Examine the Essentials: Calcium
Poor, underappreciated calcium. Is it because its chemical symbol has 2 letters, and N-P-K-Ca doesn’t have the same ring as N-P-K? Whatever the reason, we at Garden Maker™ Naturals consider calcium the hidden fourth cornerstone of plant nutrition. Calcium is extremely important for root development and cell wall strength; strong cells make for strong plants. It is also instrumental in nutrient uptake or transport, ensuring plants can take in the nutrition they need from the soil, which also improves plant vigor.
Calcium deficiency can be hard to diagnose because it often affects the roots first. But if you’ve ever had blight or blossom end rot on your tomatoes or peppers, the blackened dead tissue is a major symptom of calcium deficiency. Brown surface spots on apples, sometimes called “bitter pits” can also indicate a need for more calcium in the soil. Of course, as with any nutrient, there is such a thing as too much calcium. If you’ve got a garden full of acid-loving plants, apply with caution - too much calcium in the soil can increase pH to more alkaline levels.
One little quirk about calcium is that once it has settled in a cell of a plant, it stays there. Unlike other nutrients, calcium doesn’t move from older tissues to new ones clamoring for calcium. So a steady supply (aka thoughtful reapplication) of calcium-containing fertilizer throughout the growing season will ensure that your plants are able to absorb ample calcium whenever it is needed. Strong calcium levels can be found in several Garden Maker™ Naturals Meat & Bone Meal, Alfalfa Meal, and NaturalPhos™ Steamed Bone Meal, and several of our Signature Blends.