Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile household item that can also be a valuable tool in the garden. Here are some ways it can benefit your gardening efforts:
- Ant Deterrent: Sprinkle baking soda around areas where you see ant activity, then moisten it with a little water. The ants will generally avoid the treated areas.
- Slugs and Snails: Sprinkle a barrier of baking soda around plants that slugs and snails like to munch on. They will avoid crossing the baking soda due to its abrasive texture and alkaline pH.
Fungus and Mold Treatment:
- Mildew and Black Spot: Mix baking soda with water and a little bit of soap to make a spray that can help prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew and black spot on roses. Spray this solution on the affected plants.
- Leaf Spot Diseases: A baking soda spray can also help combat leaf spot diseases due to its antifungal properties.
- Cracks and Crevices: Sprinkle baking soda into the cracks on your patio, deck, or driveway where weeds often sprout. Water it in, and the alkaline conditions will generally inhibit weed growth.
- Sweeten Tomatoes: Some gardeners believe that sprinkling baking soda on the soil around tomato plants can help reduce acidity, resulting in sweeter tomatoes.
- Flower Bloom Enhancer: A sprinkling of baking soda around alkaline-loving flowering plants like geraniums and hydrangeas can improve blossom quality and color.
- Garden Tools: Use a paste made from baking soda and water to scrub rust and grime off garden tools. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
- Plant Pots: Soak plant pots in a baking soda solution to clean them and remove any built-up mineral deposits.
- Bird Baths and Feeders: Use a baking soda solution to scrub algae and grime from bird baths and feeders. Rinse well before refilling.
- Soil Test: While not a replacement for a professional soil test, you can use baking soda to get a general idea of your soil’s pH. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on moist soil. If it fizzes, your soil is acidic.
- Avoid Overuse: Baking soda is alkaline and can alter the pH of your soil, so use it judiciously. Excessive use can lead to poor plant growth.
- Spot Test: Before using a baking soda spray on your plants, test it on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t harm the leaves or foliage.
By using baking soda in these various ways, you can effectively handle some of the most common garden problems without resorting to chemical solutions. However, always remember to use it cautiously to prevent any adverse effects on your plants.