Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mumsey's Magic Mix

This year I am making an extra effort to keep my tomatoes healthy.  This is no small feat considering how hot and humid it gets in Charlotte, NC in July and August.  Most years I adopt a strategy of benign neglect, pretty much letting my tomatoes fend for themselves with an occasional spray of Bt, neem, or fish emulsion.  If I do anything I am usually reacting to a disease that has already set in.  To be honest, this works for us.  We get far more tomatoes than we can eat and I feel like processing.  By the time they peter out I am sick of tomatoes (yes, I said it!).  But, the plants do look awful by the end of August.

This year I am going to try to be more proactive and actually prevent, or at least delay, the onset of diseases in my tomatoes. I took my first step when I transplanted my tomatoes and used Mumsey's Magic Mix.
The magic ingredients
The legendary Mumsey is a frequent poster on the forums at Organicgardening.com.  Her mix, which she says works on all solanaceous crops, is:
1 part bone meal
1 part cornmeal
1/2 part powdered milk
1/4 part Epsom salt
 Just mix all the ingredients and you are all set.

The bone meal is a source of phosphorous, which is good for root development.  The cornmeal is supposed to act as an anti-fungal agent. Powdered milk supposedly ups the calcium content of the soil, which might help with blossom end rot (though BER is really more about inconsistent watering than low levels of calcium in the soil).  Epsom salts add magnesium.

At planting time you throw a handful (maybe around 1/2 a cup) of Mumsey's mix into the planting hole.  Make sure you mix it into the loose dirt (i.e. don't plant the tomato on top of a pile of Mumsey's Mix).  Then plant your tomatoes as usual.  Some folks side dress with another handful about 6 weeks after planting.  Because I sheet mulch I'm not doing that.

There are legions of people on various forums who swear by this stuff.  I am crossing my fingers that I have healthier plants this year.  Maybe this will help.

Any other additions that you swear by?

1 comment:

  1. Now that it has been a few months, what is your opinion of this mix? Has it helped prevent tomato diseases?

    ReplyDelete

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