Posted on 02 April 2011 by

The Weirdest Things to Use in the Tomato Garden

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Sometimes the oddest things are the best things when it comes to the garden.

To prove my point, think of the reaction of the pilgrims when the Indians showed them how to plant corn with a fish.

Or in recent times, using gray water in the garden.

Sometimes it makes one go hmmm…

So here are some not so unusual items that are add to the garden soil and some quite unique items that may make one go hmmm…

  • Banana Peels – These lovely kitchen scraps contain a bounty of potassium. This potassium is easily transferred into the soil and up the plant when the peel is placed in the hole before planting.
  • Epsom Salt – This old drugstore standby is great for the garden especially where tomatoes are going to be placed. Simply put ½ cup into each hole before planting the tomato. Also, dissolving Epsom salt into water that is going to used on tomatoes is another approach.
  • Eggshells – These provide calcium to the soil. Dry out the shells in an oven or in the sun, crush, and add to the hole prior to planting. Another approach is to place the dried, crushed eggshells to the water and let set for at least 24 hours. Then use this water when hydrating the garden.
  • Human urine – Many different studies have occurred that shows that “pee’ is an excellent fertilizer. It is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphate but use caution when using this in the garden. While urine is sterile and germ free it can still contaminate vegetables so always wash produce before eating.
  • Tums – This drug used to treat heartburn is also good for tomatoes. Dissolve the tablets in water and use this water to raise the calcium level around tomatoes.
  • Matches -These simple items turn the dark into light and add magnesium to the soil. Simply cut the striking part off the match and place in the hole prior to planting.
  • Fish scraps -  This is an old organic way of adding nutrients to the soil. Add water from fish tanks to fish parts, such as scales, heads and bones. Chop up the fish in a blender and add to this mixture two cups of water and one cup of milk. The fish puree provides a powerful nutrient rich soup while the milk helps control disease.
  • Vacuum cleaner fluff – This fluff is made up of hair and dust mites, which are full of nutrients. Simply dump the fluff in the garden and mix into the soil.
  • Used tea bags and coffee grounds – To use these items, first remove the grounds from the bags or filter and layout to dry. Dried grounds spread easier than wet grounds. Coffee grounds in particular are great weed suppressors.
    • Human or pet hair – Many different nutrients including keratin can be found in hair. Place the hair in the hole to create a slow-release fertilizer.

      All of the above oddities work wonders in the tomato garden. So give them a try this gardening season. You may be surprised by how well they work.

      So until we blog again, Organic gardening is full of old time remedies, that have lasted through time. Modern day solutions are not always the answer, and can be harmful and lasting if not careful. So try these approaches and save the bird’s song, while keeping Rachael Carson smiling with an earth bound song.

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