Using salt water on cabbage

keepitlow(6)April 9, 2010

Someone said to use diluted salt water to water cabbage. It absorbs salt and the bugs leave it alone. Anyone try it?

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I can picture no botanical reason why this would work.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:17AM
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docgipe

I lived one block off the ocean in Virginia Beach for a few years. There we had natural salt in and on everything. Everything we did was designed to leach out God given salts from the ocean.

I would think that no salt should be a pretty good advisement. No salt for or on anything. So don't come at me with any "yes buts". I've heard them all and stand firm. No salt!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 11:50AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

...and I would add to doc's admonition that whoever this 'someone' is should be ignored if this is typical of their advice. Or perhaps do the opposite of whatever they say.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yikes!!! Don't listen to that person, keepitlow. That could cause lots of problems for the soil and plants.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:36PM
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dicot

My cole crop nemesis is the larvae of Pieris rapae, what we call a "cabbage moth", so I can't understand how salts in the soil would influence that feeding/breeding cycle in the slightest.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 2:50PM
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junktruck

absolutly not / salt will kill it / however epsoms salt is good for them / it is not salt

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:43PM
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docgipe

I discussed this salt issue with Jiggs and Maggie. Maggie said, "the finest salt goes on cabbage just before you eat it". Jiggs agrees....no salt in the patch or on a growing plant.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:59PM
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keepitlow(6)

Thanks for the feedback.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:26AM
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rockguy(7a)

Beets and asparagus, (being originally Maritime plants), can tolerate salt. To my knowledge all other common garden vegetables don't want or need salt or sodium beyond what is present naturally in the soil.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Junktruck - Magnesium sulphate is indeed a salt, which might be why it is commonly known as Epsom salts, and it is only 'good for plants' under particular circumstances, those being when there is either a Mg or S deficiency to be dealt with or an increase in the amount of Mg in the soil solution is required to prevent an antagonistic deficiency of Ca.

Both the sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl) fractions of table salt play a part in plant metabolism, with chloride being listed as an essential micro-nutrient. Here is another case where the dosage makes the poison. High levels of Na inhibit (primarily) K uptake, and NaCl raises the EC/TDS levels in the soil solution, which makes it increasingly more difficult for plants to absorb water and other nutrients dissolved in the water as solution strength increases. When concentrations in the soil solution combined with other solutes get high enough, the soil solution can actually 'pull' water from cells in the same manner that curing salt 'pulls' water from ham or bacon. The term for this reversal of the normal osmotic process is called plasmolysis, or commonly - fertilizer burn.

Al

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 10:07PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Interesting about how "natural salt" affects or doesn't affect plants.

For ten years I lived right on the water, on the inland coast of NC, where the water is salty ocean-water. It supported crabs, oysters, ocean-fish, shrimp, octopuses, sharks, etc. We had at least six hurricanes during that time that brought storm surge waters onto my property.

No plants died that I recall because of the salty water. My rose bushes thrived. So did the rest of my flowers, my asparagus, the garden, melons, squash, tomatoes, the blackberry bushes, the blueberries, the pecan and other nut trees, peach, fig, and apple trees, the oaks and pines.

Truly, everything that could survive there before the salty storm surges survived after them.

Before we decide something like salt is a horror we wouldn't want to see visited on our worst enemy's garden, take everything into account.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 3:55AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Anney, your example is quite different. Storm surges occur during periods when lots of rainfall helps to leach the contaminated water from the soil. Rainfall during and after that kind of event greatly mitigates the damage.

However, watering WITH saline water can create havoc.

By the way, I lived along the SC coast for over 20 years. I saw a great deal of damage to plants due to storm surges, including to stately old oaks. If plentiful rain water doesn't flush the salt away in good time, the signs will appear within weeks and continue for years.

This, by the way, is one of those FEW times that applications of gypsum can be helpful. Gypsum ions grab on to the sodium ions, keeping it away from plant root interaction and allowing for easy leaching. Tons of the stuff is applied to waterfront areas in flooded locations.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:51AM
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gargwarb

or an increase in the amount of Mg in the soil solution is required to prevent an antagonistic deficiency of Ca.

The antagonistic deficiency occurs when excess magnesium inhibits a plant's ability to take up calcium. You don't need 'X' amount of magnesium before the plant will start taking up calcium.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:33AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

rhizo

Maybe the vegetation on the North Carolina inland coast is hardier than that in SC?

:-)

One of those summers we were hit by three hurricanes, two of them in 7 days. I suspect that the vegetation on the inland coast is not as damaged by the wind and water pounding as vegetation that is exposed directly to the ocean. We had the barrier islands for some protection and the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds were the bodies of water we were innundated with. It was more like the water just rose and rose and rose over the shallow banks during the second part of the storms, after the eye had passed.

I'm not sure why the salty water does not cause any more damage than it does. I do know that the CCC came in (back in my Grandfather's day) to dig many drainage ditches leading back to the sound beside the roads to make it dryer and more habitable. So eventually the water drains back into its salty origins. Maybe that's why.

But all I know is that for that area of Eastern NC, salt water does not seem to have a deleterious effect on crop soils, though it can suffocate and kill growing crops if it doesn't drain quickly enough. Since we were right on the water, storm surges always drained exceedingly fast, sometimes faster than they came in. Untamed asparagus, brought by birds, was everywhere and thrived. I always had big pots of it in the Spring.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:47AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Gargwarb - I never said you did. Please bone up on antagonistic deficiencies. Plants can still assimilate Ca if there is no Mg in the soil - they just can't grow. They can also assimilate Mg w/o Ca, but if there is 10X as much Ca than Mg (or the opposite)in the soil it can or will create antagonistic deficiencies, one of the other. When Ca or Mg is found in the soil in excess, it is often suggested that more of one or the other than is actually necessary for growth be added to balance the ratio between Ca:Mg to prevent an antagonistic deficiency.

In short, Ca and Mg not only need to be present in the soil at adequacy levels, they need to be in the soil in a favorable ratio, or deficiencies can occur. Fe:Mn have the same relationship, as does P:Fe and Mn, and P to most micro-nutrients ...... + many others.

A quick glance at Liebig's Law of the Minimum is all the further you need to go for support of what I said.

Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:35AM
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gargwarb

Oh, I'm pretty "boned up". I'm sorry if I'm reading your post wrong, but it sounds like you're saying that low magnesium inhibits, or has an antagonistic effect on, calcium uptake, resulting in calcium defieincyh. And, therefore, an increase in magnesium is required to alleviate that antagonistic effect and take care of the calcium deficiency.

"increase in the amount of Mg in the soil solution is required to prevent an antagonistic deficiency of Ca."

I'm I interpreting what you said incorrectly?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 12:31PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm so sorry - you're right. I know what I meant, but I should have said "... is only 'good for plants' under particular circumstances, those being when there is either a Mg or S deficiency to be dealt with or an increase in the amount of Mg in the soil solution is required to prevent an antagonistic deficiency of Mg, not Ca. When normally adequate amounts of Mg are already in the soil/soil solution, excess Ca can cause an antagonistic deficiency, so more Mg than is actually required by the plant may be necessary to prevent an antagonism (of Mg).

Good catch ..... and again, I beg a pardon.

Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:02PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

My sister and brother-in-law live on a treeless slope 100 feet from the north Atlantic, and never in thirty years had cabbage moths on their kale, cabbage or broccoli, while we, five miles inland on a brackish, sheltered harbour, gave up growing these crops years ago out of disgust. Anecdotal, I know, but I've often thought the salt spray had something to do with their cole crops being pest free.

But asparagus is the only crop I've seriously considered watering with seawater. It's salt tolerant - some say salt-loving - and would probably benefit from the nutrients. Every year I mean to try it, then balk at the thought of hauling seawater anywhere.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:35PM
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gargwarb

No sweat, man. I hear where you're coming from.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:35PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

Paul a friend of mine says he heavily salts his aparagus patch in the spring to keep the weeds down been doing it for years..

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:44PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

The thing with salting heavily - or salting at all - is that some years down the road the asparagus will have spent itself and you'll be left with salt-ruined soil.

I read somewhere on the web though that the practice of salting asparagus is making a comeback.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:49AM
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sassyangelkiwi

I was talking to a very elderly lady earlier this week so told me her neighbor watered his veg garden with fresh ocean water (we live in a coastal area) during drought and it thrived. I was sceptical but this woman is an amazingÃÂ gardener herself and is in her 80's.
Wisdom and experience I trust. ..
I also saw some youtube films about a guy who does this too and it seems to work.
Curiouser and Curiouser. ..

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:23PM
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elisa_z5

This is all very heartening.
I've been helping a friend with a small garden on the Outer Banks, and since Sandy took down the dunes, the ocean comes right up to the yard quite frequently. The fig seems to be still alive, and the sweet potatoes and tomatoes did fine.

I think we should plant asparagus! Too bad he hates beets.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Spraying plants with salt water was a remedy many years ago to control insect pests, a practice deemed unacceptable to organic growers for a very long time. I find it slightly less than amazing that people will spray stuff they know kills some plants on other plants thinking that provides some kind of benefit.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 6:00AM
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pnbrown

Dissolving some table salt in fresh water is not the same as sea-water, so there are two different discussions going on here.

Enough testing with using seawater, very carefully, as a fertilizer, has been done to verify at the very least it is not dismissible. Note that the Romans did not plow seawater into the fields around Carthage - but many barrels of actual salt.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 8:25AM
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elisa_z5

And was it good, or did it contribute to the fall of the Roman Empire?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:31AM
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pnbrown

My point is that as the Romans' purpose was to permanently end agriculture around the city of Carthage, they used salt, and lots of it, not seawater, which would have required moving mad amounts of weight to achieve toxicity.

There is lots of anecdotal evidence of improved crops after flooding by seawater.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:25PM
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elisa_z5

Ah, I see.
Really glad to hear that flooding by sea water can actually be good. My friend's fig bush (in OBX) lost all its leaves after the last flood by ocean, but now it is beginning to sprout new ones. There's hope.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 5:32AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Way back when rockguy mentioned that beets and asparagus live by the sea in their natural habitats. So does cabbage and other brassicas - hence the thick waxy coating on the leaves. The toughest of them all is sea kale which grows in shingle banks right on the beach. But I still wouldn't water them with salt water.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:17PM
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elisa_z5

Thanks, floral_uk, that's good to know. I"m still on the Outer Banks -- called around for seedlings today and found only brassicas -- no wonder! I think we're going to go buy some cabbage and collard seedlings and plant them tomorrow.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:47PM
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