Calcium is one of the vital nutrients your plants need to flourish, and it’s important to prevent a deficiency in your garden.
Calcium is one of the essential micro-nutrients that every garden needs. It prevents fruit from rotting as well as altering the makeup of soils with a high amount of clay. Many problems can arise when your garden is deficient in calcium.
One of the problems that can arise is blossom end rot. It can affect plants like: tomatoes, squash, peppers, melons, and cucumbers. Blossom end rot causes young fruit to rot at the base of the fruit, rendering it inedible. Blossom end rot will only affect young fruit, because plants only take up calcium to begin growing a new fruit. If your soil becomes calcium deficient none of your more developed fruits will be affected.
Calcium deficiency, in my experience, comes most commonly after a heavy rain. A heavy rain can greatly lower the concentration of calcium in your soil. Any new fruit that is pollinated following this rain will succumb to blossom end rot unless you supplement with a source of calcium very soon after the rain stops.
Blossom end rot can often appear very much like the result of poor pollination. What I usually go by to determine if my garden is truly having a blossom end rot problem is if I’m having multiple fruits rotting that had been pollinated on the same day. That usually indicates that it is a garden wide problem.
There are sources of calcium you can use in your garden. Such sources are things like bone meal, ground clam shells, and gypsum. I use gypsum in my garden and I find that it works very well. The only products I use in my garden that come from an animal is manure, but I know not everyone avoids animal products in their garden. You can buy these at most big box stores as well as garden and seed stores.
Gypsum can be very beneficial to clay based soils. Gypsum is made up of calcium and sulfate. The sulfate in gypsum bind to magnesium and this improves plants’ ability to uptake nutrients. Additionally, the calcium alters the electrical charge of the particles in clay soil which improves the soil to hold on to nutrients.
Calcium is an essential micro-nutrient for any garden. It has multiple benefits to your plants from nutrient uptake to fruit production. It’s important to apply a source of calcium when your garden is at risk for being deficient as well as soon as you notice signs of a deficiency which can occur after heavy rains.