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CaliMag for tomatoes?

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#1 Greyhound_Gourmet

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 05:02 PM

hi!  I'm growing tomatoes along with (mostly hot) peppers again this year and want to get ahead of any blossom end rot (BER) issues that I may have this year.  Last year, I put eggshells in each hole that a plant went in and IIRC I didn't have BER issues and did the same this year but not sure if that will be enough but prior years had a lot of trouble (and forgot it was a calcium lack that caused it! DOH!).  I saw a couple posts on here where people used CaliMag (Cal-Mag) and was wondering what anyone's advice is on it. 

 

It appears you can both water it in as well as apply foliar, I'm thinking the foliar method is better but would like thoughts on that, as well as the amount.

 

ETA: how often do you water/spray per week?

 

any thoughts/advice?  


Edited by Greyhound_Gourmet, 31 May 2018 - 05:09 PM.


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#2 alkhall

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 05:08 PM

I use CalMagPlus (Botanicare) and have no BER on my tomatoes.

I add it to my fertilizer solution (Fish Emulsion and Seaweed Extract) and water in, never tried foliar.

I do apply Epsom Salt as a foliar spray.

Edited by alkhall, 31 May 2018 - 05:10 PM.

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#3 kentishman

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 07:34 PM

There is a very simple to make homemade version of CaliMag called Witches Brew. A longtime member here, Smokemaster, was big on it. If you search here, or Google it, you should find plenty about it. In a half gallon plastic container, such as an orange juice bottle, put a half cup of Dolomitic Limestone (the stuff you put on your garden to raise the pH) and a cup of vinegar. They react (and give off carbon dioxide gas, so dont screw the lid on tight) and you end up with a soluble solution containing Calcium and Magnesium, just like CaliMag. In addition to helping prevent BER, Smokemaster said it promoted flowering and fruiting. Ive used it for several years with good results on peppers and tomatoes.

Smoke had serious health issues and he hasnt posted for a while. If anyone knows anything about him, please post. He was very generous with seeds and advice. He probably forgot more about growing peppers than I will ever know.

#4 solid7

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 08:48 PM

There is a very simple to make homemade version of CaliMag called Witches Brew. A longtime member here, Smokemaster, was big on it. If you search here, or Google it, you should find plenty about it. In a half gallon plastic container, such as an orange juice bottle, put a half cup of Dolomitic Limestone (the stuff you put on your garden to raise the pH) and a cup of vinegar. They react (and give off carbon dioxide gas, so dont screw the lid on tight) and you end up with a soluble solution containing Calcium and Magnesium, just like CaliMag. In addition to helping prevent BER, Smokemaster said it promoted flowering and fruiting. Ive used it for several years with good results on peppers and tomatoes.

Smoke had serious health issues and he hasnt posted for a while. If anyone knows anything about him, please post. He was very generous with seeds and advice. He probably forgot more about growing peppers than I will ever know.

 

it won't promote flowering and fruiting, other than the way that having sufficient levels of calcium does by counteracting a deficiency. (lest we make an erroneous claim)  But it is definitely a valuable product.

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Dolomitic Lime is a "traditional" type of amendment.  It's arguable that we need the magnesium as much as the calcium, but in soil, it will most likely never hurt. (be careful in containers, though)

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You can achieve the same effect with Calcium only, by dissolving ground eggshells in vinegar.  It has been a year or two since I made mine, but I seem to recall a cup of eggshell powder doing a whole gallon of vinegar...


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#5 ShowMeDaSauce

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 11:13 PM

You can also get all the calcium you would ever need from a $6/4lb bag of calcium nitrate. At 1 tsp per gallon you probably got a few years worth. Its the same calcium product used in CalMag

 

Ingredients: Calcium nitrate, magnesium nitrate, iron EDTA.

 

 


Edited by ShowMeDaSauce, 31 May 2018 - 11:15 PM.


#6 Masher

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 08:52 AM

Foliar is how to treat it once you already have BER.

I put a fistful of Epsom salt or calcium nitrate at base of plant about a week after hitting soil and again 4 weeks later.

That should be enough to combat BER.

I also find the romas are the worst for ber and I eliminated them from my grow this yr.

#7 Rajun Gardener

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 09:35 AM

+1 on Calcium Nitrate!  It's like steroids for plants and a side benefit for tomatoes is no BER. I use it half strength when plants have the first true leaves and they love it. In the garden sprinkle in about a tablespoon and water it in every two weeks and you'll see results fast. Don't be fooled by that saying "too much nitrogen and all you get is foliage growth". That's not true, the plants will thank you with production,



#8 solid7

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 10:51 AM

Don't be fooled by that saying "too much nitrogen and all you get is foliage growth". That's not true, the plants will thank you with production,

 

Finally, I'm not the only one saying it.  LOL

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Too often, we think overly simplistically when it comes to plant mechanisms.  Without the calcium, all the nitrogen in the world doesn't do a whole lot of good.  When everything comes together in balance, optimum results are achieved.

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That's why we always have to be careful not to get fidgety, and try to "add a little of this or that" at the first sign of problems.


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#9 Rajun Gardener

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 12:27 PM

In 2015 I had a few arguments/discussions about using CalNit on a regular basis to increase production. I researched commercial farming both peppers and tomatoes and found most growers have been using it for decades.

 

In 2016 I did an experiment growing Creole tomatoes in a raised bed with a trellis over it to string the plants. I used triple 13 in the soil then planted 18 plants. I fed them a tablespoon of CalNit every week when I watered and let all of the suckers grow. The end result was healthy fruit production and lush plants. I don't remember how many tomatoes I picked that year but every time I picked it was in buckets. That MG box is for size reference.

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#10 solid7

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 01:29 PM

I have no doubt that you used it with great effect.  Just saying that if you get dramatic results, it means that you have less than ideal levels of calcium, to begin with.  And that doesn't mean that it isn't there.  It just means that it isn't necessarily readily available. 

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The #1 rule with feeding plants, is that plants don't use what they don't need, no matter how much of it we put down.  There is a threshhold for every element, both macro and micro, for which the plant will use, and the rest will just sit there, until the plant actually does need it.  And there are combinations of other elements, which go hand in hand.  If you have optimal calcium, for example, you'll maximize uptake of Nitrogen and Potassium.

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Too often, however, growers (new growers especially) get the idea that if you add more of something, because it is the fuel for some process, that you'll get that result, in abundance.  It's a horrible misapplication of logic that's been perpetuated for too long.


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#11 solid7

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 01:31 PM

On another note, those are great looking tomatoes.  My last year planting out in real soil, I put out 18 plants, and when they started coming, I also got them by the bucketful.  I just had really nice clay soil, that was heavily amended with oak leaves and grass clippings.

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I'm jealous...


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#12 Greyhound_Gourmet

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 04:31 PM

thanks for the help :)  I ordered a 32 oz bottle of Cal-Mag off of Amazon from Bloom City, will put a tsp in with each watering.  I'm hoping it's ok for the peppers too :)

 

nice pics, Rajun Gardner!  :D



#13 ShowMeDaSauce

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:30 AM

I fed them a tablespoon of CalNit every week when I watered and let all of the suckers grow.

 

 

Is that 1 tbs per gallon of water or....?

 

Im finding anything from 1 tsp per gallon used more often than once a week or upto a tbs per gallon used weekly? Many application rates are much higher but its being used for more than just the additional calcium. I think i saw on a hydro forum that 2.5gram per gallon is around 116ppm of calcium and 100ppm of nitrogen.



#14 Rajun Gardener

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:32 AM

I just sprinkled it dry around the plant and watered it in.  It dissolves easy and it doesn't hurt the plants.







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