Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Welcome to gardeners, growers of veggies, fruits, flowers, and trees, backyard hen enthusiasts, worm farmers, & composters!

Location: Planet Earth
Members: 180
Latest Activity: 54 minutes ago

Welcome to Eden!

If you like to dig in the dirt, grow flowers, putter around the yard, dig in the kitchen garden, raise backyard hens, or just like daydreaming about the garden, this is the place.

Many topics have been discussed in the archive.  Revive a topic by adding your 2¢ or start a new topic.

Everyone likes photos of the garden, so if you like to share photos of your prize dahlia, your favorite hen, or your first tomato, go right ahead!

Discussion Forum


Started by Dominic Florio. Last reply by Joan Denoo 11 hours ago. 16 Replies

Permaculture thinking and skills for youth

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Joan Denoo Aug 24. 3 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Joan Denoo on July 22, 2017 at 4:14pm

Daniel, I agree, each bed could have a different test; even a large garden can have different soil content. 

Wonderful news about your use of epsom salts and the effects. With your pee to add lively nitrogen, you have a winning combination. Your photos give us rich evidence. Surely would like to sit in your sunroom with you, Ning, Charlie and a plate of fresh fruits and vegetables. That would be about as close to heaven as I can imagine. 

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on July 22, 2017 at 4:06pm

Daniel - what kind of concentration of the epsom salts do you use? Or how much? (Do you dissolve it in water first?)

Comment by Daniel W on July 22, 2017 at 4:00pm

Joan, thank you for the great information and reminder.

I gave Epsom salts to a number of my plants and trees this year.  The mulberry and persimmon leaves were yellowish and somewhat distorted during previous years.  My soil test did point out deficiencies in calcium and magnesium.  There is plenty of potassium and phosphorus, and organic matter.  Last year I added lime for calcium and to buffer acidity pH 5.3 - to no discernable benefit.  This year I added Epsom salts.  Holy moly, the growth is so lush and amazing on those trees, with leaves rich, dark green.  I also gave a few doses to the onions.  Some of those are the size of grapefruits now, and so pungent!  I read the sulfur in Epsom salts would increase pungency.  My pepper plants are also more lush this year, after adding Epsom salts to their soil.

Some of the scientific literature states dont feed Epdon salts unless there is a known magnesium defiency.  However, I think unless it is a high mineral soil, it is ok to use.  You cant test every bed and every container, so it is a judgement call.

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 22, 2017 at 3:50pm

Daniel, thanks for your information on "The Garden of Herbivores." We have a nice chart now that I didn't have before your wrote of your  pests. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 22, 2017 at 3:35pm

Thomas, excellent question

Fertilize with Epsom Salts

"Chemically, Epsom salts is hydrated magnesium sulfate (about 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur). Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants' uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.

"Sulfur, a key element in plant growth, is critical to production of vitamins, amino acids (therefore protein), and enzymes. It's also the compound that gives vegetables such as broccoli and onions their flavors. Sulfur is seldom deficient in garden soils in North America because acid rain and commonly used animal manures contain sulfur, as do chemical fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate.

"The causes and effects of magnesium deficiencies vary. Vegetables such as beans, peas, lettuce, and spinach can grow and produce good yields in soils with low magnesium levels, but plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and roses need high levels of magnesium for optimal growth. However, plants may not show the effects of magnesium deficiency until it's severe."

"Some common deficiency symptoms are yellowing of the leaves between the veins, leaf curling, stunted growth, and lack of sweetness in the fruit."


"When diluted with water, and especially when applied as a foliar spray, Epsom salts can be taken up quickly by plants. Epsom salts' magnesium content, high solubility, and ease of application as a foliar spray are the main reasons for the positive results many gardeners see in their plants."


"Four out of the six testers reported that the Epsom salts-treated pepper plants and fruits were larger than the controls. For the treated roses, testers reported greener foliage, bushier plants, and more roses than on the control plants."

"Before you try Epsom salts, test the soil to determine its magnesium content. Don't rely on Epsom salts to correct large soil magnesium deficiencies, but rather use it as a supplement to soils with adequate or slightly low magnesium levels to boost plant growth, flowering, and fruiting. For severely magnesium-deficient soils, use dolomitic lime or Sul-Po-Mag. Foliar applications of Epsom salts seem work better than adding it, dry or mixed with water, directly to the soil. Plants may not efficiently take up magnesium sulfate in granular form, especially in alkaline soils or soils that already test high in potassium, calcium, or magnesium. If you have tested your soil and know it has those qualities, a foliar application is a faster way to get the nutrients to the plant."


Epsom salts works best on soils that are...

  • Slightly deficient in magnesium
  • Alkaline (show high pH) as in western areas
  • Old, "weathered," and acidic (with low pH) soils of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest
  • High in calcium and potassium (western soils)

~ Charlie Nardozzi is a senior horticulturist at National Gardening.

Comment by Thomas Murray on July 22, 2017 at 2:54pm


What is the purpose of the Epson salt spray on plants?

Comment by Thomas Murray on July 22, 2017 at 2:50pm

... I think it was Daniel who mentioned to use human urine to water his plants. So I am wondering if the same method can be used for fruit trees? So...Daniel?... or everybody else?

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 22, 2017 at 2:44pm

Daniel, It is fun to work with nature instead of fight it. Yes, it is work, but it is worth it, at least it is when I am able to get out of this wheelchair and actually do something other than think and design, although, I like to do both. 

Larry and Laura bring me ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse and they are delicious. I learned a lot this year, and last, on what to do and not do in a greenhouse. I expect to be on my feet next week and I have a list of things to do. 

One thing, beginning July 16, Carl's (The Flying Atheist's) birthday, it is time to start to spray the vegetables with an Epsom salt drench: spray every 3weeks with:

One (1) gal water: one (1) T Epson salt

Drench plant and soil every 3 weeks. 

Comment by Daniel W on July 22, 2017 at 2:22pm

Joan you are right of course.

Im happy to have space and resources to garden despite populations of herbivores.  Ive learned some ways to reduce harm, and prioritized what to plant where.  For example, this year I planted 3 new chestnut trees. Before I planted them, I gathered materials and made hardware cloth sleeves for vole protection, and taller fencing for deer protection.  As they grew, I extended the fencing upwards.  In a year or to, I think they will no longer need any protection.

I know to construct chicken wire "tunnels" for young sweet corn plants and youn garlic and onions.  When taller, I remove the tunnels.

The plan for this winter is to construct a cage for the blackberry  bed, with fencing on the sides for rabbits and deer, and on the top for birds.  One can ask, do I want berries that much?  But the effort and expense are not that bad.

The fenced raised beds will get some modifications this fall and winter for easier management.  Talker sides for easier planting, weeding, hoeing, and further apart so I can use riding mower for paths.

This week was our first zucchinis and summer squash!  It is summer!  More potatoes and onions, too.

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 22, 2017 at 4:57am

Thanks for wanting to help me, I can't find my notes I made when we discussed this before, Sandbox doesn't have the ratios, and even Seri couldn't give me the answer. I knew I would want algebra some day. Well, that doesn't matter, I can't add, subtract, Multiply, or divide any more. 


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