The numerous uses for baking soda in the home are well-known. But uses for baking soda in the garden exist as well. Aside, of course, from acting as a leavening agent in baked goods, baking soda can help you clean surfaces and are particularly effective against soap scum that sticks to the sides of sinks and bathtubs.
It has also proven to be useful for stain-removal, and some even use the humble powder to whiten their teeth.
Uses for baking soda in the garden
Perhaps you are already using baking soda for a variety of purposes in your home. You may not be aware, however, that it is also very handy in your garden. There are a variety of ways that you can use baking soda to help your flower beds and vegetable patches thrive.
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Help Keep the Critters Away
If you want to keep bugs and pests away from your garden without applying chemical pesticides, use baking soda instead. Try mixing one tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a couple of drops of liquid soap with a gallon of water. Gently spray this mixture garden every three days to keep the bugs away.
Baking soda can also be used to reduce the ant population around your home if you are having difficulties with ant infestations. Simply mix five teaspoons of baking soda with five teaspoons of confectioner’s sugar and one tablespoon of water. Pour this mixture on any anthills you find, and add a little bit of vinegar. The sugar will attract the ants, but the baking soda and vinegar will be fatal to them.
Cabbage worms can also be a problematic pest for any garden. To get rid of them, mix an equal amount of flour and baking soda, and dust any produce you may be growing with it. The worms will try to eat the plants, but the mixture will kill them if they do.
Alternatively, you can try sprinkling baking soda on your soil (while avoiding your plants) to keep critters at bay.
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Clean garden decorations
Baking soda’s cleaning powers extend beyond your kitchen and bathroom. You can easily clean your garden decorations without harming the animals that visit your garden by sprinkling baking soda on them and then wiping it off with a damp cloth.
Similarly, if you have a stone walkway that’s beginning to look a little grimy, you can wash them with a quart of warm water and two tablespoons of baking soda. Dip a brush into the liquid and scrub those stains away.
If you have indoor plants that tend to gather dust, you can shine them up a bit by gently wiping them with the same mixture of baking soda and water.
Improve the Taste and Look of your Plants
If you plant your tomatoes in soil that is less acidic, they will taste sweeter. To achieve this, all you have to do is sprinkle a little bit of baking soda in the soil around your tomato plants, and you’ll be able to enjoy juicy, sweet tomatoes.
There are also some flowers that grow better in alkaline soil. Lilies, iris’s, geraniums, and daisies, are just a few examples of flowers that thrive in these conditions. Before watering them, mix a little baking soda into the watering can. You will notice that after doing this, your flowers will be brighter and healthier.
You can also use baking soda to improve the look of your flowers. If you like to cut bouquets to bring inside, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking soda to the water in the vase to keep them looking lively for longer.
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Get Rid of Fungus, Mildew, and Weeds
Baking soda can be used to make an effective fungicide, if you live in a damp climate and struggle with fungus growing on your plants. Four teaspoons of baking soda mixed into one gallon of water can be applied to problem areas to get rid of any fungus growing in your garden.
This approach also works well against mildew. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with 2.5 tablespoons of horticultural oil and one gallon of water, and spray the mixture on your plants, particularly fruits and vegetables, to give them a protective layer against mildew.
If weeds are a problem, particularly those pesky crab grasses that grow between the cracks in your walkways, all you have to do is moisten the area and apply a thick layer of baking soda so that it forms a thick paste. Sweep the paste into any cracks that exist, and you will get rid of those weeds once and for all.
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Treat your Compost and Test your Soil
If you’d like to know what the pH of your soil is, there’s an easy way to test it without having to purchase a pH kit. First, have half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar ready. Then, get two samples of soil and place them into separate containers. Pour your vinegar into one of the samples, and watch if it bubbles. If it does, that means the pH of the soil is above seven, and therefore alkaline. If it doesn’t, take your other sample and add baking soda with half a cup of water. If it bubbles this time, that means that the pH is below seven, and therefore somewhat acidic.
If you are using your own compost in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, you are most likely familiar with the intense odor that it can produce. To help decrease the smell, sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on top of the pile. Be careful not to put on too much, however, as you could risk slowing down the decomposition process.
A Better Solution
If you are looking for ways to improve your garden this spring and summer, but are fed up with having to use synthetic chemicals to control pests and increase yields, try using baking soda. It’s inexpensive, easy to find, and is much safer for your health and the health of your garden.