Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: 8 Methods of Adding Calcium to Soil
There are many ways to ensure that your soil can help your plants grow well and give you a very good yield. One is to make sure it contains enough calcium. The easiest way to check this is to learn how to test your garden soil and use a home soil test kit, which will let you know exactly what your soil contains and what it needs best for what you are planting. Here is a detailed guide to help you learn how to use soil test kits to promote soil health. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
But why calcium? Well, it usually contributes to soil fertility and good aeration. In addition, the lack of calcium will lead to high soil acidity, which hinders plant growth. Most importantly, Ca is necessary for the formation of firm membranes and cell walls in plants. Below, you will find all the information about the benefits of calcium to soil and plants, some methods to determine calcium deficiency, and some methods to add calcium to soil.
How calcium affects plants
Calcium can bring many benefits to your backyard, some of which are:
- Healthy soil
Calcium plays an important role in maintaining soil pH value. In addition, it helps to open the soil, which in itself can better absorb water and reduce erosion. In addition, this means that nutrients are more easily absorbed by plants.
- Plants get nutrition
As we mentioned above, better aeration allows nutrients to flow from the roots of the plant through the stems to each leaf.
- Early growth
Another effect of calcium on plants is that they grow faster and have higher root quality at the beginning of the season. In addition, it also contributes to plant homogeneity, which is a very important factor for crop growers.
- Healthy plant tissue
Ca is a very important component of cell wall. In addition, it is the key to cell division, nitrogen use and cell membrane permeability. However, there is a tricky detail - your soil needs calcium, and your plants need available calcium. Therefore, you will need two different types of calcium - one is soluble and the other is slow-release.
- Better output
One of the most well-known benefits of calcium is that it contributes to yield and quality. Especially when combined with alfalfa.
Signs of calcium deficiency in plants
A large amount of calcium in the soil will help the growth of young leaves of plants, while maintaining the health of old leaves. However, if calcium is lacking, the leaves will begin to lose their color and decay on the ground and underground. This is why you should always pay close attention and take immediate action when any of the following situations occur:
Decay can occur anywhere in a plant - leaves, fruits, stems, and roots. This is an obvious sign of calcium deficiency, and you must take immediate action to avoid necrosis.
The loss of color in any part of a plant is a danger signal. However, when due to calcium deficiency, the brown spot will mainly appear on the leaf margin. In addition, the combination of yellow spots and them is a larger symbol. You must act quickly to prevent your leaves from dying. Keep in mind that there are many other reasons for decolorization besides calcium deficiency, which is why you should always test the soil first - this will help you find the root cause of the problem.
- Curled leaves
When plants do not get enough calcium, new growth begins to curl. If you notice this, especially the new leaves, you'd better consider whether the lack of Ca is the cause.
- Slow growth
If plants lack calcium, they will take longer to mature. Although this may be a symptom of many problems, it is best to rule out calcium deficiency first.
Eight Methods of Adding Calcium to Soil
Therefore, in order to save your pressure and time in finding ways to add calcium to the soil, you will find eight most popular methods below:
- Calcium fertilizer
The use of soil additives may be one of the fastest and easiest methods. However, it is important to check the soil pH value. Also, be sure to follow the instructions on the package for best results.
- Add lime in autumn
Lime is an excellent additive, especially if you choose to use it in autumn. First, it can help to increase the pH of the soil and make it more acidic. In addition, it will give your soil and plants a fantastic calcium boost. That is, if your soil is too acidic, it will make it difficult for your plants to grow. If you find that your soil also lacks magnesium, you should use dolomite lime. But soil test must be done first.
- Use eggshells
Eggshells contain a lot of calcium, which is useful for many plants. They must be properly dried, powdered, mixed with water (3 tablespoons eggshell powder per gallon of water), and administered by watering. Although they contain some of the best soil amendments and nutrients, they are not the fastest way. Some plants may take about a year to fully absorb the calcium contained in the eggshell.
- Leaf spraying
This may be the fastest way to combat acute calcium deficiency. This is because plants absorb nutrients best through leaves rather than roots. Leaf sprays can be easily made at home with seaweed or chamomile, and they will cost you almost nothing!
- Plaster application
Gypsum is a good method to stabilize soil pH value. It is a very fast acting supplement and does not increase or decrease the pH value. Make sure the plaster is evenly spread on the soil in the backyard, and then water it. Be sure to read the packaging instructions carefully before applying them to soil.
- Ground oyster shell
Oyster shell powder is another organic and simple way to add calcium to soil. Unfortunately, its solubility is very low. This means that several years have passed before it is fully absorbed and effective. To make oyster shell powder, you must fully dry the shells, and then use a processor to make them into fine powder. Spread the powder on the soil and add a little water.
- Wood ash
This is an excellent source of calcium, especially if it is hardwood ash. However, it does tend to significantly increase pH, but is not as effective as lime in this property.
- Bone meal
It is made of finely ground bones and is an excellent additive to increase calcium levels. However, its work is very slow, and it needs more than a complete growth season to give full play to its potential.
There are many ways to add more calcium to plants. We mentioned the eight simplest and most popular methods above. Although the symptoms seem simple and the diagnosis seems easy to make, you should always use the soil test before deciding on treatment for calcium deficiency, just in case this is not the problem.