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7 surprising uses of baking Soda in the garden

What Is baking soda?

Baking soda is a simple, natural product that is made of sodium bicarbonate. It s highly alkaline in nature. When it is combined with an acidic substance, it produces carbon dioxide gas.  Baking soda is a very common kitchen house hold item used primarily for baking and other household activities. There's a high possibility that you have this cheap substance lying idle in your kitchen. Let me quickly teach you how to effectively use baking soda in your garden to prevent disease, repel rodents and insects and lots more. Read on!

1. Keep Pests and Insects away from your Plants

Kill ants, cockroaches and other insects with baking soda

Just sprinkle a little amount of baking soda on your soil with a flour sifter to keep ants, cockroaches and slugs away from your garden. (Be sure to avoid your plants!) It's a safe way to keep beneficial insects around and say goodbye to the ones that are causing harm to your lovely plants.

2. Prevent Fungal Disease

Baking soda effective against fungal diseases of plants

Baking soda is an excellent remedy against fungal diseases that affect plants. Nothing can be more frustrating on a beautiful plant than downey mildrew or leaf rust. Give this natural remedy a try. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2-3 drops of liquid soap in 1 liter of water. Spray this solution on the infected plants or leaves. Baking soda helps the plants to become less acidic and prevents fungal growth.

3. Effective weed killer

Baking soda weed killer

Bring beauty back to your sidewalks. Simply sprinkle baking soda into cracks where weeds appear and on unwanted plant. The baking soda alone should kill any small weeds and prevent new ones from sprouting back up. Nb:Please don't apply baking soda directly on your plants. You can also try mixing 2 tablespoons of bicarb with a litre of water and spraying this onto the weeds using a spray bottle.

4. DIY Soil Acidity Test

Baking soda soil test

If you have a bottle of baking soda, you have a very cheap and effective way to test for acidity or alkalinity levels of your soil. As a gardener, you definitely need to conduct this test because some plants need acidic soil to grow and thrive; others need neutral soil, and still others need their soil to be in the alkaline range. This simple test can give you a good idea of which of these three ranges your soil falls within.

How to conduct the test

  1. Collect around two cups of soil. If testing a large garden bed, mix samples from a few locations. If you are interested in one particular area in the interest of growing a specific acid- or alkaline-loving plant, then only sample from the target area.

  2. Split the sample into two equal samples.

    • To test for alkalinity: Pour one-half cup of vinegar into the soil. If the soil bubbles, it means that there are substantial alkaline substances in the soil that are reacting with the acid (the vinegar). The pH of the soil is therefore above seven.

    • To test for acidity: Pour one-half cup of water into the soil and stir. The soil should be quite wet and muddy. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to the soil and water, then stir. If this sample bubbles, it means there are necessary and substantial acidic components in the soil that are reacting with the alkali (baking soda). The pH of the soil is therefore below seven.

5. Reduce Soil Acidity

Reduce soil acidity with baking soda

This tip follows from the previous soil test tip. Once you've had a general perception about your soil pH, if your soil turns out to be too acidic for the plants you want to grow, you can use baking soda to help bring that pH level up to a neutral or alkaline range.

This process of increasing soil pH with baking soda is fairly simple but requires a little patience. Spread a thin layer of baking soda over the surface of your soil. It is helpful to work the soil into the ground a few inches. Watering will also help work the baking soda into your soil but do so gently. Start with a small amount, wait a week or two, and then test the soil again. If further amendment is needed, work another application of baking soda into the soil. Repeat until you have achieved your desired result.

6. Control Compost Odor

Baking soda is great for getting smells under control outside and inside too.

You can use baking soda to calm down the smell of your compost pile. Simply sprinkle dry baking soda over, in, and around your compost heap; or, you can add one tablespoon of baking soda to a gallon of water and pour this over your pile. This won’t harm the beneficial microorganisms at work, however try not to add too much of baking soda or apply it too often. This can upset the natural balance of your soil.

7. Use Baking Soda to Make a Plant Fertilizer

Use baking soda to make plant fertilizer

Baking soda on its own can’t be used to fertilize plants, but you can use it with other products to make a good replacement for inorganic fertilizer.

simply combine 1 tablespoon of epsom salt with a teaspoon of baking soda and a half teaspoon of Ammonium hydroxide(household ammonia). Put this mixture into a gallon of water and mix well. Use it once a month on your plants by mixing a 1/8 -1/4 of the concentrate with 4 cups of water in a watering can.

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