What comes to your mind when someone talks about baking soda? Probably a quick fix to make the dough ready for instant pizza at home. You might know how it takes away odors from the fridge. Sodium bicarbonate has something to do in the Chemistry lab, too, right? Well, that is right, but there’s much more to it than you think.
It is a proven disinfectant and cleaner and has extensive uses in cleaning at home. Its chemical properties become even more useful when you take it to the garden. Need a substitute for pesticides? Or are you trying to kill gnats in your yard? Baking soda can do the trick. Are you trying to curb ant infestations? Baking soda comes to the rescue. The list goes on and on.
Read on, and you’ll understand how you have been storing a magic box you only used to rise doughs. For most, it will become an indispensable asset while gardening. It might become a permanent member of your gardening kit by the end of this article.
21 Brilliant Ways To Use Baking Soda In Your Garden
1. Use as a Pesticide
Pesticides have become a necessary evil. You can’t simply avoid using them no matter how the environment-conscious you are. Bugs and pests can eat up the nutrients and make your soil hollow. Excessive use of pesticides might also result in poisoning in the ground.
But bet you’d never have thought the solution for all that is hiding in plain sight. You just have to mix two tablespoons of baking soda, a tablespoon of olive oil and some liquid soap in one-gallon water to make an effective pesticide. Pour the solution in a spray bottle, and you have your most inexpensive pesticide to date. Spray every three days to keep the pests away.
2. Curbing Ant Infestations
No one cares about an ant or two wandering in their yard unless it’s something of an underground gang of ants. Your kids unaware of this gang might just step on their heart of territory and get shot down, not literally, of course.
Make a magic antidote by mixing five teaspoons of baking soda, a teaspoon of sugar, and five spoons of confectioners sugar. The sugar sets the trap and attracts the aunts while the baking soda will poison them on ingestion. Pour it directly on anthills and complete the job by pouring a little vinegar on top.
3. Treat Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew forming on leaves is a common problem in humid areas. The fungus feeds on your plant’s nutrients and can kill your plants before you can react. If you’ve been suffering from this problem for long, it’s a surprise you don’t know about baking soda’s effectiveness yet.
Make a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp dish wash liquid, with a gallon of water. Put the solution in a sprayer and spray weekly or as per requirement. Baking soda disrupts the ion balance in fungus and kills it quickly.
Make sure you dilute the solution properly to avoid burning your plants. If used before the damage, the mixture will prevent forming of Mildew on your favorite Cucumber, zinnias, squash, and such plants.
4. Treat Black Spot Fungus
You need to be wary of the products you use for the maintenance of your plants. If they are abrasive, they might hurt your plants more than the actual danger. When treating black spot fungus in roses and grapevines, you need to make sure the disinfectant doesn’t kill the spores along with the fungus.
Mix 4 teaspoons of baking soda in a gallon of water before the blooming season. Applying baking soda at such a time diminishes the effects of fungal diseases without hurting the spores. It changes the pH level of the leaves, making it difficult for fungus to attack.
5. Stimulate Flowering
Plants, just like pets and humans, are quite selective. You can’t just expect every plant in your yard to grow the same way. This is why we segregate plants based on their preferences. Plants like Geranium, Hydrangea, and Begonia grow well in alkaline soil.
But how do you grow them if your soil isn’t alkaline enough? Your all-purpose friend baking soda will come to the rescue again. The alkaline solution is a useful monthly tonic that can aid the blooming of flowers in these plants. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with about 2 quarts of water and pour the diluted solution directly on the soil.
6. Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresh
Your date has just given you a flower which you want to keep with you for long. But get over that old idea of keeping the fresh symbol of love in a book. Make a solution by mixing two tablespoons of baking soda in two quarts of water.
Pour the diluted solution in your flower vase and keep the cut flowers fresh for longer. Change the solution every couple of days and impress your date when they next turn up your home. They will genuinely feel amazed and particular as to how did you keep those fresh.
7. Freshen Garden Recycle Bins
I like to keep my garden organized and keep my recycle bins to put the waste. Moist weeds in the green recycle bins can turn the bin smelly in just a week’s time. Here is a simple yet effective hack to keep the smell bearable for long.
Add a thick layer of baking soda at the bottom of the bin and whoof! The smell is gone and would take longer to come back. You can also use this technique in your kitchen and home dustbins.
8. Clean Garden Furniture
The Garden is a great place to chill and relax. It gets all the more relaxing when you have a couple of comfy armchairs and a table to put your cold beer on. The experience, though, gets a bit dull if your furniture doesn’t look as fresh as the garden does.
And understandably, constant sunlight and moisture can make your garden furniture look dingy over time. Breathe new life into your outdoor furniture with a cleaning solution made of baking soda. Mix a tablespoon of dishwashing soap and half cup baking soda with one-liter warm water.
Clean your furniture thoroughly, paying particular attention to the nooks and corners. Apply a thick paste of baking soda and soap on hard to remove stains. Avoid using this on metal parts, though, as it can corrode metal.
9. Cleaning The Birdbath
The thing about using cleaning agents outdoors is that it can have adverse effects on flora and fauna there. The birdbath is one such place that you need to clean often but won’t want to risk harming the birds due to abrasive or toxic cleaning agents.
Make a paste of castile soap and baking soda and rub it well along the birdbath to make it look fresh and new. It can also remove sticky stains, dirt, and debris white effectively. Use a scrubbing brush in case the situation demands a bit more aggression and force.
Just rinse once and refill the bath with water. Baking soda doesn’t leave any toxic residue, and the birds will be completely safe.
10. Produce Sweeter Tomatoes
Eating self-grown fruits and vegetables is cool and all, but it won’t provide you satisfaction unless your crops are better or at least similar to the market quality. A lot of people complain about homegrown tomatoes being sour. You might be missing the baking soda trick.
Baking soda reduces the acidity of the soil and helps make the crops sweeter. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda all over your tomato crops. Water it properly and add a bit of Epsom salt too. Less acidity will result in more sweetness. If you want to increase the acidity for some of your crops, add some coffee ground on those plants.
11. Use It As An Acidity Tester
You don’t need any fancy equipment or test solutions to check the pH levels of your soil. Testing the pH level of the soil is essential since both too much acidity and too much basicity can hamper your plant’s mineral absorption.
You would need half cup vinegar, half cup water, a tablespoon of baking soda, and two soil samples from your yard. Pour vinegar in one of the soil cups and see what happens. If bubbles come out, it’s alkaline. If it doesn’t, pour some diluted baking soda solution in the other cup.
If bubbles start coming out, your soil has a pH level of below 7. Reduce the acidity in your soil by adding baking soda. Keep testing weekly until the ground starts bubbling in the baking soda test.
12. Kill Spider Mites And Aphids In The Yard
Spider mites are incredibly dangerous to your plant and can suck the nutrients out of them. Baking soda can kill these filthy insects while keeping the beneficial insects safe. Perhaps baking soda is the good guy everyone needs in their garden.
Make a spider mite repellant spray by mixing ⅔ cup olive oil and a teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water. Spray the solution every couple of days until your garden is free of mites. It can also kill other harmful insects. Keep the oil in a cool area as too much heat can make the solution rancid.
13. Kill Gnats In The Yard
Gnats are like little monsters, especially if you have a pet at home. They can carry bacteria that can cause serious infection when they bite your pet. Gnat bites are a common cause of worry for dog-owners as it turns into an allergy and can be painful too.
If your compost pit or pile leaves are the sources of gnats, spray a solution of 4 teaspoons baking soda and gallon water over it. You can also add a small amount of biodegradable soap to make the process more effective. Spray the solution regularly until your gnat problem has solved.
14. Getting Rid Of Cabbage Worms
Eating cabbages, cauliflowers, and broccoli is quite beneficial as well as easy since you can add them to a lot of dishes. But planting them is quite challenging. And nothing can be more disappointing than finding that cabbage worms have eaten up your time and effort.
Protect your cabbages with a mixture of baking soda and white flour in equal amounts. Dust your crops with the mixture twice a week to kill cabbage worms and prevent them from entering again.
15. Killing Crabgrass And Weeds
Cutting off weeds is a tiring and time-taking process. But baking soda can kill these harmful weeds and even prevent them from growing back quickly. Just sprinkle water on the crabgrass and other weeds using a water hose. Apply a large amount of baking soda at the base of the weeds.
Make a mixture of baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar and apply it directly on the weed’s leaves. It will burn harmful weeds like dandelions, poison ivy, crabgrass, and such weeds quickly. Beware that the mixture can also burn other plant parts, so you should cover those while applying it.
16. Clean Garden Walkways
Do you want to clean your dirty walkways before your guests arrive in an hour? Save yourself some time for other preparation and leave the cleaning task to baking soda. Make a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda per liter of water.
Rinse the whole walkway and clean it up with a mop. If the stains don’t go away by rinsing, apply some thick baking soda paste and scrub the area with a thick bristled broom vigorously. Make sure that you don’t spill the solution on the lawn, though, as the combination of baking soda and hot water might just burn your grasses and bushes.
17. Reduce Compost Odour
Living in a sustainable and natural way is undoubtedly the way forward. But you might start doubting your decision when you first come close to your compost pit. The odor is so bad; it gets unbearable at times.
Fortunately, a bit of baking soda can significantly reduce the odor apart from lowering the acidity. Don’t add too much of it, though, or the decomposition process might considerably slow down.
18. Shine Your Houseplants
Big-leaved houseplants are challenging to clean as a little bit of force can break those enormous yet tender leaves. Moreover, you can’t use chemical disinfectants and shiners that might harm them. Use a bit of baking soda instead to make them as good as new.
Sprinkle baking soda and spray some warm water before wiping it out with a soft microfiber cloth. The plants will be much grateful to you, and the shine says it all.
19. Clean Your Hands After Gardening
Its use in every stage of the gardening process makes baking soda such an indispensable asset in the garden. From cleaning the walkways to killing the pests and weeds to washing your hands, baking soda is everywhere.
Gardening can be a fun but tiring experience and will leave you all messy. End your long day in the yard by getting rid of sticky dirt and soil using baking soda. Coat your wet hands in baking soda and rinse it all again. You can use a nail brush to remove stubborn dirt hiding under the nails.
20. Rejuvenate Your Plants
The summer heat is unforgiving and who knows it better than your outdoor plants. Their food source becomes their worst enemy, and the freshest of your roses will start going all dull in searing heat. Too much direct sunlight can also slow down the blooming process.
Rejuvenate your plants and perk them up using this natural solution of ammonia and baking soda. Mix ½ teaspoon of ammonia, a teaspoon of baking soda and some Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Spray it all over your plants and be more generous to those roses which look lackluster. The spray works on all plants and is a must-have in the summer months.
21. Treating Sunburn
If you’re completely amazed at the various uses of baking soda on plants, get ready to be floored. Baking soda can treat your sunburn too! A long day in the garden under the scorching summer heat can suck the life out of the gardener. Even the best of sunglasses and sunhat can’t save you from the painful sunburn at times.
But don’t worry. Just add half a cup of baking soda into your warm bath water and rest in it for about half an hour. Add another little bit of baking soda into your sun lotion and shed the sunburn effectively.
Baking soda, as you have learned, is a must-have for gardeners. But you should check the strength of the solution on a small part before applying it to all of your crops. Moreover, while it’s an effective pesticide as a home remedy, it’s not the end of your garden maintenance. Leaving everything to it might result in irreparable damage, so use it only as a substitute at times.