Monthly Archives: November 2014

Magnesium and our soils…are our gardens a symptom of our bigger deficiency issues?

I wonder how many of my readers are gardeners… I’ve loved to garden since I was a teen… I would be the one planning out the pretty spring bulbs, the flowers, the veggie and herb patch. Though ironically enough, many of the edible things I really didn’t know what to do with…

Now that I’m finally forcing myself back into my garden after some years of being unable to care of moving/work/newborn/intolerant-to-the-world child/back to work…… and I happen to be learning about magnesium deficiency at the same time… its had me reading on a different level.

A week ago I was watching a special presentation by ‘Gardening Australia’ about feeding your garden. Nourishing it. They had a little snippet where they talked about magnesium and iron deficiencies in plants, and how they manifest.

Magnesium flakes

Magnesium Chloride/magnesium flakes…

I have started my research tonight to find the video, but instead found a story from a few years ago that they did. You can find it here. To quote them:

Look carefully for mottling on the leaves of plants because this is an indication of magnesium deficiency, which is really common in Australia. It affects a range of plants including gardenias, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, roses and citrus. The solution is to get some Epsom salts. Take half a litre of water, and put in half a teaspoon of Epsom salts, then shake and stir. Either water it on plants or you can foliar spray it.

So its recognised that mottling on leaves (and in the story I saw last week, they added to this, more below on that)… that its magnesium deficiency you will be seeing. How is it solved? Epsom Salts.

Humans become symptomatic in many different ways – food intolerances, behaviour, mood/depression, auto-immune conditions and so much more… but epsom salts (mag sulphate) is a very good way to assist most who are deficient too.

So with a little more searching, I found the transcript from their site here

Jerry Coleby-Williams

JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS: Gardeners often take the green colour of plants for granted. That green colour is caused by a pigment called chlorophyll and chlorophyll allows plants to capture sunlight and convert it into food – it allows them to grow. But quite often, iron and magnesium which are essential for producing chlorophyll, can be deficient in our soils. Now those deficiencies can progress in two different ways.

Iron deficiency first appears on new young growth and if those leaves grow yellow, it’s a good chance you’ve got iron deficiency. Magnesium tends to develop on old leaves and if older leaves grow yellow, but the young leaves remain green, magnesium is the key suspect. Now how do you treat these deficiencies?

Firstly for iron, you use iron chelates and you can water that in around the roots of plants – once in spring and once in autumn. With magnesium, that’s slightly different. It’s very soluble in water so you can often apply dolomite at a rate of one handful per square metre in autumn and that will last the plant right the way through a year, but in tropical climates with heavy rainfall, you can use Epsom salts and you apply that as a spray by diluting 1 teaspoon full of Epsom salts in a litre of water and you can spray that over foliage once a month during summer.

If you put those two treatments together, you’re plants will be greener than green and they’ll be super efficient at capturing that sunlight and converting it into growth.

….and for good measure, I managed to find the video… here.

So… if its recognised in every day gardening… and its recognised in everyday farming when it comes to livestock too (I’ve had many conversations with those with horses and other types of farm animals about the critical need for magnesium supplementation given our soils)… HOW is it not more widely seen in the human population?

Do humans really think that we are all that different from animals and plants?

We are, afterall, just biochemical beings like them… we eat food to turn it into energy and waste… energy to grow, repair, think, do. If Magnesium is not there… we can’t do any of those and we get other chronic health conditions sneaking in…

Just some… food for thought….!

Until next time!



PS A few weeks ago I put some magnesium chloride onto my (edible) garden, including my choko vine, herbs and citrus trees… you know what? They were all setting fruit and had the strongest growth I’ve seen in a couple of years! Unbelievable. Some of these were in pots which are probably overdue for a fertiliser topup. Others are in soil which has been improved with organic matter and were already growing fairly well.

All are probably stressed from the extremely dry conditions we have now, but, without changing the watering pattern at all (occasional sprinkle by us), they have gone crazy. Twelve months of waiting for a single choko to set… despite 1000’s of flowers, never one… but within a week of the mag chloride, several setting and a few surviving the local ‘wildlife’ to be taken by us!

Don’t underestimate how much you may need to help your own garden along……..

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