if I can push up the ripening date.

saanansandy
Sue, RI
(Zone 6a)

March 26, 2009
2:53 PM

Post #6322217

Never think that your pics are boring! They are beautiful! Thanks for posting them.
Love the multi-colored peppers! What kind are they?
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2009
10:02 PM

Post #6323926

thanks a lot for the nice comments about my garden pics. The multi-colored peppers are medusa. That's actually a pot plant and doesn't grow very big at all. The peppers are only mildly hot. My husband likes this one so I had them on the porch for him. I don't have a greenhouse but wish I did. We have turned a 10x20 cheap carport into a growing house. I've got to get some of these plants out of the house. They are taking over. We won't have tomatoes at our house until the last of June or around July 4th. I can't wait
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 26, 2009
11:05 PM

Post #6324237

I have decided on my plan of attack when putting my tomatoes out (and I will do the peppers too-can't hurt!). Since it takes 2 TBS of each Epsom salt & Powdered milk, I will mix equal amounts of each-probably 2 cups, then just add 1/4 cup to each planting hole. That will be so much easier than measuring out TBS for each- -Somebody back me up- it IS 4 TBS = 1/4 Cup, isn't it? I sure am gettin' antsy to get started!
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 26, 2009
11:06 PM

Post #6324242

Guess I better do more than 2 cups of each- 4 cups will only do 16 plants- that's just the beginning!
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2009
1:32 AM

Post #6324824

LOL - I bet any money you really *don't* mean that your Medusa is a 'pot plant', per se...
rtgardens
Clinton, IA

March 27, 2009
4:53 PM

Post #6327529

bsetiawan-Thanks for your respond, I may give my flowers a weak mix of epson salts but I'll check my soil balance first. I will definitely try the milk/salts mix this summer with my tomatoes!

Cammolile Tea is a good prevention for fungus but what about if you have already developed mold on you seed trays? Is it too late? Do have have to start all over again? Oh, ...its not me its...its a "friend" yea, thats it, a friend. I would know better.LOL
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

March 27, 2009
8:35 PM

Post #6328386

Got cammomile tea steeping, sure smells good!
Will share with the plants!!
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2009
11:23 PM

Post #6328969

Pagancat ...no way...I surely don't mean my medusa was a "pot" plant! LOL! I'm of the old boring school. No such plants on our property. Have had a few people beg me to use my lights though...it's not going to happen! rtgardens...Before starting on my adventure last year...I read that if you got mold on your seed trays you need to wash the trays in a weak solution of beach water, rinse and let dry completely before using again...and ... I wouldn't start over until all else fails...if you have plants already with mold beginning only on the soil you may need to make sure they are getting air circulation. If it's on the plants...I'd start over. Last year I bought a circulating fan and put it far enough away not to "blow" the plants but to gently keep the air circulating. I uncovered my seedlings for a little while every couple of days...but honestly...I didn't have any problems with mold when I used the cammomile tea mixed in the dirt. This year my son took over my favorite room that I used to grow...I had to move to another part of the house...but...I now have a ceiling fan that I run on low with the light on. The plants are loving it. They are standing straight and the fan is taking care of the circulation. Just can't turn it on anything but low or they won't be happy. When I water or mist my plants I still use cammomile tea water. It's a fine line when you water...make sure you don't let them get soggy and I only 'water' from the bottom. If I need to mist...I take them out from the lights mist them and let them sit out for a little while til the leaves dry before returning them to the lights. I don't want to burn or cook them. As I've said many times...I'm certainly not an expert at this...I'm just sharing my results hoping it will someone else. Lord knows I needed help when I started doing this...LOL I still could use help. I can grow vegetables but I can't grow lemon grass at all. I have finally got one growing but it sure needs help...anyone know how I can make it live? geraldine87...they'll love the tea...but I hear they are picky. They don't like "hot" or ice tea...only tipid with no sugar please! LOL!

This message was edited Mar 27, 2009 7:37 PM
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

March 28, 2009
12:16 PM

Post #6330685

Thank you bset, planning on misting with the tea, I left it sit overnight and will water before sun comes out. My allysums are up! I planted them right !! Will get this all down and hopefully next year it will be lots easier for me. Did plant seeds too deep and overwatered on some...but have many survivors!
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 28, 2009
4:58 PM

Post #6331634

Mmm... I love alyssum.
rtgardens
Clinton, IA

March 28, 2009
10:06 PM

Post #6332721

bsetiawan-you had mentioned you used chamomile tea in the soil mix besides using it in a spray bottle-would you please enlighten me?
bsetiawan
Corryton, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 29, 2009
4:41 AM

Post #6334104

rtgardens...yes, I used the pods on all of my seeds last year...but I thought I'd use some peat pots this year and fill them will a mixture of pro mix, mircle grow soil and a black sand with peat that I bought from a local garden store. as I grow so many plants. I wet down my soil mixture with warm chamomile tea and mixed it well before filling up my cups. If you don't wet it first it is much harder to wet the soil evenly after sowing the seeds. Don't pack the soil though and I only fill my cups about 2/3 full at this time adding more soil as the plants grow. This works very well for me and then I mist the seeds..cover them with a little soil mix and spray them again before putting on the lids and putting them under the lights. Then after they sprout I uncover them and water from the bottom when they start to get dry. I've decided that I don't care for the peat cups and will not use them again. They dry out too fast and require a lot more watering and attention. I will go back to the pods next year for sure. After the plants set on their real leaves...I water them from the bottom one time only with a weak fish and kelp solution. This stuff smells awful...but the plants seem to do well with it. After that...in about a week...I use a little osmocote sprinkled on top of the soil. I mist them a little if they are looking dry but peppers don't like wet feet and tomatoes will stand a little more. You really have to be careful not to overwater or they'll wilt and die. At the same time they can't get too dried out either. That's it...until I plant outside using the epsom salt and powdered milk. We also water each plant as we set them out putting a little water in the hole after pulling in a little dirt around the plant then finish pulling in the soil getting out air pockets but don't pack the soil. Then we set sticks and weave twine in and out to hold the plants adding a new row of string as the plants grow. We a faithful tillers and we hoe to keep the soil loose then just wait to pick. Yummy...
DIRTYGIRL71
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

April 2, 2009
4:12 PM

Post #6354724

Have a question?!?!

I have my flower bed already established, and we have a lawn and shrub service spray every month... is it still safe to plant some veggies and herbs among the flowers and plants?? It's in the front yard, so what I plant has to appeal to the eye of the neighbors as well as mine.

This is where I want to add a lil veggies... I want to spread them out to help fill in between plants, not your typical "veggie garden".

Any ideas? has anyone else done this?? If so..please send me some info. via D-Mail..

Thank You

Thumbnail by DIRTYGIRL71
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Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

April 2, 2009
8:39 PM

Post #6355781

Dirtygirl, I encourage "edible landscaping" whenever possible! Mixing veggie plants in w/your flower bed works pretty well!

As for your lawn service, you'd better ask them exactly what it is they spray each time. I'd hate for them to be spraying a systemic pesticide and have it drift onto your food crops. Or even an herbicide to control "weeds" in your lawn and have it drift onto your food crops and they end up biting the dust.

Shoe
Pagancat
(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2009
12:50 AM

Post #6356910

Yeah, 'service spray' and 'edibles' don't sound good in the same sentence... I'd be very careful about that.
geraldine87
West Warren, MA

April 3, 2009
7:16 PM

Post #6360063

Dirtygirl, had lawn care one year, next year no bulbs came up I had planted in the lawn...yep, they killed them with the weed killer they used. Be careful if you have bulbs or plants close to where they spray!
DIRTYGIRL71
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

April 4, 2009
2:15 PM

Post #6363025

Thanks, geraldine87, will keep that in mind!

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

April 5, 2009
4:20 AM

Post #6365995

Here is information regarding the use of Epsom Salt for plants. Found another site once I post this that I will post a link to.

"Magnesium sulfate is used to correct magnesium deficiency in soil (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule). It is most commonly applied to potted plants, or to magnesium-hungry crops, such as potatoes, roses, tomatoes, peppers and cannabis. The advantage of magnesium sulfate over other magnesium soil amendments (such as dolomitic lime) is its high solubility."

This is a great site for information regarding how much to feed.

http://www.southernag.com/PDF Files/magnes.pdf

And another:

http://www.southernag.com/PDF Files/magnes.pdf





This message was edited Apr 4, 2009 10:26 PM
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

April 6, 2009
10:01 PM

Post #6374012

What a great thread. Thanks to everyone. I have already planted my tomatoes but I will go in sideways toward the bottom and get some powdered milk in. I have always used Epsom salts on my tomatoes and roses, just did not know why. He is Las Vegas today it is 82 degrees. Tomorrow 62 degrees with high winds. In Nevada they call them high winds, in Florida they call them hurricanes. Hope you all warm up soon.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

April 7, 2009
3:02 AM

Post #6375690

On my box of Epsom Salt, I wrote to use "2 tablespoons per plant" as a reminder incase I forget. Glad I did cause I did forget. Even forgot I wrote it on there.
WormsLovSharon
Las Vegas, NV

April 7, 2009
4:13 AM

Post #6375980

I found Epsom salt very cheap at Costco. Has anyone found it is very large amounts? If yes, Where.???? I have asked a friend of mine that is a higher upper management person in a very large commercial company.

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