- Have you ever thought of cleaning with bicarb soda? It truly is magical stuff!
- 1. Cleans your chopping boards
- 2. Cleans your dishes
- Anyone have a part time job available?
- Anger management
- How do I give an awesome blowie?
- 3. Removes stains from your kitchen bench top
- 4. Deodorises your fridge and pantry
- 5. Deodorises your garbage and recycling bin
- 6. Cleans dirty saucepans and Tupperware
- 7. Cleans stainless steel sink
- 8. Takes out coffee and tea stains
- 9. Polishes silverware (and jewellery)
- 10. Boosts your laundry detergent
- 11. Absorbs bad odours
- 12. Whitens your tile grout
- 13. Cleans the toilet
- 14. Cleans dull baby bottles
- 15. Takes out smell in shoes
- 16. Cleans stuffed animals
- 17. Deodorises sock/underwear drawers
- 18. Removes crayon on the walls
- 19. Removes odours from the sofa
- 20. Deodorises your pets and their environment
- Sweet Tomatoes – Baking Soda in the Soil is the Trick
- Use Baking Soda to Get Sweet Tomatoes
- What Is Baking Soda?
- Ways to Use Baking Soda in the Garden – Projects, Tests and Remedies
- Fungicides for various plant diseases.
- Baking Soda as a General Garden Grime Buster
- Use it to make a plant fertilizer
- Getting Rid of Weeds
- Baking Soda for Soil Testing
- Baking Soda Bug Repellents
- Baking Soda for Plants
- Baking Soda to treat Poison Ivy
- Treating Sunburn
- Things to consider when using baking soda in the garden
- Make A Non-Toxic Fungicide
- Spray To Treat And Prevent Powdery Mildew
- Test Soil pH Without Kits
- Discourage Weeds
- Kill Cabbage Worms
- Kill Crabgrass
- Clean Your Hands And Other Things
- Baking soda as a pesticide
- Gives boost to Plant growth
- Test pH of garden soil
- Clean garden furniture
- As natural fungicide
- Make tomatoes sweeter
- Prevents mildew on leaves
- As pot cleaner
- Clean fruits and vegetables
- Keep soil fresher
- Kill cabbage worms
- Do you know you can use baking soda for plants? Here are 17 hacks that will teach you how to use baking soda in the garden effectively.
- Baking Soda Uses in the Garden
- 2. Clean Garden Furniture
- 3. Give Plants a Boost
- 4. Keep the Smell of Compost away
- 5. Clean Bird Bath and Pots
- 6. Get Rid of Slugs
- 7. Encourage Plants to Bloom
- 8. Sweeter Tomatoes
- 9. Acidic Soil
- 10. Kill Cabbage Worms
- 11. Test Soil pH
- 12. Use it as a Pesticide
- 13. Prevent Mildew and Other Fungal Diseases
- 14. Weed Killer
- 15. Clean the Walkways
- 16. For Cut Flowers
- 17. Clean dirty hands
- Precautions When Using Baking Soda in the Garden
- Is Baking Soda Good FOr Plants? How Can These Properties Be Helpful In Your Garden?
- 6 Ways To Use Baking Soda For Plants Plants
- 4 Baking Soda Recipes to Cure and Prevent Plant Fungal Diseases
- 8 Ways to Use Baking Soda For Garden Pests: Discourage and Eliminate Pests Naturally
- 2 Ways to Use Baking Soda to Combat Weeds
- 10 Ways to Clean Up Around Your Yard and Garden With Baking Soda
- Precautions When Using Baking Soda In The Garden
- What Are The Drawbacks of Using Baking Soda In The Garden?
- 1. Use it as a pesticide
- 2. Testing the pH of your garden soil
- 3. Clean garden furniture, bird baths and clay pots
- 4. Get more beautiful blooms
- 5. Eliminate slugs
- 6. Make your tomatoes sweeter
- 7. Rejuvenate your plants
- 8. Kill crabgrass and discourage weeds
- 9. Eradicate cabbage worms
- 10. Smelly compost
- 11. Preventing mildewing on leaves
- 12. Clean up walkways
- 13. Clean dirty hands
- How to Get Rid of Crabgrass Using Baking Soda
- Further tips to consider
- How does baking soda kill weeds?
- Other benefits for your lawn
- Possible side effects
- Sodium Bicarbonate In Gardens: Using Baking Soda On Plants
- Sodium Bicarbonate in Gardens
- Using Sodium Bicarbonate on Plants
- Is Baking Soda Good for Plants?
Have you ever thought of cleaning with bicarb soda? It truly is magical stuff!
Here are some magical ways you can use the humble bicarb soda (sodium bicarbonate, baking soda) to clean and deodorise your house!
1. Cleans your chopping boards
via Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticssponge
Wooden and plastic boards can be refreshed by giving them a scrub with a paste of a tablespoon each of bicarb, salt and water. Rinse the boards afterwards.
2. Cleans your dishes
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Add a couple of tablespoons to the sink with your dishwashing liquid or add in to your dishwasher with your normal tablet or powder to cut through grease and grime. Deodorise your dishwasher by sprinkling some bicarb in the bottom between washes.
3. Removes stains from your kitchen bench top
Make a paste of 2 parts bicarb to 1 part water and apply to stains on your bench tops, gently rubbing in a circular motion, then wipe clean.
4. Deodorises your fridge and pantry
Just sit an open box of bicarb or some in an open jar in the fridge or pantry for up to 6 months to absorb food odours. Discard it down the sink to give the drain a quick clean and freshen up.
5. Deodorises your garbage and recycling bin
Wipe the inside of your bin with a damp cloth sprinkled with bicarb, then rinse. Once dry, you can sprinkle a little bicarb in the bottom to keep it smelling fresh.
6. Cleans dirty saucepans and Tupperware
A sprinkle of bicarb, topped with hot water and an overnight soak will get burnt food off saucepans and funky smells and stains off plastics.
A sprinkle of bicarb, topped with hot water and an overnight soak will get burnt food off saucepans and funky smells and stains off plastics.
7. Cleans stainless steel sink
Wet your sink, sprinkle baking soda over the surface, scrub, and then rinse before lining the sink with vinegar-soaked paper towel for 20mins. Use a soft toothbrush with a bicarb paste to scrub sink rim and caulk. Your sink will sparkle.
8. Takes out coffee and tea stains
Put teapots, coffee plungers, pots and mugs in sink with 1 part bicarb to 4 parts water. Soak for 15 minutes and rinse.
9. Polishes silverware (and jewellery)
Make a paste by mixing bicarb with a little water and dip with a soft toothbrush and polish the silver or jewellery gently before rinsing clean.
10. Boosts your laundry detergent
via Appliances Online
For whiter whites and brighter colours, add ½ cup (top loader) or ¼ cup (front loader) bicarb to your wash, you may also need less detergent as bicarb softens the water.
11. Absorbs bad odours
Instead of using air freshener, grab a dish or jar (decorate if you like) fill with ½ cup bicarb and a few drops of essential oil and sit it near the toilet. Replace every three months, tip it down the sink to give the drain a quick clean and freshen up.
12. Whitens your tile grout
Make a paste of equal parts lemon juice, vinegar and bicarb and scrub grout with a soft toothbrush then rinse.
13. Cleans the toilet
Sprinkle with ½ cup bicarb, let sit for 30 minutes, spray with vinegar to moisten, then scrub and flush.
14. Cleans dull baby bottles
vua Serious Eats
Just add 3 tablespoons to a full pot of boiling water. Boil bottles for 3 minutes.
15. Takes out smell in shoes
Sprinkle some bicarb inside each shoe and leave overnight. Shake out excess powder in the morning and the smell will be gone.
16. Cleans stuffed animals
Sprinkle bicarb onto stuffed animals. Let it sit for 15 minutes then dust off.
17. Deodorises sock/underwear drawers
Put bicarb and a few drops of your favourite essential oil in a muslin cloth and secure with an elastic band. Your draws will smell lovely for months.
18. Removes crayon on the walls
via Good Housekeeping
Remove by sprinkling a wet sponge with bicarb and wiping walls.
19. Removes odours from the sofa
Sprinkle with bicarb, leave for a few hours and vacuum out.
20. Deodorises your pets and their environment
Litter trays just need a sprinkle of bicarb to absorb odours. Stinky animals just need a sprinkle with bicarb then brush out their fur.
Sweet Tomatoes – Baking Soda in the Soil is the Trick
Use Baking Soda to Get Sweet Tomatoes
Home grown tomatoes are nothing at all like those that you buy in the stores. Even the vine ripened ones can’t compare in taste to the sweetness of those you grow yourself. Here is a neat tip to get the most sweet tomatoes each year. Put normal baking soda to use. (affiliate link)
Just sprinkle a small amount baking soda (less than 1/4 cup per plant) on the soil around your tomato plants being careful not to get the soda on the plant itself. (you can also use 1 tsp in a gallon of water and water the plants that way!)
The baking soda absorbs into the soil and lowers the acidity levels. This will give you tomatoes that are more sweet than tart.
Be careful with young tomato plants and be sure to test on one plant before you try it on all of them. If your soil is already quite alkaline, you could alter it too much by adding too much baking soda.
Sprinkle the baking soda on the soil when the tomatoes are about 1 inch in diameter and then again when they are about half grown.
You can also do this with canned tomatoes when making sauce if you like. It will sweeten them without having to add extra sugar (and calories!)
Another use of the baking soda and tomatoes it to make an organic spray to treat tomato fungal disease.
Combine 1 gallon of water with 1 tbsp of baking soda and 2 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a spray bottle. Stir and add 1/2 tsp of castile soap. Spray this solution on the foliage of tomato plants until the fungal disease disappears.
For more gardening ideas, please visit The Gardening Cook on Facebook
We all know that we should keep a carton of baking soda in the fridge to take away odors. but there are so many other uses for it too, even in the garden! Baking soda in the garden is often used in various “green cleaning” techniques. It has so many uses in the house, so it makes sense that it would work outside too.
Anyone with kids has likely seen baking soda being used used in science classrooms. The scientific term for it is sodium bicarbonate. This product has specific chemical properties that make it a useful tool in the garden.
If you are a homemaker who likes to use kitchen hacks, you’ll likely have a box of baking soda in the back of your fridge to absorb odors and keep your fridge smelling great. Another box is probably in your pantry for use in baked goods.
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a simple, natural product that is made of sodium bicarbonate, which is highly alkaline. When it is combined with something acidic, it will produce carbon dioxide gas. In cooking, this causes the ingredients to rise which is why it is used for making bread.
The same concept also allows baking soda to be a good all around cleanser with mildly abrasive properties. It is great at absorbing odors. There are many ways that baking soda can be put to use in the home.
Even though baking soda is made of just one ingredient – sodium bicarbonate, that ingredient is a combination of carbon, sodium, hydrogen and oxygen. (57.1 percent sodium, 27.4 percent oxygen, 14.3 percent carbon and 1.2 percent hydrogen.)
The compound is a white powder that sometimes forms lumps. It is odorless and has a bitter, but slightly salty taste. It is solid at room temperature, and is able to be dissolved in water.
Uses for baking soda
The properties of the baking soda lend themselves to many uses around the home. One only has to look on line and ask what baking soda is good for to come up with all sorts of ways:
- To deodorize and absorb odors
- As a natural cleaner
- For health reasons
- For personal hygiene and care
- As a fire extinguisher!
- To soak fruit and veggies
Ways to Use Baking Soda in the Garden – Projects, Tests and Remedies
Not only can baking soda be used in cleaning and other ways in the home, it there are also many baking soda garden uses, as well. Here are some ways to use baking soda effectively in your garden.
These are some of the ways to use baking soda that we will discuss in the article below:
- Treating fungal and other diseases
- Natural outdoor cleaners
- Deodorizing Garden Tools
- Weed Killers
- Testing Soil for pH
- Insect repellents
- Reviving plants and flowers
- Treating sunburn
Each of these techniques can be used in several ways. Read on for more details.
Fungicides for various plant diseases.
There are several plant diseases that attack both flowers and vegetable plants which can be helped along by using baking soda, sometimes in combination with other ingredients and sometimes on its own. Let’s see what happens when we use it as a natural fungicide.
Rose black spot fungus
The compounds in baking soda seems to have the ability to prevent fungal spore flare ups, although it likely does not kill the spores themselves. To use baking soda as a fungicide, mix 4 tsp of baking soda with a gallon of water. Baking soda does seem to diminish the effects of fungal diseases on common ornamental and vegetable plants.
Use the mixture on roses (for black spot fungus) and also on grapes and vines when the fruit first begins to appear.
The solution works on black spot by helping to change the pH level on the leaves which makes it harder for the fungus to infect the plants.
Treating Powdery Mildew
Baking soda has long been used to treat powdery mildew on plants. It will act more as a preventative than a solution once the plant has been affected.
Powdery mildew can cause major problems in gardens with high humidity. It affects many plants but zinnias, impatiens, squash and cucumbers are often badly affected. Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda, 1 gallon of water, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of dish washing liquid. Mix and put in a sprayer. Use weekly. (try to use it when it is not too sunny)
As a fungicide, baking soda works by disrupting the ion balance in fungal cells. One does need to be careful using it around plants in case the leaves burn. Make sure that the solution is very well diluted before use.
Fungal Spray for Tomato Plants
Tomato plants are prone to all sorts of fungal diseases. Leaf spot and early blight are a couple of common ones. Mix it with vegetable oil to make an organic tomato spray to fight tomato fungal disease. It also works on powdery mildew on tomatoes.
To make the spray, combine a gallon of water with a tbsp of baking soda and 2 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a spray bottle. (the vegetable oil will help the spray adhere to the leaves. Stir and add 1/2 tsp of castile soap. Spray this solution on the foliage of tomato plants until the fungal disease disappears.
Be sure to test this on one or two leaves first and wait 48 hours before spraying your whole plant. The spray changes the pH level of the tomato plant and makes it harder for the fungus to take hold.
Baking Soda as a General Garden Grime Buster
Baking soda has long been used for general cleaning purposes. It absorbs odors and can be used alone or with other products as a cleaner in the garden and outside the home.
Baking soda is mildly alkaline which can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water so that you can remove it effectively. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it.
To Freshen Garden Recycle Bins
I use large garden recycling bins to hold my yard waste for trash pick up day. The city collects it and turns it into mulch. This can turn pretty smelly after a week especially if the weeds that are put into the bins are moist.
A thick layer of baking soda in the bottom of the bins goes a long way towards getting rid of the odors in garden bins and my normal garbage bins as well.
Baking soda hand cleaner/odor absorber
Clean your hands in warm soapy water and then rub baking soda on them after a day in the garden. Rinse well. The baking soda will help to absorb the odors.
Baking Soda to clean garden furniture
Moisture and UV sunlight rays can make resin or wood garden furniture look drab and dingy over the course of the summer. Use baking soda to breath new life into your outdoor furniture.
Mix a half cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of dish washing soap and a gallon of warm water. It will clean your garden furniture so that it looks like new! You can also use it on large plastic garden planters to clean them up, as well.
For really dirty outdoor items, make a mix of baking soda and castile soap into a paste and use it to clean. Don’t use baking soda on metal furniture, since it can cause corrosion.
Cleaning Clay Pots
Get rid of stubborn salt marks on clay pots by making a paste of baking soda and water. Add just enough water so that the mixture is the consistency of hand lotion.
Rub the solution on the salt marks and leave for 20 minutes and rinse. For more tips on cleaning clay pots, see this post.
Note on compost piles: I have seen other articles that suggests using baking soda to take away odors from a compost pile. Properly done, with the proper amount of browns and greens, a compost piles should not be full of odor.
Be very careful about using baking soda anywhere near or in your compost pile. The compounds in the baking soda can essentially break down the pile and make composting much slower.
Cleaning Your Potting Bench
Soil and used plant pots can transfer diseases from one plant to another. Many people do a lot of their work re-potting and planting on a potting bench. Over time this can have the potential to harbor disease.
Give the potting bench a good scrub down once a month. Combine four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water. Scrub down the top of the potting bench and then give it a good rinse.
Clean a bird bath
Baking soda is a very effective cleaning tool indoors and can also be used in the bird bath. It won’t harm birds and other wildlife as there are no toxic chemicals in it.
To clean the birdbath, just make a mix of baking soda and castile soap into a paste and rub it onto the bird bath surface. Use a scrubbing brush to get rid of dirt, grime, and other debris. It has a mildly abrasive effect to peel off stains, but won’t scratch surfaces.
Rinse and fill the birdbath with clean water. There will be no harmful residue absorbed by birdbath so it’s safe for birds after cleaning.
Also see my articles on cleaning a cement birdbath and using copper and alka seltzer to clean a bird bath.
Use it to make a 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 Miracle Grow fertilizer.
Just combine 1 tablespoon of epsom salt with a teaspoon of baking soda and a half teaspoon of household ammonia. Put this mixture into a gallon of water and still 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.
Getting Rid of Weeds
Many people like to use natural ways to control weeds. Laying down newspaper and using vinegar are tried and true methods. Baking soda also can be used to prevent weeds.
The product is effective used this way but it not permanent, since it does not have a residual effect the way actual poisons do.
Baking Soda Weed Killer – Preventer
Use baking soda full strength on weed in cracks on a patio or walkway. This will kill any small weeds sprouted and prevent new ones from growing.
For weeds in garden beds, moisten the weeds with water from a hose. Measure out a teaspoon of baking soda and sprinkle it evenly right on top of the foliage of the entire weed, not just in the center the center. Repeat for other weeds, being careful not to get the baking soda on desirable plants or grass.
Crabgrass can grow on lawns, in garden beds and in driveways. This trick works well for when your drive way has crab grass in it.
To kill crabgrass, wet the weed and pour a heavy dusting of baking soda on it. The crab grass will die back in a few days. (avoid the surrounding grass if you can.)
Baking Soda for Soil Testing
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity level present in soils. Soil pH levels range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 acidic and above 7 alkaline. The ideal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0.
There are soil testing kits available for purchase, but you can simply test your soil pH with baking soda and water. While the test is not totally accurate,it will give you some indication of your soil content and pH level. You will need both vinegar and baking soda. One tests for acidity and one for alkalinity.
For both tests, take a sample of soil about 6 inches below the surface of the garden. Remove any sticks and place 1 cup of the soil in two clean cups. Add enough water to turn the soil to mud.
To test for alkalinity, add 1/2 cup vinegar to one of the cups and stir. If the soil fizzes, foams and bubbles, the soil is likely alkaline with a soil pH above 7.
To test for acidity, Wet the soil and take a small amount of baking soda and sprinkle it onto soil. If the baking soda bubbles, your soil is acidic with a PH level under 7.
If neither soil fizzes, the pH of your soil is likely in the neutral range – 7.0. For more accurate test, contact your State Department of Agriculture. Many of these departments will test your soil for free.
Baking Soda Bug Repellents
Natural pest control methods are far less expensive than the purchase of pesticides, and they much safer for your garden and wildlife. Many garden pests do not like the smell and taste of baking soda and will avoid it so we can put it to good use in the garden to discourage pests in the garden.
Baking soda for Garden Pests
Ants, silverfish and cock roaches are just a few of the insects that don’t like baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on the soil in your garden. The insects that do not like it and will stay away. Kill slugs by putting it right on the pest. (don’t get it on the plants though.)
If you have ant mounds in your yard, dampen them with water and then sprinkle about 2 cups of baking soda on top of the mound. Wait for a half hour or so and pour a cup of vinegar on the mound, as well. This combination will kill most ants.
You can also make a bait with half baking soda and half sugar to control ants and roaches. If you place this mixture around your plants (not too near to them) it will kill any slugs that might crawl through it.
When baking soda is eaten by insects, it releases carbon dioxide bubbles in their system that will kill the pests.
Killing Cabbage Worms
These little caterpillars don’t just feast on cabbage leaves, they also love to eat other brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale in your vegetable garden, as well. To kill them, make a mixture of 50% white flour and 50% baking soda.
Photo credit Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
Put this mixture into a shaker container or a powder dispenser and dust the plants that are infested. The leaves of brassicas are thick and the mixture will not do damage to them but the caterpillars will eat it and soon die off.
Plant Insect Spray
Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 2 tablespoons of oil soap together. Pour the mixture into a bucket with 2 gallons of water. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir well.
Pour the mixture into a hand help sprayer. Mist the undersides and tops of plant leaves to control insects such as sap-sucking insects like aphids, mealybugs and scale.
Baking Soda for Plants
Anyone who gardens knows that flowers and other plants can sometimes feel the heat the way we do. Baking soda has a couple of uses to help in this regard.
Help Cut Flowers Stay Fresh Longer
There are many household items that will help cut flowers to last longer in water. (Aspirin and vinegar are also good for this use.)
Add a tablespoon of baking soda in two quarts of water. Change the solution every few days for best results and make a fresh cut on the stem end. You’ll find that your cut flowers last longer than in just plain water.
Rejuvenate Your Rose Bushes and other plants
Mix together one teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of clear ammonia and one teaspoon Epsom salt in a gallon of water. One gallon will treat four rose bushes that have lost their luster.
This spray will work on other plants that also are suffering a bit from the summer heat helping them to perk up and flower better.
Baking Soda to treat Poison Ivy
Anyone who spends a lot of time out in the garden has likely gotten a poison ivy rash. Heard the term “leaves of three, let them be?” Sometimes, a gardener can find themselves in a patch of it unknowingly.
If this happens, one effective home remedy uses baking soda. To treat poison ivy, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda to some bath water and soak in it. You can also make a paste by combining baking soda with apple cider vinegar or water and applying it to the rash to soothe the itch.
For other poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac remedies, check out this post.
Gardeners are often out in the sun for hours at a time and sunburn can take some of the pleasure out of the hobby, for sure. Even if you wear a sunhat and sunglasses, you may end up sore and burned. If you have suffered from too much sun and have a sunburn that hurts, try treating it with baking soda.
To enjoy the benefits of its sunburn relief, add ½ cup of baking soda to some warm bath water and soak in it for about thirty minutes. Adding some baking soda to your favorite after sun lotion will allow you to continue the relief after the bath is finished.
Another way to enjoy the heat relief benefits is to mix the baking soda with water into a paste and apply it directly to your skin. Place one half-cup of baking soda in a bowl, and add cool water until the mixture is thin enough to spread on your skin. Apply the mixture on the sunburn, and leave it on for around 15 minutes, then wash it off with cool water.
Things to consider when using baking soda in the garden
Use baking soda home made remedies carefully. Although they have been used by many with success, using the product in careless ways could actually harm your plants.
Before you use a home made remedy for the first time in your garden, always test it on a small part of the plant first to make sure that it will not cause any harm. If the mixtures seem too strong, dilute them and try again until you find the right strength. Each garden is different.
Be sure to protect any outdoor heating elements, wiring and metal from being exposure to baking soda, since this could cause corrosion of the metals.
Also, don’t use home remedies on hot or really sunny days or this could lead to burning the foliage of the plants.
Don’t rely on home remedies as an excuse to be lax with garden maintenance. If you allow plants to become heavily infected with pests and fungal diseases, no amount of baking soda in the world will help them!
Have you found other uses of baking soda in the garden? Please leave your tips in the comments section below. I’d love to add them to the article with a shout out to you!
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in June of 2013. I have updated the post with all new photos, and additional information and tips for using baking soda in the garden. I hope you find the updates useful.
Would you like to be reminded of these tips for using baking soda in the garden? Pin this image to one of your gardening boards for easy access later.
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Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a vital part of green cleaning and has so many uses in the house, but what about the garden.
Here are 7 ways to use it in the garden.
Make A Non-Toxic Fungicide
With baking soda, you can create a homemade plant fungicide to get prevent fungal diseases and as well as pests that wreak havoc on your tomatoes and the rest of your vegetable garden.
Mix 4 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 gallon of warm water. Use on roses for black spot fungus and also on grapes and vines when fruit first begins to appear. Sprinkle the mixture on tomato plants to ward off tomato hornworms, slugs, and other garden pests.
Spray To Treat And Prevent Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is causing major problems with impatiens this year, but also can be a problem for other plants, like lilacs, cucumbers, squash and zinnias.
Spray Recipe: 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 gallon of water, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
Mix all the ingredients together, fill a spray bottle and spray plants weekly. Apply on overcast days to prevent any potential foliage from burning.
It will also help discourage gnats in soil & fungus on leaves. Follow the below steps to do this.
Mix in 1 gallon of water, 4 teaspoons bicarb soda, 1 teaspoon biodegradable soap. Mix well, spray infected foliage or soil as needed.
Test Soil pH Without Kits
Identifying the soil ph level is important to know the nutrients your plant will be getting from the soil. With vinegar and baking soda, you can tell whether you have an alkaline soil or an acidic soil.
Collect a cup of soil from different spots in your garden. Put two spoonfuls of soil in separate containers. Next add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the soil and observe. If the soil fizzes, it is an alkaline soil with pH level between 7 and 8.
After the vinegar test and it does not fizz, add distilled water to another container until it becomes muddy. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda and observe again. If it fizzes, you got an acidic soil having a pH level between 5 and 6. If there’s not fizz, you got a neutral soil with pH of 7.
Pour or sweep baking soda in a thick layer into cracks on a sidewalk or patios. The baking soda should kill any small weeds already sprouted and prevent new ones from coming up.
Kill Cabbage Worms
Mix equals parts flour and baking soda and dust plants (cabbage, broccoli, kale) being eaten by cabbage worms. They much on the leaves and die usually in a day or two. Repeat as needed.
Simply wet the crabgrass, pour a heavy dusting of baking soda on the weed. The crabgrass should start dying back in 2 or 3 days. CAUTION: When applying baking try NOT to get it on your grass as too much baking soda can burn and kill it.
Clean Your Hands And Other Things
After a day in the garden and dirt, clean your hands by rubbing and scrubbing wet hands with baking soda. Rinse.
The combination of baking soda and white vinegar or acetic acid makes an intense dishwash liquid. Mix a cup of baking soda and vinegar then apply on a damp sponge. Use it to clean different household materials, kitchen sink, bird baths, soiled equipment, scorched pan, and more! If the dirt sticks, the acidity of this solution can wear it off if you soak the material for an extended time.
I hope you enjoyed these baking soda tips and they come in handy helping you live a greener life!
Baking soda often called “Miracle Powder” due to its wide variety of uses. It is more productive on stems of fruits and vegetables.Baking soda in the garden often used as various green cleaning techniques. It acts as a wonderful natural cleaner in your home and health to gardening.
Gardeners often face the dilemma of controlling pests without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals. Baking soda can be used as end-product instead of yeast. It is a chemical agent which is a mixture of carbonate/bicarbonate and acid. This is safe, inexpensive, environmental friendly lifesaver. It helps to prevent fungal spores in plants and has major applications in cooking, cosmetics and for the maintenance of the house. It is an effective antacid to relieve skin irritation, heartburns and can polish your teeth.
Baking soda in the garden can be used as follows.
- As a pesticide
- Gives boost to Plant Growth
- To test pH of garden soil
- Clean garden furniture
- As natural fungicide
- Make tomatoes sweeter
- Prevents mildew on leaves
- As a pot cleaner
- Clean fruits and vegetables
- Keep soil fresher
- Kill cabbage worms
Baking soda as a pesticide
Generally, pesticides are used to control pests or weeds such as scales, spider mites, and aphids. Baking soda as a pesticide protects plants from bugs and keeps them away.
Prepare organic pesticide spray that can kill harmful insects. For this take 4 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of mild soap (biodegradable) and a gallon of water. Mix all the ingredients, keep agitated and spray it on plants. It completely removes black spots and white powdery mildew in plants.
Gives boost to Plant growth
To grow plants in hygienic condition and in a well-defined manner we make use of baking soda as a byproduct. Take 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and (1/2) teaspoon of ammonia in a gallon of water. Mix the solution and apply it to plants. It acts as a fertilizer to the plants that are looking dull and growing slowly will boost up with rapid growth.
Test pH of garden soil
Knowing pH of the soil is essential for understanding whether the soil is rich in minerals or not. You can lower the alkalinity of the soil by adding organic materials like pine needles, peat moss, and composted leaves. To test the pH of garden soil we can use baking soda. The procedure to test the pH of garden soil using baking soda is to
- Take (1/2) cup of baking soda and (1/2) cup of vinegar and collect sample soil in a container from different areas of the garden.
- Pour vinegar into the sample soil, if you find bubbles in soil then it is alkaline in nature and pH value is above 7.
- If not pour baking soda mixed with water in another sample and if soil bubbles it is acidic in nature and pH value is below 7.
- This method is helpful when you need to make the best decision about plants that can thrive in your soil.
Clean garden furniture
Routine cleanings are the key to keep your outdoor furniture in pristine condition. Using baking soda for garden furniture doesn’t harm your pets as there are no toxic chemicals in it. For stubborn stains, a simple procedure is to sprinkle baking soda on the item you want to clean. Use cotton cloth, lukewarm water to rinse it clean and looks like new.
As natural fungicide
Fungicides are biochemical compounds used to kill fungi or fungal spores. Fungi can cause serious damage in agriculture resulting in critical loss of yield, quality. Plants have chemical defenses to protect themselves against microorganisms. Although plants have self-defense capabilities, we can get better results using baking soda.
Take 3 teaspoons of baking soda in a gallon of warm water and apply it to the plants. This solution will protect plants from powdery mildew, black spot and controls rust and cabbage worms.
Make tomatoes sweeter
To sweeten your tomatoes you need to lower the acidic nature of the soil by making pH of the soil above 7. It can be done by using baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda lightly onto the soil, it will be absorbed into the soil lowering the acidity and makes the tomatoes sweeter.
Test it on one plant before applying on them and if the soil is alkaline in nature you could alter it by adding too much baking soda.
Prevents mildew on leaves
If you see powdery-looking patches on the foliage of your plants there can be chances for powdery mildew fungal disease. It’s very easy to identify because the symptoms are white powdery spots on the leaves and stems of plants.
Baking soda serves best for eliminating mildews on plants. To prevent mildews on leaves you need to spray baking soda/water mixture on the leaves of plants. For this mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, add few drops of liquid soap and about (1/4) of water in a sprinkle bottle. Spray the solution onto the plants prone to mildew. It is highly effective on rose bushes, flowers, fruit trees.
As pot cleaner
Use baking soda to clean enamel pots. It completely removes the stains on it and appears to be a new one. For this pour baking soda into the pot and add vinegar to it. Rinse it thoroughly till the stains get completely eliminated. The pots will be shiny as new again.
Clean fruits and vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables need to be washed before eating. We rinse them under warm running water. We often use commercial sprays to clean fruits and vegetables. It does not actually remove germs and bacteria. Baking soda is used to clean fruits and vegetables. No other compound is required to clean as baking soda alone can do it. After picking up fruits and vegetables grown in your garden pour baking soda, wipe them. Wash them with warm water. The disinfecting property of baking soda kills bacteria and will no longer withstand it. Now fruits and vegetables are ready to use now.
Keep soil fresher
Using clay pots can keep soil fresher by coating it with a thin layer of baking soda and then adding soil into the pot. If you have acidic soil in garden sprinkle small amounts of baking soda on it that helps to grow more flowers.
Kill cabbage worms
Cabbage worms are one of the worst nightmares for gardeners as they quickly havoc throughout the garden. Baking soda is an effective solution for killing cabbage worms. Mix equal parts of baking soda, flour, and dust on plants like cabbage, broccoli, and kale. Apply the mixture to plant leaves. Cabbage worms usually die in 1 or 2 days. Repeat the process for greater effectiveness.
- Use Protective gloves and clothing.
- Avoid spraying on flower stalks and buds.
- Flush eyes with water and consult a doctor if irritation occurs.
- You should always test it on a small part of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant.Make use of baking soda in your garden for various applications. If you have amazing ideas about baking soda, please share your experience with us.
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Do you know you can use baking soda for plants? Here are 17 hacks that will teach you how to use baking soda in the garden effectively.
Baking soda is used in cooking, in cosmetics and for the maintenance of the house. But its role does not end there: Baking soda for plants can be the most effective solution for many problems in your garden.
100% ecological, baking soda can be used at any time of the year, in every corner of the garden. It is biodegradable and nontoxic. It can be a slight replacement for the pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals you use in your garden.
Baking Soda Uses in the Garden
It is important to regularly clean the foliage of your houseplants to remove dust and grease, to promote photosynthesis. For this, our recommendation for you is to carefully move a soft, lint-free cloth moistened with the solution of water and sodium bicarbonate (a pinch of baking soda in one liter of water) on the surface of leaves (top and bottom).
2. Clean Garden Furniture
Add 1/2 cup baking soda and one tablespoon dishwashing liquid in a gallon of warm water. Take a sponge and clean the garden furniture with it and then rinse it with clear water.
3. Give Plants a Boost
Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon clear ammonia and 1 teaspoon Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Mix well and give each plant about a quart of the solution. This solution will work as a fertilizer, the plants that are looking dull, and growing slowly will perk up, rejuvenate their growth and become lush green.
4. Keep the Smell of Compost away
To keep the smell from compost pile under control, use a small amount of baking soda to eliminate odor. This helps prevent acidity build up.
5. Clean Bird Bath and Pots
To clean your bird bath and pots, sprinkle baking soda on it and clean with damp cloth or scrubber. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly and allow them to dry out completely.
6. Get Rid of Slugs
Want to get rid of slugs? Simply sprinkle baking soda on them.
Also Read: Slug Prevention Tips
7. Encourage Plants to Bloom
Dissolve 1 tablespoon of baking soda into 2 quarts of water and use this to water your flowering plants to encourage blooming.
8. Sweeter Tomatoes
Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda around the base of your tomato plants. The baking soda will be absorbed into the soil and lowers the acidity level of tomatoes, thus gives you sweeter than tart flavor.
Also Read: Do these 8 Things to Grow the Best Tomatoes
9. Acidic Soil
If you have acidic soil, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on it (application rate varies according to the pH level). When digging, mix it and water and retest your soil after a few days. Do this in the small area first. You will be impressed by the results: Fewer weeds, more flowers, and high-yield garden.
10. Kill Cabbage Worms
Mix equals part of the flour and baking soda and dust that on infected plants. The worms that inflicting your brassicas will ingest the baking powder mixture while eating the leaves and die soon.
11. Test Soil pH
Take some soil on a dish and make it muddier. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto the soil. If the combination bubbles, your soil is acidic.
Also Read: How to Check Soil pH at Home
12. Use it as a Pesticide
Use baking soda to effectively reduce infestations of many insects such as aphids, scales, and the spider mites. It may not kill them all but have a repellent action and halt their progress.
Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/3 cup of olive or mustard oil. Measure out 2 teaspoons of this mix and add it to 1 cup of water. Mix it well together and spray it on the infected plants.
13. Prevent Mildew and Other Fungal Diseases
Spraying baking soda on the leaves makes the surface become less acidic and limits the ability of fungal spores to grow. To prepare this, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda and a few drops of liquid soap in 1 liter of water and spray the solution on the infected plants.
This preventive and curative treatment is effective in the vegetable garden, on the fruit trees, rose bushes, vines and climbers and flowers.
14. Weed Killer
To fight effectively against the weeds that invade walkways, edges and garden beds in an ecological and economical way, baking soda is best. It has the enormous advantage of being completely biodegradable and nontoxic. You can sprinkle it on the tufts of weeds. It will burn the foliage, and weeds will and disappear in a few days. Doing this regularly can slow down the arrival and growth of those pesky weeds as well.
Also Read: How to Kill Weeds using Vinegar
15. Clean the Walkways
Rinse the surface with sodium bicarbonate water (30 g or 2 tablespoons per liter of warm water). If necessary, add baking powder and scrub with a brush or use a broom with stiff bristle.
Beware not to spill the solution on the lawn and flower beds: An excessive concentration of bicarbonate and hot water can “burn” the plants.
16. For Cut Flowers
To keep your cut flowers fresh for a long time put a teaspoon of baking soda in the vase.
17. Clean dirty hands
Got dirty hands after gardening? Simply rub baking soda on wet hands and rinse them with water.
Precautions When Using Baking Soda in the Garden
- Avoid as much as possible to spray directly on the flower stalks and flower buds.
- When trying any home mix, you should always test it out on a small portion.
- Also, follow the right dosages because the too strong combination can burn the leaves of the plants.
If you’re like most people, you probably have a box of baking soda in your kitchen cupboard and/or in your fridge
This simple, useful, natural product has so many uses in health, personal care and household chores that it’s really a “must have” for just about everyone.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a vital part of green cleaning and has so many uses in the house, but what about the garden.
In this article, we will share some great ideas to help you get even more use from versatile, affordable baking soda in your yard and garden. Read on to learn more.
This simple, natural product is made up entirely of sodium bicarbonate, a highly alkaline substance.
When it comes in contact with acidic substances it bubbles. The bubbles give off carbon dioxide gas.
This is the property of bicarb soda that makes it a good leavening agent for bread baking.
This property also makes it a good choice for settling upset stomachs.
Its cleansing and mildly abrasive properties make it a good cleaning agent. It also possesses the ability to absorb and neutralize odors.
Is Baking Soda Good FOr Plants? How Can These Properties Be Helpful In Your Garden?
When it comes to using baking soda for:
- Natural Cleaning
- Soil Amendment
- Plant Care
- Weed And Pest Control
- Fungal Diseases
- And More
The humble sodium bicarbonate can be a powerful ally
Use natural baking soda for sweeter tomatoes, control powdery mildew on roses, battle slugs, weeds and more!
6 Ways To Use Baking Soda For Plants Plants
#1 – Clean Plant Leaves
Plants need photosynthesis to survive and thrive. To help your houseplants make the most of the sunshine they receive, keep their leaves clean by wiping them gently with a damp sponge or soft cloth dampened with a very dilute solution of baking soda and water. Add about half a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to a liter of pure, filtered water to make this gentle cleaning solution.
#2 – Give Your Plants A Boost
If your plants are looking listless, try watering with a combination of:
- 1 gallon of pure, filtered water
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts
- ½ tsp ammonia
Do this on a monthly basis to perk up all plants. Roses are especially appreciative of this treatment.
#3 – Stimulate Blooming
Geraniums, Begonia and Hydrangea types all like alkaline soil, and baking soda is an alkaline product. Make these plants a special monthly tonic consisting of one tablespoonful of baking soda and two quarts of water. You’ll soon see enthusiastic blossom production.
#4 – Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer
Two quarts of water and a tablespoonful of bicarbonate of soda is also an excellent solution for keeping cut flowers fresh. Be sure to change the solution every couple of days for best results.
#5 – Grow Sweeter Tomatoes
Use baking soda to make the soil in your tomato patch less acidic. Also add some Epsom salts for a “sweet” tasting tomato. Just sprinkle baking soda lightly over the surface of the soil surrounding your tomato plants and then water as usual. Less acidity in the soil adds up to less acidity in your tomatoes.
#6 – Use Baking Soda For Soil Testing and Amendment
Perform informal pH testing on your garden soil. Your garden plants absorb minerals from the soil through their roots. If your soil is too alkaline or too acidic, this process could be hampered. To get an idea of your soil’s pH, use baking soda and white vinegar to perform a home experiment.
Begin by collecting a couple of soil samples in small cups from your yard or garden. Pour half a cup of vinegar into one sample. If you see the soil bubbling, you know that it is alkaline and has had a reaction with the acid in vinegar. This typically means that it has a pH level of 7 or more.
If there are no bubbles, try testing your other sample with about half a cup of water and a tablespoonful of baking soda. If this causes bubbling, you will know that soil sample has a pH level of 7 or below. This soil is acidic and has had a reaction with an alkaline substance.
If your testing reveals acidic soil, you can amend it with baking soda by sprinkling the powder over the surface of the soil just before watering (as you would when sweetening tomatoes).
This should gradually reduce the acidity of the soil. Test your soil occasionally as described here. When it no longer bubbles when exposed to baking soda and water, you will know that you have been successful.
Video: DIY Soil pH Test without a Test Kit
Related: Over at “The Creek Line House” Courtenay, shares how she used baking soda to improve her “sad-looking” hydrangeas.
4 Baking Soda Recipes to Cure and Prevent Plant Fungal Diseases
#1 – Prevent Fungal Disease Growth
Baking soda does not kill fungus, but it does create pH conditions that are hostile to its growth.
As a preventative, mix a liter of water with a few drops of dishwashing soap and a teaspoonful of baking soda. Mix well and decant the mixture into a spray bottle.
Spray both the top sides and undersides of leaves in the cool of the morning so that the leaves will have plenty of time to dry during the day. This is a good treatment for all manner of garden plants.
Video: How to Make a Baking Soda Anti-Fungal Garden Spray
#2 – Treat Powdery Mildew with Baking Soda in The Garden
If mildew or fungus have already set in, make a stronger mixture consisting of:
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tablespoonful of baking soda
- 1 tablespoonful of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoonful of dishwashing liquid
Spray affected plants once a week on cooler, overcast days. Spraying this mixture in the heat of the day or when the sun is very strong can cause plants to burn. This is an especially effective mixture for use on zinnias, squash, cucumbers and lilacs.
#3 – Treat Tomato Diseases
Make a spray with an aspirin and baking soda solution to prevent and treat fungal infections and other diseases in tomato plants. Use this formula weekly.
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 gallons of water
- 2 aspirin
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. You’ll need to let the soda solution sit for a few minutes to allow the aspirin to dissolve. Shake and spray.
Video: Baking Soda & Aspirin Tomato Prevention Spraying: Stop Leaf Spot & Early Blight from Showing!
Tomato blight treatment baking soda:
#4 – Mix Up Your Own Cornell University Organic Spray
This all-natural recipe is very effective and very popular for treating a wide variety of plant ills, including aphids, killing red spider mites, powdery mildew control and black spot.
- 1 gallon of water
- 3-5 drops of Superthrive
- 1 heaping tablespoonful of baking soda
- 1 tablespoonful of seaweed emulsion (aka organic fish fertilizer)
- 1 tablespoonful of dishwashing liquid as an emulsifier
- 2 tablespoons of ultra-fine horticultural oil (e.g. Sunspray)
Mix all ingredients together and decant into a spray bottle or pump sprayer.
Spray plants monthly, late in the evening for best results.
It’s a good idea to give your plants a good spraying with the water hose first to knock off beneficial insects as this mixture will kill them.
Spray the entire plant, thoroughly to deal with fungal disease problems such as black spot.
Be sure to follow this recipe exactly, and don’t add vinegar (even cider vinegar) or any substance containing sulfur. If the Sunspray product you purchase lists “emulsifier” on the ingredients label, leave out the dish soap.
More Plant Pest Tips:
- How To Get Rid of Spider Mites
- How To Get Rid of Aphids
8 Ways to Use Baking Soda For Garden Pests: Discourage and Eliminate Pests Naturally
When used regularly, carefully prepared, homemade baking soda plants concoctions provide safe and effective defense against a wide variety of garden bugs and pests, such as:
- Spider mites
- Slugs and snails
… and more.
- For a very gentle deterrent that will effectively combat spider mites and aphids but will not harm beneficial insects combine:
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
Spray this mixture carefully onto the affected areas of plants every few days until aphids and spider mites are gone. This concentrated mixture is also effective against black spot fungus on roses and grape vines.
- Eradicate harmful insect infestations. If your plants are swarming with harmful bugs try this combination:
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- A dozen drops of dishwashing liquid
Spray once every three days until the insects have been eradicated. Follow up with weekly baking soda sprays using one of the lighter formulations to prevent reinfestation.
- Eliminate ant hills. Use baking soda and powdered sugar to create a fatal bait. Just mix the two ingredients 50/50 and sprinkle the mixture over the offending ant hill. The ants will eat the mixture and carry it into their nest where others will eat it.
They will be attracted by the sugar, but the baking soda will kill them. Be sure to use powdered sugar (not granulated) so that the two ingredients are thoroughly blended. If you use granulated sugar, the ants will pick it out and leave the baking soda behind.
It may take a while to kill ants this way, but it will eventually kill them all because they will continue to carry the mixture into the nest to be consumed by one and all.
- Kill gnats in leaf piles or the smelly compost pile. Mix four teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda with a gallon of water and a teaspoonful of biodegradable soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap). Pour or spray this mixture over your compost heap or leaf pile to kill off gnats lurking within.
- Repel a wide variety of insects. Mix up a concentrate consisting of:
- 1 teaspoonful of baking soda
- 1/3 cup of mustard oil
Store this in a plastic or glass container with a tightly fitting lid at room temperature. When you want to make an insect repellent spray, measure two teaspoons of this concentrate into one cup of warm water. Stir and decant into a small spray bottle to disperse around areas where you do not want bugs!
- Prevent ground dwelling pests. Sprinkle baking soda lightly on the soil around your crops to deter slugs, roaches and silverfish. Leave it dry and reapply after rain.
- You can also kill slugs on the spot by sprinkling slugs with baking soda, but don’t sprinkle straight baking soda for plants as it will burn the leaves.
- Cabbage Worms Baking Soda. These hungry caterpillars love to eat brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale. To kill them off, mix white flour and baking soda 50/50. Put this mixture into a shaker container or a powder dispenser and dust your brassicas.
Because the baking soda is buffered by the flour and because brassicas are rather rugged, this mixture will not damage their leaves. Apply the dust every day for three or four days. The caterpillars will ingest it when they eat your plants and will soon die off.
2 Ways to Use Baking Soda to Combat Weeds
Will baking soda kill grass? Does baking soda kill weeds?
Weeds and crabgrass growing along the edges of your walkways and patios and in cracks between pavers can be dealt with easily with a generous application of baking soda. It burns back foliage and feeder roots to eliminate current weeds and prevent future weed growth.
- Kill crabgrass and weeds in your lawn. Begin by wetting down the weeds or crabgrass. Follow up by applying a thick coat of baking soda directly to the plant’s leaves and around its root base.
Be careful to apply it only to the plants you want to kill. Don’t sprinkle it around randomly. Avoid applying on a windy day. Apply it thickly in a focused manner.
- Get rid of weeds along walkways and patios and in cracks and crevices. To eliminate weeds growing around paved surfaces, pour baking soda heavily on and around the weeds. Use a whisk broom to sweep the powder into sidewalk cracks or the space between pavers.
Check back and reapply as needed. Although a heavy application of baking soda will have some residual weed killing effect, be advised that rain and watering will dilute these effects fairly quickly. This natural powder works by desiccating foliage. It may not kill deep roots.
10 Ways to Clean Up Around Your Yard and Garden With Baking Soda
Bicarbonate of soda is a very safe cleaning product to use in the garden. It is non-toxic and will not harm birds and other desirable wildlife. Use it as a non-abrasive scouring powder or mix it up with other gentle ingredients to create custom cleaning products.
#1 – Deodorize your compost pile or bin. Add a tablespoonful of baking soda to a gallon of water to pour over your compost and/or simply sprinkle the dry powder over the pile and turn it in to help eliminate unpleasant odors. Don’t overdo it, though. Excessive amounts will slow down composting.
#2 – Deodorize your garbage cans. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda in the bottom of the can to absorb odors.
#3 – Make a simple baking soda and water cleaning spray consisting of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of water to use when wiping down lawn furniture, gardening equipment and the like.
#4 – Make a baking soda and liquid castile soap paste for use when scrubbing up flowerpots, birdbaths and feeders and more. Allow these items to air dry thoroughly before storing.
#5 – Make an abrasive scrubbing paste with equal parts salt, baking soda and warm water.
#6 – Use plain baking soda as a soft scrub powder to clean just about anything safely.
#7 – Clean your garden furniture. You can make resin garden furniture almost as good as new with a thorough cleaning using a simple solution consisting of half a cup of baking soda, a tablespoonful of dish soap and a gallon of very warm water.
Use a gentle scrubbing sponge to scrub the items and then rinse with the garden hose. For stubborn stains, make a scrubbing paste as described above. Use a soft scrub brush or soft scrubbing sponge. Don’t use a wire brush or steel wool (naturally) as this will damage the surface.
To clean outdoor furniture made of webbing material, rinse the item and then sprinkle baking soda over it. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then scrub it off as shown here.
Video: Use Baking Soda to Clean Patio Furniture
#8 – Clean your walkways and patios. Mix up a mild solution of baking soda and water (2 tablespoons/1 quart respectively) to wash down your sidewalks, driveway, patios and other paved surfaces. Tackle tough stains with a baking soda and dishwashing detergent paste.
Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse the whole area clean with copious amounts of water from the hose. This dilution will help prevent plant damage in the surrounding area.
Although some baking soda can be beneficial to soil and plants, don’t overdo this cleaning routine. Excessive buildup of bicarbonate of soda around your walks and patio could result in plant death in these areas.
#9 – Soak up oil stains in the garage with dry baking soda. Just sprinkle on a thick layer and allow it to sit for 15 minutes or so. Sweep it up and finish cleaning up the oil stain with a baking soda, salt and dish soap paste.
#10. Wash and beautify your hands. Baking soda makes an excellent, gentle scrub for grimy garden hands. At its simplest, just pour a bit of the powder into the palm of your hand and scrub away. Use a nail brush to get dirt out from under and around your nails.
For a little more “oomph!” add a few drops of liquid castile soap. If you have sticky sap on your hands, mix baking soda and a few drops of olive oil (or cooking oil, mineral oil, baby oil or petroleum jelly) in the palm of your hand and scrub your hands. Rinse with very warm water.
As an added advantage, the mild abrasive properties of baking soda will help exfoliate the skin on your hands leaving them nice and smooth. Be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer or the skin will feel quite dry very soon.
Precautions When Using Baking Soda In The Garden
- Use concoctions of baking soda on plants carefully. Don’t spray them around willy-nilly or use them excessively because buildup can cause damage to your plants.
- Do a patch test before spraying any solution over your entire garden. Just apply the mixture to a couple of leaves and wait 24 hours before treating your entire crop. If the solution seems to burn the leaves, dilute it and try another patch test. Keep adjusting until you hit the right strength.
- Protect heating elements, electrical wiring and metal items from exposure to baking soda as it can cause corrosion.
What Are The Drawbacks of Using Baking Soda In The Garden?
Although baking soda can be a very effective tool in your collection of natural gardening techniques, you should not rely upon it entirely. If overused, its efficacy will dwindle with the passage of time. You will soon find yourself using more and more of it with less and less effect.
This is why it’s always a good idea to establish a schedule of sound garden management.
Be sure to plant your seeds, seedlings and grown plant specimens properly with the right kind of soil, drainage and sun exposure.
Keep your plants properly pruned for good air circulation. All of these steps will keep your plants strong and help prevent problems with pests and fungus.
Use baking soda in combination with other natural methods of deterring pests and weeds, such as heavy mulching with coarse organic matter to prevent weed growth and keep your plants’ roots well protected. Rotate natural garden spray recipes to prevent having pests and fungus build up a resistance to any single product.
Remember that an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Baking soda and other natural garden remedies all work best as preventatives.
If you do not practice good garden management and your plants become heavily infested with pests and fungus, these types of solutions will probably not be of much use to you. Consistent care is key to success with all natural plant care products.
You probably have at least one box of baking soda in your home – if you’re like so many other Americans, it’s most likely sitting in your refrigerator as a way to combat odors, and you might have another carton in your pantry for baking.
But there are so many other uses for it, from household cleaning and health to gardening, you might want to go out and purchase at least a couple more.
Throughout history, baking soda has been used as a rising agent for baking.
It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which means when it’s combined with acid it creates bubbles and gives off a carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to rise.
Considered a nahcolite, part of the natural mineral natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, it’s been used since ancient times for a cleanser, soother, and a deodorizer.
Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
Egyptians were said to have used natron for cleansing purposes, however, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century, that it was manufactured and sold as the baking soda we know today.
By 1860, it could be found in recipe ingredient lists, and in the 1920s its versatility began to be expanded upon; within a decade it was marketed widely as a “proven medical agent.”
But what can it do for your garden? You might be surprised to find that it works wonders there too, but as it’s often used in a variety of green cleaning methods in the home, it makes sense that it would be effective outside and inside.
1. Use it as a pesticide
Natural pest control is less expensive than buying pesticides, and it’s much safer for your garden, your family, the environment and wildlife.
In North America, every year there are 136 million pounds of pesticides used on gardens and lawns.
Surprisingly, homeowners are said to use about three times the amount pesticides as farmers, and the majority of wildlife poisonings as well as water contamination, is not from farms or other large organizations, it’s from single-family homes.
The good news is that baking soda can make a very effective, safe, organic pesticide spray that can kill insects that can harm plants, such as aphids and spider mites, while not harming beneficial insects or our planet and its wildlife in the process.
Simply mix a teaspoon of baking soda and one-third cup of olive oil, and then add one cup of water. Combine thoroughly and then add the solution to a spray bottle.
If you’re battling fungal diseases you can use this to spray affected areas every few days until the problem is solved. Use it on roses for black spot fungus as well as on vines and grapes when the fruit first begins to appear.
For insect infestations, combine a tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of liquid Ivory soap into a gallon of water. Add it to your spray container, and spray once every three days to get rid of harmful insects and to prevent them from returning.
If you have a problem with ants, you can stop them at the source by using baking soda, confectioners sugar and vinegar.
Simply add five heaped teaspoons of confectioners sugar to a bucket or bowl – the measurement doesn’t need to be precise, but don’t use regular sugar, as ants are clever enough to separate grains of regular sugar from the baking soda, which won’t kill them, but they can’t do that with powdered sugar. Now add an equal amount of baking soda to the sugar and thoroughly mix the two together.
What happens is that the ants will be drawn to the sugar, which they’ll eat, and in the process will take in the baking soda, which is fatal. Add about a teaspoon of water to the mixture, just enough to make it damp, and then pour it all over the ant hill.
Afterward, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, which will be sure to kill any ants that aren’t eradicated by the baking soda as both types of vinegar contain insecticidal and fungicidal properties that are deadly to ants.
2. Testing the pH of your garden soil
Knowing your soil pH is the key to understanding whether essential minerals will be available to get to the roots of your plants, which is necessary for their survival.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “if you live in an area with alkaline soil — which has a pH above 7.0, you have two options. You can either take measures to lower the pH, or you can choose plants well-suited to growing in alkaline conditions.
If you take the latter path, you have a wide variety of plants to choose from.”
Plant roots absorb mineral nutrients like nitrogen and iron when they are dissolved in water. If the soil solution, meaning the mixture of water and nutrients in the soil, is too acid or alkaline, some nutrients won’t dissolve easily, so they won’t be available for uptake by roots.
You can use baking soda and vinegar to test the pH of your garden soil by using the following instructions:
- Collect two samples of soil in small containers from different areas of your garden, and gather a half-cup of vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda.
- Pour the vinegar into one of the soil samples. If the soil begins to bubble, it is alkaline, meaning the pH level is above 7.
- If there is no reaction, take your other sample and pour in the baking soda and about a half cup of water. If the soil bubbles, it means the pH level is below 7, and it is acidic soil.
While this method won’t provide a specific pH level number, it is very helpful when you need to make the best decision about which plants will thrive in your soil, or if you’d like to amend the soil to make it more hospitable for your particular gardening goals.
3. Clean garden furniture, bird baths and clay pots
Baking soda can be used as a very effective cleaning tool that won’t harm birds and other wildlife as there are no toxic chemicals.
Simply sprinkle it onto the item you want to clean and use a damp cloth to get rid of dirt, grime, and other debris. It’s mildly abrasive to peel off stains, yet it won’t scratch surfaces. Use water to rinse it clean, and it will be just like new – and, no harmful residue will be absorbed by the clay.
4. Get more beautiful blooms
For flowers that thrive in alkaline soil, such as hydrangeas, begonias, and geraniums, you can encourage them to bloom magnificently by using baking soda. Just dissolve a little baking soda in your water before giving them their regular drink.
When you’re ready to cut them, you can extend the life of your beautiful cut flowers by using the same combination – dropping them into a vase with a mixture of a bit of baking soda and water.
5. Eliminate slugs
If you want to get rid of slugs in your garden, remember, you don’t need to turn to pricey, hazardous chemicals when baking soda is around. Simply sprinkle baking soda right on them to kill them.
You can also place a dusting on the soil around your plants to deter slugs from eating them – just be careful to avoid the plants themselves as putting baking soda on them directly will burn them.
6. Make your tomatoes sweeter
You can sweeten your tomatoes by lowering the acidity of the soil with baking soda. It also helps to discourage any pets.
Simply sprinkle it lightly onto the soil they’re in and the baking soda will be absorbed into it, lowering the acidity level of the soil and the tomatoes for a sweeter, rather than a tart flavor.
7. Rejuvenate your plants
Baking soda can even give your plants a boost, rejuvenating them so that they’re lush and green once again.
Combine a teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of Epsom salt and a half teaspoon of ammonia in a gallon of water. Be sure to mix it well, and then give each of your plants about a quart of the solution. It serves as a fertilizer, perking up plants that are dull or are growing slowly.
You’ll be surprised at how quick they become more vibrant. Do the same for rush bushes – one gallon is enough for four bushes using a quarter each – they’ll look gorgeous and lustrous once again.
8. Kill crabgrass and discourage weeds
If you have weeds or crabgrass growing in cracks on sidewalks, edges, patios or garden beds, you can use baking soda to get rid of them.
It’s able to kill small weeds that have already sprouted, as well as to prevent new weeds from coming up. It will burn unwanted foliage, and feeds should disappear within just a few days.
Just pour a thick layer onto the weeds, crabgrass, etc. after moistening it with water. Sweep the baking soda in a thick layer into any concrete cracks.
Remember that when you’re applying baking soda, avoid getting it onto grass or plants you want. Too much baking soda can burn, and even kill it.
9. Eradicate cabbage worms
Cabbage worms are one of the worst nightmares for a gardener as they can quickly wreak havoc throughout a garden, which means controlling them is a must for its health. The good news is that baking soda comes to the rescue once again as an effective solution for killing them.
All you need to do is mix equal parts of baking soda and flour, and then dust plants like kale, broccoli, and cabbage that those cabbage worms love to devour. After the worms ingest leaves with this coating on them, they’ll die within a day. Repeat the process two or three times for greater effectiveness.
10. Smelly compost
To keep the smell from a compost pile under control, use a small amount of baking soda which will eliminate the odor and prevent acidity build up – just use it sparingly as too much can slow the composting process.
11. Preventing mildewing on leaves
You can spray a baking soda/water mixture on the leaves of plants to help prevent mildew by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of liquid soap into about a quart of water in a spray bottle.
Spray the solution onto plants prone to mildew. This is highly effective on rose bushes, flowers, fruit trees and throughout a vegetable garden.
12. Clean up walkways
If you have walkways that wind through your garden or in your yard, you can use baking soda to get them cleaned up.
Just wash the surface using 2 tablespoons of baking soda per quart of warm water. For tough stains and dirt, you can add a little more baking soda and then use a scrub brush or a broom with a stiff bristle to scrub it off.
Remember, once again, that you’ll need to be careful not to spill the solution on your flower beds, or get it onto your lawn, as a high concentration of baking soda is likely to burn your wanted grass and plants.
13. Clean dirty hands
We don’t have to tell you how much dirt gets into those hands and under the fingernails when you work in your garden. It can be really hard to get off too – in fact, you might think you’re in need of a pair of brand new hands.
Of course, while that may not be possible just yet, you can get them clean by using a little baking soda. Just get your hands wet, and coat them with baking soda. The dirt will scrub out much easier. You can use a nail brush for hard to reach dirt under the nails.
Once the dirt has been removed, simply rinse your hands and they’ll be nice and clean again, almost like new, albeit maybe with a few age spots – but wait!
Actually, the wonders of baking soda include fading those unsightly dark spots too. All you need to do is leave that baking soda paste you’ve created on your hands for 5 minutes before rinsing. Then, rub it off to exfoliate and rinse.
stumped – posted 02 October 2003 07:29
I sure hope someone can help me with my problem.
I live in Orlando, Florida (Zone 9A/9B) and either have Floritam or St. Augustine. I utilize the Scotts Fertilizer Products, however I am constantly battling crabgrass.
I have heard using baking soda will kill crabgrass, however I am afraid this will kill my ‘real’ grass. I would prefer to use a natural deterrent.
Thanks in advance!
ted – posted 03 October 2003 13:02
i would wonder why you’re having “crabgrass” problems with the st. augustine- it’s usually so thick nothing can get in. you might want to make sure you’re using quality fertilizers at the right time of year and water/mowing correctly. i can’t imagine a situation where crabgrass would be a problem ( provided that it’s truly crabgrass). as far as the scott’s products go, there’s nothing particulary magical with them, they’re definitely not the best products on the market, and as for the baking soda- just forget it. i believe atrazine would be your product for the crabgrass, but i would probably defer to florida turf folks on this one-
bpteos – posted 08 October 2003 14:16
I also live in Orlando, Florida. I have used the baking soda to kill crabgrass. It usually takes only about a day to see results. It dosen’t seem to harm the other grass. I have several varities of St. Agustine (Floratam, Delmar, Palmetto)
rkm1003 – posted 08 October 2003 15:03
quote:Originally posted by bpteos:I also live in Orlando, Florida. I have used the baking soda to kill crabgrass. It usually takes only about a day to see results. It dosen’t seem to harm the other grass. I have several varities of St. Agustine (Floratam, Delmar, Palmetto)
HOw did you apply it??????/
rgjack – posted 09 October 2003 13:09
quote:Originally posted by ted:… as far as the scott’s products go, there’s nothing particulary magical with them, they’re definitely not the best products on the market …
Ted, please, what products do you consider superior to the Scotts products? …and reason for same? THX
Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 09 October 2003 21:39
Florida seems to be the home of the idea to use baking soda against crabgrass without doing harm to other grasses. The suggestion for applying it is to put some in an old sock and whack the sock onto damp crabgrass to dust it on. The weed turns black in a few days. After that I’ve heard mixed results with the South having better luck with the approach.
Baking soda is an antifungal agent so I’m wondering if there is some fungus that crabgrass relies on to live???
seed – posted 11 October 2003 20:58
When I tried it, the baking soda turned the crabgrass leaves black and shriveled within 24 hours. The rapid results suggested some kind of sudden shock, maybe osmotic. Unlike salt or something granular, the baking soda sticks to the leaves, especially crabgrass because is minutely hairy.
I had just sprinkled the baking soda out the box, pretty much just on the crab grass. I didn’t notice any injury to the St. Augustinegrass, but I might have just been sufficiently selective that I didn’t get much on the St. Augustine.
ted – posted 12 October 2003 13:51
any of the “hardware store” consumer type products are not going to be as effective as pro products, and the advice you get is even worse! try calling a local Lesco Service Center in your area and purchasing the products there. You don’t have to be a licensed applicator to purchase most of their products. The Scotts guys actually make a line of golf products which are very good, but you’re not going to be finding them in your local hardstore. And no, I don’t work for Lesco.
seed – posted 13 October 2003 15:25
The one pro product that worked was Asulox which is no longer available with a residential turf label (now only for ag). No other selective postemergence herbicide has been developed that controls mature crabgrass in St. Augustinegrass. Prograss is effective against seedling crabgrass. MSMA kills crabgrass, but at the rates required it is highly damaging to St. Augustinegrass. There are some sedge herbicides that have crossover effects on some grass weeds, but they will not remove crabgrass. I was quite skeptical of the baking soda idea, and I don’t know how much harm it does to St. Augustinegrass, but in my one experience using baking soda on crabgrass, it was completely defoliated, which was amazing. If there were a “pro” product that works, I don’t know what it is.
Sharris – posted 22 October 2005 07:09
Ted – not sure if you’re from FL or not but crabgrass has always been a problem with St Augustine grass – as well as other weeds. St Augustine is not invinceable. There used to be chemicals on the market to kill it – but they’re not available anymore due to restricions on harmful chemicals to our environment. Atrazine will do nothing to crabgrass – as a matter of fact it seems to like it and thrives even more. I’ve used baking soda on crabgrass – it works better than anything else I’ve seen available and it doesn’t harm St Augustine. You don’t want to pull the Crabgrass because all you’re doing is spreading seeds and which will make it worse. I agree with you on the Scott’s products – they are primarily designed for northern grasses. Lesco is a local Florida company that makes fertizers specifically suited for FL climate and soils. The best recipe I’ve found for keeping St Augustine healthy is to use a pre-emerant in the spring and fall such as Halts Crabgrass Preventer (this does not kill Crabgrass – just merely keeps if and other weeds from germinating), then use a sedge product such as Image – spring and fall – this kills most weeds but not Crabgrass or a few others – do not use Image in the hot months – it stresses the St Augustine which is why you want to use it in the cooler months. It works quite well. It will temporarily stunt the growth of the St Augustine – but it will come back – if you don’t want weeds – this is the way to go. Fertilize every 6 to 8 weeks – I prefer Lesco. You need to do it every 6 – 8 weeks mainly during the warmer months because our soil here in FL is mostly sand and we get a lot of rain. Hope this helps.
wdstamper – posted 23 October 2005 19:26
I also live in Florida and Crabgrass is a real problem. My front yard is about a half acre and used to be solid St. Augustine until this year. Crabgrass has taken over just about everywhere there is no shade. Does anyone out there know if I can spray baking soda from a hose sprayer to kill the Crabgrass and start taking back my yard? If so, how much should I apply and how many times should I apply it to kill the Crabgrass? Any help would be appreciated.
orlando – posted 03 November 2005 10:07
To Ted – Crabgrass can kick St. Augustine’s butt at times! It handles the heat and water schedule much better than St. Augustine in the peak of summer.
I’m also in Orlando and two types of crabgrass have invaded a portion of my lawn. I’m using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate) with great early results. As stated before, the crabgrass turns black as quickly as half a day later. It is great. I’ve fought this crabgrass by hand, Scott’s preventer, atrazine, resodding for so long … none of that works except the manual labor and the manual labor is an ongoing neverending painful battle.
I just sprinkled it directly from the large $2 box I bought at Publix. I lay it on pretty thick. St. Augustine and an unwanted patch of bermuda both appear to be resistant to it. I’ve seen one other weed I’m not sure of die from it too. A large box might be good for 400 square feet the way I was spreading it. I’m on box #3.
If St. Augustine has a delayed negative reaction I’ll post it here but my test patches are holding up …
orlando – posted 04 November 2005 09:06
This is after 3-4 days but I started pulling up the crabgrass, mostly due to the ugly black mixed in my green lawn. Some things I noticed:
Cerberus – posted 16 November 2005 11:27
“Does anyone out there know if I can spray baking soda from a hose sprayer to kill the Crabgrass and start taking back my yard? If so, how much should I apply and how many times should I apply it to kill the Crabgrass? Any help would be appreciated.”
I tried mixing a small box of baking soda in 2 gallons of water and applying it with a backpack sprayer. It had no visible effect on the crabgrass. The solution just ran off the blades. Maybe adding a surfactant or spreader/sticker would improve results.
I will try the dry application method today.
weedsrus – posted 19 November 2005 09:43
I live in Orlando and have tried baking soda on multiple times. I tried putting it on really heavy and it had no effect. Then one day I had some baking soda on the grass and a piece of PVC laying on top of the grass. The weeds under the PVC were the only ones affected by the baking soda. Why is this cried weed man? Then it hit me, the condensation was key!
The key to baking soda seems to be: wet the grass then apply a light coat of baking soda. It seems to work on the grass leaf. It doesn’t do any good if you put it on really heavy if it doesn’t stay on the leaf. I would think that putting it in the hose-end sprayer might do some good given my theory but I haven’t tried it. My next task is to quantify the amount of baking soda needed. Good luck to all you soldiers in the fight against weeds. “May the soda be with you !”[email protected]
BuckinNC – posted 20 November 2005 09:08
Astute observation. If you come up with a flowable solution I’d like to learn of it.
turftajar – posted 30 November 2005 13:33
I have overlapping areas of St Augustine and centipede with the crabgrass. Has anyone tested the effects of the soda on centipede?
rpeebs – posted 07 December 2005 07:46
Hey Orlando – any new updates? Sounds like you’ve got it on the run. I’m looking for the solution and I wan to try your technique if it worked.
BW – posted 31 December 2005 12:06
I’m in Melboure, FL. Does it make a difference what time of year the Baking Soda is put down. If I put it down now (January) will it weaken the St Augustine, ot is it better to wait for the growing season?
JRRTolkien – posted 18 January 2006 05:32
I also live in Orlando. You can go to BJ’s and buy baking soda in 12lb bags for around $5 a bag. I actually just put it in my broadcast spreader and covered our lot (approximately 2000 sq. ft.) with 3 bags. As in the other posts, the crabgrass turns black, but the baking soda doesn’t harm the St. Augustine. I plan on following this up by putting down a pre-emergent crabgrass killer.
none – posted 07 February 2006 12:19
Try this it has worked for me.Mix a pound of baking soda with a cup of Arm&Hammer laundry soap(powder) in two gal. water and use sprayer.
Bob – posted 11 February 2006 21:16
JRR…How does your lawn look now…any update?
Chubber – posted 13 February 2006 15:45
I can go +1 on the baking soda. My neighbor showed me the trick. A 5 lb box seems to do about 100 square feet for me. The real secret is to apply it when the grass is damp (I use plain water in a sprayer before application if there has been no rain) so it kind of cakes onto the leaves. 1 day later they are turning brown and a week later they are black and just about dead.
Of course, if it is thick, then you will want to plug in some more grass plugs if there aren’t any grass rhizomes left.
Alex_in_FL – posted 25 February 2006 07:52
The easiest solution is to put down a good pre-emergent and avoid the crabgrass all together. I am putting out my pre-emergent this afternoon (and making my 2nd flea spray application).
Zamog – posted 22 March 2006 11:42
I used it on my lawn and worked great! Now all the little boys in the neighborhood come to play in my yard!
crabgrasser – posted 02 April 2006 10:46
I live in SC and have a beautiful lawn of crabgrass with a little bit of bermuda patches. crabgrasser – posted 02 April 2006 12:01
In the first picture I posted above how the grass is brown around the plants? Did I kill my grass?
Ahhhh crap, tell me I didn’t kill my grass.
Free Man – posted 22 May 2010 09:08
So does this baking soda trick kill more weeds than just carpet grasses?
And also, has anyone used baking soda in Zoysia grass, which I have? Does it harm it?
d.k – posted 02 June 2010 09:22
I tried a liquid application to the crabgrass sprouting up in the seams of the front sidewalk,
Used a hot pot to boil some water, poured it over the baking soda and stirred it todissolve as much as possible, then let itcool, and added some detergent as a sticker. Put it in a hand-sprayer to hit theweeds on the walk.
Didn’t seem to make much of a dent in liquid form that I noticed. I will try it straight from the box tomorrow after general watering.
barefootinthesun – posted 26 October 2011 09:49
Yes, it works! Such a shame that the lawn services can’t use it because it is not ‘approved.’ So, mix with some cinnamon so you can see where you are distributing it. Apply when the dew is still on the grass. Don’t go crazy, a little goes a long way and over application can change the soil’s PH as well as kill the St. Augustine. You will see results in as little as two hours. I had a 10 x 20 area to treat and eliminated the crabgrass in two applications. I don’t know of any way to get rid of the Torpedo grass other than digging it out. You will have to go down at least a foot to get the runners. If this is not an option you will have to use Roundup or something similar. The good news is that the St Augustine will fill it back in within a few months. If you are impatient, get plugs. Don’t forget to add a little started fertilizer to each hole! Good luck!
Kayu – posted 19 December 2011 17:02
The baking soda method is a new one for me, one I am looking forward to trying next year. I have a mixed St. Augustine/Centipede lawn in Atlanta that I have labored over and lovingly applied Ringer Lawn Restore (best “natural” fertilizer ever) and Image for St. Augustine and Centipede twice a year (hate using poisons but what do I do?). Ringer is wonderful stuff (can get it delivered for free to your nearest affiliated hardware store by going to dottiest.com) and the Image keeps my lawn mostly free of weeds except for crab grass, which kicked my but last year. The good news is that the crab grass is concentrated in limited areas but it is spreading.) Then to top if off I had a chinch bug infestation late summer which killed one small section of my lawn and a weakened a large swath in back. Well, I have the winter to plan and will post photos next summer.
seed – posted 27 December 2011 02:49
Thanks, Spriteman, for sharing a good and informative experience. Please let us know how the sodium bicarbonate (baking powder) works after the second application.
Just two caveats. Surflan (active ingredient oryzalin) is a preemergence herbicide so I don’t expect it would do anything for chinch bugs.
And separately at the end you mention preemergence herbicide in connection with crabgrass. Ideally in Lakeland in most years you will experience frost, to temporarily eliminate most of the crabgrass, and thus give justification for using preemegence herbicides to keep it from coming back, sodium bicarbonate or not. In south Florida, we generally don’t get serious frost so we are stuck with home remedies such as baking soda.
Spriteman – posted 27 December 2011 02:49
Greeting and salutations from Lakeland, FL to all of my fellow weed ninjas.
I started a weed treatment attack in early summer of 2011. Here are my results utilizing baking soda/bicarbonate. I have an approximately 3000 sf lawn. About 400 sf of that was very nice mature St. Aug/Floratam. – didn’t mess with it.
The rest of the lawn is a cornucopia of weeds – mostly southern crabgrass. I had an area about 15 x 30 near the front door to the house that I mapped out as a test area where I would test different weed control methods.
I was late getting started on treatment for 2011 and applied Scotts Weed & Feed – aka Atrazine. Over the next couple of weeks the few runners of St.Aug left in the yard seemed to perk up and a few of the weed types started to show signs of stress. After 5-6 weeks I noticed that most of the weeds were growing again and like others who have posted earlier noticed that the crabgrass seemed to benefit from the fertilizer. So, I decided that wasn’t going to work.
I paid a visit to my local lawn & garden store here in Lakeland (plug Peterson’s Nursery) and shared with them my plight. They suggested several courses of action that would bring the weeds under control. They gave me a nice one page 2-sided StAug yearly calendar of treatment schedule.
The three main points from it are: 1 – supply nutrients for the grass, 2 – kill weeds, and 3 – kill bugs. All of the other actions help but are not critical in my book. I am using the schedule as a guide since we all have different situations with location and weed issues. I will perform all of the actions listed I just believe that you need to adjust the frequency of the applications for sun/temp/rain/etc…
1st – the fertilizer that I was using was okay – the main use for it in my book now is to supply nutrients not kill weeds.
2nd – kill weeds – the new deal here is the bicarbonate – more on this later.
3rd – use of a good pesticide to kill chinch bugs and mole crickets. If you see a brown spot forming in your nice StAug – hit it quick with powder mix that you put in a hose sprayer – Orthene. You don’t even have to cover the entire lawn if you don’t want to – just don’t let them expand the brown spot. In a few weeks you will see your lawn return to it’s normal green hue. The quicker you treat the bugs the less damage you will get.
Okay – let’s say that you’re existing StAug is growing nicely and there are no signs of any pesky bugs.
So, let’s focus on weed destruction. The earlier posts hit on the topic but I will lay it out like my Peterson folks told me.
First, I like to have a fresh cut to begin my bicarb treatment. Now this is just my reasoning but it seems to me that the longer that the bicarb is on the weed leaf the more thoroughly it will kill it. Also, and this is BIG, the crabgrass has to be growing again after the mowing.
I didn’t really understand that at first and I just mowed the weed areas and right after misted up the area and sifted the bicarb onto the weeds. I did see some damage to the weeds but it wasn’t very long afterwards that the weeds were returning.
So, after that first test I remembered what they had said about putting the bicarb down while the weed was growing. So, the next test was a good mow, then allow the weeds a couple of days to begin growing again and on the third day I again misted the weeds and sifted the bicarb onto the weed leaf again.
I put it on fairly heavy. Let’s just say that you could see a good white dusting on all of the weed areas when I was done.
THAT DID THE TRICK – within two days ALL weeds were showing distress and within 4 or 5 weeks the weed areas were bare.
One problem that I created was I probably was not discriminating enough when I was putting down the bicarb – I should have tried to apply it a little more sparingly when right on the existing StAug. Another treatment later in a different area proved this to be correct.
But here’s the lucky coincidence – by over applying I did hurt the existing StAug, however, I definitely killed all of the weeds – ALL OF THEM. The StAug was hurt but I watered it well over the next couple of months and surprisingly the StAug recovered. And here’s the real kicker – almost no weeds grew in the bicarb treated area. It took almost 6 months for the 1st weeds to return to the treated area. I think that the bicarb – if applied heavily, alters the soil chemistry and won’t allow the weeds to germinate.
Since that time the StAug has been growing like crazy and even without adding plugs or sod is filling the area in via runners growing straight out and then creating more runners from the nodes growing perpendicular from the original runners. I estimate that by the end of Spring 2012 the area will be filled in completely.
Fast-forward to 12/2011 – I just applied bicarb to the rest of my weed infested lawn. Within two weeks it has already knocked down just about every weed in the covered area. I will let the bicarb continue to work and will probably hit any areas where I might have missed and once I feel that all of the weeds are gone.
Once I feel that the soil is okay for plugging I am going to plug the area about 18 inches apart. I would just sod the area but I’m trying to save a buck or two in the process.
After the plugs have had a chance to get established I will spot treat with the bicarb. The folks at Peterson’s said that they go out with a water bottle sprayer and a sifter of bicarb and get after those evil weeds.
I plan on hitting the lawn with fertilizer about every 8 weeks this year. It seems like with all of the rain we’ve been getting it is gone in about that amount of time. I’m hoping that the following year – the StAug will be so full and healthy that I can dial all of the chemicals back and allow the grass to fend for itself.
Well – that’s my two cents – hope this helps in some way – post back if you use any of this and it works/doesn’t work.
1 – If you apply the bicarb on a windy day and you think some of it might have gotten on a good StAug area – just give it a quick mist off with water and it should limit any damage.
2 – Take an old plastic coffee container and punch holes in the top all over like a salt shaker and you can use this as your sifter.
3 – You can buy 50lb bags of bicarb at your local feed store – you’ll pay about $25 – but if you try to buy it somewhere else it will probably be double that. Farmers use it for their livestock in some way – I am sure someone out there knows why.
4 – Apply dolomite (aka Limestone) twice a year – this will keep the soil in a good pH range for StAug.
5 – Make sure you lay down a good crabgrass pre-emergent (Surflan) at the proper time for your geography. In Lakeland I’ve been told that’s right at Feb 15. Timing is everything.
6 – Don’t put down new sod when the temp is over 90F – it will most likely burn it.
bwach – posted 03 March 2012 00:39
Aparently it’s the pH levels in the baking soda that kills the crabgrass and spares the st augustine. I tried this last year on some patches in my yard and had no luck after watering the powder in. Came to realize that by watering it in i was actually neutralizing the powder. Put it on dry and lightly mist if it’s windy. Recommend waiting for a calm day and just leaving it dry. Also, I like to flip the weedwhacker over and grind the crabgrass down to roots and then sprinkle the baking soda. Yeah, you see some ugly dirt spots, but I think it’s better than black crabgrass spots. Ensure you use a good preemergent to keep more spots from springing up.
OrlandoYardMan – posted 11 September 2015 07:58
Thanks for the awesome advice about using baking soda for treating crabgrass in St Augustine.
My question is, what do you do after the crabgrass dies? Pull it out and replug/resod the area or just leave it be and let the good grass grow back?
A lawn that’s invaded with crabgrass and other unwanted weeds can soon be damaged if you do not take the necessary precautions to fix it. When dealing with crabgrass, you can use some chemical herbicides or home remedies such as baking soda.
It is hard to avoid the use of chemicals to control lawn weeds but for the most part of it, you can employ the use of natural home remedies such as baking soda to kill crabgrass.
How to Get Rid of Crabgrass Using Baking Soda
When it comes to weeds, you want to have them eliminated as early as possible without affecting the grass on your lawn. That’s why you might need to apply a crabgrass preventer or pre-emergent. Here’s how to use baking soda to kill crabgrass lawn weed.
- Wet the patch of crabgrass in your lawn
- Pour a fair amount of baking soda on the weed, covering the surrounding and the leaves.
- Uproot the dead crabgrass from the lawn. You can use a weed remover or simply a shovel.
- Reseed your lawn. Leaving the bare spots will attract new weeds. If you do not want to resend, you can patch up the lawn by planting plugs of your lawn’s grass.
Does baking soda really get rid of crabgrass in the lawn?
Note that this is a post-emergent natural remedy. If you are trying to prevent the weeds from germinating, use pre-emergent techniques.
Further tips to consider
These tips will come in handy when using this organic weed treatment.
- Remember to spot-treat the areas with crabgrass, otherwise, you might end up harming your lawn if you spread sodium bicarbonate all over it.
- Different lawn grasses have varying resistances. For example, Bermuda grass is fairly resistant. So, if your lawn has crabgrass weeds among Bermudagrass, you can use baking soda to kill it.
How does baking soda kill weeds?
Sodium bicarbonate works as a weed killer because of its phytotoxic properties.
Phytotoxicity is plant damage – a toxic effect – from something the plant was exposed to. Most chemical sprays that are used to control weeds in gardens, pavements, and lawns are phytotoxic.
Baking soda kills crabgrass due to its phytotoxic effect. However, it may show varying results when used on other grasses depending on the concentration and other aspects of the soil in general.
Increased salinity due to the sodium in the bicarbonate compound is highly likely to be the main weed control aspect of this home remedy.
Note that this may come with a few side effects as well. So, let’s look at what to expect.
Other benefits for your lawn
Kitchen baking soda has many uses. When used for lawn care, it is known to kill moss.
The sodium bicarbonate in it is also a good fungicide and will clear any fungal diseases on your grass such as mildew.
Possible side effects
Because it is a salt, baking soda can damage the grass to which it is applied. The phytotoxic property may not be selective on your lawn, meaning that you run the risk of damaging your lawn’s foliage if you apply baking it on large areas.
Resistance may depend on each grass’s resistance level. In some cases, even low concentrations can kill various plants.
According to the Michigan State University:
“Phytotoxicity is even more problematic on foliage, where even a 1 percent SBC solution can cause severe foliar damage, including interveinal chlorosis.” – Michigan State University
- Michigan State University Extension: Plant phytotoxicity in the greenhouse
- Miracle, Myth or Marketing? Baking Soda – Will Fungi Fail or Roses Rejoice
Sodium Bicarbonate In Gardens: Using Baking Soda On Plants
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has been touted as an effective and safe fungicide on the treatment of powdery mildew and several other fungal diseases. Recent studies confuse the efficiency of using this common household item. The compound seems to prevent some fungal spore flare ups but doesn’t kill the spores.
Is baking soda good for plants? It certainly doesn’t seem to do any harm, but it isn’t the miracle cure for those mildew beleaguered roses either. Baking soda as a fungicide does appear to diminish the effects of fungal diseases on common ornamental and vegetable plants.
Sodium Bicarbonate in Gardens
Numerous trials have been done to study the effects of baking soda sprays on plants. The ATTRA organization, which assists rural and agricultural growers with common production issues and plant information, published a series of findings from trials across the globe. Overall, baking soda on plants had a beneficial effect in reducing the fungal spores.
Some concerns, however, were raised over sodium bicarbonate in gardens because of the first part of the compound. Sodium can burn leaves, roots and other plant parts. It can also stay in soil and
affect later plants. No serious buildup was found, however, and the Federal EPA has cleared sodium bicarbonate as safe for edible plants.
Using Sodium Bicarbonate on Plants
The best concentration of baking soda is a 1 percent solution. The remainder of the solution can be water, but coverage on the leaves and stems is better if some horticultural oil or soap is added to the mixture.
Sodium bicarbonate as a fungicide works by disrupting the ion balance in the fungal cells, which causes them to collapse. The biggest danger in using sodium bicarbonate on plants is the potential for foliar burn. This appears as brown or yellow patches at the end of the leaves and can be minimized by thorough dilution of the product.
Is Baking Soda Good for Plants?
Baking soda on plants causes no apparent harm and may help prevent the bloom of fungal spores in some cases. It is most effective on fruits and vegetables off the vine or stem, but regular applications during the spring can minimize diseases such as powdery mildew and other foliar diseases.
A solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 gallon of water reduces instances of leaf burn. Add 1 teaspoon dormant oil and ½ teaspoon of dish soap or horticultural soap as a surfactant to help the mixture stick. Keep in mind the solution is water soluble, so apply on a dry cloudy day for best results.
While some trials and scientific research mitigate the effectiveness of baking soda against fungal diseases, it won’t hurt the plant and does have short term benefits, so go for it!
BEFORE USING ANY HOMEMADE MIX: It should be noted that anytime you use a home mix, you should always test it out on a small portion of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant. Also, avoid using any bleach-based soaps or detergents on plants since this can be harmful to them. In addition, it is important that a home mixture never be applied to any plant on a hot or brightly sunny day, as this will quickly lead to burning of the plant and its ultimate demise.