10 Secret Ingredients That Can Help Your Garden Grow
Who knew that these pantry ingredients were so good for the garden?
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Put pantry staples—like baking soda, vinegar and olive oil—to good use in your garden. These genius ideas will encourage growth, keep pests at bay and ensure your garden is the most beautiful one on the block. You can repurpose these common household items in your garden, too.
Make Flowers Bloom with Baking Soda
If there were an award for most versatile of pantry ingredients, baking soda would certainly be a nominee. In addition to these clever ways to clean with baking soda, you can sprinkle it on the surface of your soil to make your geraniums, coneflowers, daylilies and clematis bloom like crazy. That’s because baking soda is alkaline, and those flowers thrive on alkaline soil.
Repel Ants with Cream of Tartar
No one wants to share their outdoor dining table with ants, but if you’re not inclined to use chemicals to keep them away, you can use cream of tartar instead. Simply sprinkle a bit of cream of tartar on the perimeter of the table or wherever you want to “dust their trail,” recommends the Farmer’s Almanac. In case you’re wondering, here’s what cream of tartar actually is and how you can use it in the kitchen.
Fight Fungus with Baking Soda
While baking soda doesn’t kill fungus, you can use it to prevent fungus because its alkalinity creates an environment hostile to fungal growth. Simply stir a teaspoon of baking soda into a liter of water and spray the leaves of your fungus-prone plants (these include tomatoes and lilacs). Here’s why you should never confuse baking soda with baking powder.
Turn Pink Hydrangeas Blue with Vinegar
Unlike baking soda, distilled white vinegar is acidic, and acidic soil is the secret to turning your pink hydrangeas blue. (Note: This doesn’t work on white hydrangeas.) Vinegar also enhances the soil of acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons and gardenias. Use a cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water. Do you know the difference between apple cider vinegar and white vinegar?
Say Goodbye to Beetles with Dish Soap
My biggest complaint with Japanese beetles is how they can quickly turn beautiful zinnia leaves into lacy remnants of their former selves. They also decimate over 300 other types of garden plants. Unfortunately, the best way to get rid of them is to hand-pick them off your plants…and drown them in a mixture of water and dishwashing soap. Sorry…not sorry….we’re talking zinnias here! For your own safety, these are the safest dish soaps you can buy.
Attract Earthworms with Coffee Grounds
Adding coffee grounds to your soil benefits your soil by attracting earthworms and microorganisms (both of which make your soil healthier and more fertile). But note: fresh coffee grounds are acidic, whereas used coffee grounds are neutral. If you are enhancing the soil of an alkaline-soil loving plant (such as geraniums or sweet tomatoes), then used coffee grounds are the way to go. Find more ways to repurpose coffee grounds.