Just as calcium is needed in humans to build strong bones and teeth, it is also essential in plants, especially for rigid cell walls. So, let’s talk about how to increase calcium in the soil.
One secondary macronutrient required by plant soil is calcium. Even though calcium isn’t needed in quantities as the general nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus (NPK) are needed: calcium is still essential for the optimal growth of a plant.
Calcium is important for the proper development of plants and any deficiencies of calcium in the plant can cause stunted or weak growth. Therefore, proper supply of calcium in the soil is essential for optimal development. So let’s dive in and learn how to increase calcium in the soil.
Importance Of Calcium In Soil
Of the many important minerals in the soil, calcium is one of them. Here is some of the importance of calcium in soil:
- Calcium assists in keeping the plant upright. Hence it plays a crucial role in soil structure.
- Calcium is required for plant support and it is required for building a strong cell wall and cell membrane.
- It also provides transport for other materials.
- Calcium helps with better water penetration.
- Calcium also helps lowers salinity levels in the soil.
Deficiency Of Calcium
The deficiency of calcium can cause some adverse effects in plants and they include:
- Blossoms and buds may begin to shed prematurely.
- Plant tip burns.
- Blossom end rot.
- Improper levels of calcium in the soil can also cause the shelf life of some fruits such as tomatoes and cantaloupes to reduce drastically.
- Calcium deficiency may even lead to the death of a plant.
Add Calcium To Soil
Calcium is usually added to soil to increase calcium levels or prevent calcium deficiency. Deficiency in calcium in the soil is easily solved through appropriate nutrition or through calcium supplements for plants. Supplying the soil with good quality calcium sources will assist in mitigating calcium deficiencies.
How To Increase Calcium In Soil
The first thing to determine if your soil is low in calcium is to do soil testing. Soil testing will let you have an idea of the amount to add to increase calcium in the soil. If you’ve already begun planting, you can also notice low calcium levels by noticing any deficiency in your plant. So here are ways on how to increase calcium in soil:
1. Soil Additives
If you plan on using soil additives to add calcium to your soil, it’s advisable you test your soil pH. When you do this, it will help you determine the type of soil additive to use. The two most common soil additives used are gypsum and lime.
You can purchase these at any garden, lawn, or home improvement store. You can as well obtain them from Amazon.
To maintain the soil pH levels the same way they are while adding calcium, then you should make use of gypsum. However, if the pH needs to be increased, lime addition is recommended.
2. Addition Of Eggshell To Soil
The eggshell contains adequate calcium that many types of plants can benefit from. Therefore, you can apply some eggshells to the soil. But before adding eggshells to the soil, put the eggshell in an empty container for a few days then add them to your soil.
Ensure the eggshells are as dry as possible so store them in a coffee tin or storage container. After doing this and they have dried, grind them in a blender or food processor. Since they are dried, it should be easy for the eggshell to grind up easily.
The ground eggshell should have a similar consistency as coffee grounds or flower grounds. If then eggshells are blended to a finer consistency, it will be easier for the soil to absorb the calcium in them.
Make use of your hands or tilling machine to mix the eggshell powder into the soil. Do this at least a week before you begin to plant. This is to ensure the soil is in peak growing condition.
However, if you’ve already started planting, just spread the blended eggshell carefully around your plants’ soil.
Once you’ve done this, ensure you keep a close eye on the growth of your plant. You can always add more eggshell powder several weeks later depending on the progress your plant exhibits.
Absorption of calcium in the blended eggshells can take as long as 6 to 12 months for certain plants. So if you notice your plants are already growing pretty well, it may not be necessary to add extra eggshell powder.
3. Bone Meal
Bone meal is a high phosphate fertilizer and can be used o increase calcium in the soil. it is slow releasing and less soluble. The bone meal should be used for soil that requires raising its pH moderately.
4. Epsom Salts
Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. Adding Epsom salt is a great way of increasing the calcium levels in the soil.
5. Foliar Spray
Foliar spray commercially sold is the fastest solution for serious calcium deficiency. This is because the plants will assimilate the nutrient more easily through leaves and roots. Foliar spray can also be made at home from using chamomile or seaweed.
Too Much Calcium In Soil
Calcium may also be in excess in the soil. Once there’s excess calcium in your soil, your soil pH tends to increase meaning the soil becomes too alkaline. This may lead to disturbance in ion balance.
So, always ensure you add the right amount of calcium required to your soil. Always do appropriate soil testing to have an idea of the right quantity of calcium to add to your soil.
How To Increase Calcium In Soil: Conclusion
There are many ways on how to increase calcium in the soil and we’ve listed some for you. Test your soil to know if they require calcium addition. Also, when adding calcium to your soil, ensure you add the appropriate quantity so your plant can enjoy successful growth.