Household Items You Can Use in the Garden

I’ve decided to build upon my tips for frugal gardeners. This however has more to do with using items you probably already have in your house.

Aspirin – Dissolve 3/4 of an uncoated asprin tablet in 1 gallon of water. Spray plants ever 2-3 weeks with the mixture to prevent fungus problems, including powdery mildew and black spot. It’s also been found to help some plants yield more fruit than using commercial fertilizers.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda – Mix 1 tbs of baking soda and a 1/2 tsp liquid soap into 1 gallon of water. Spray this weekly on plants that are prone to powdery mildew. This works as more of a preventative as it won’t do much after the powdery mildew has taken hold. Make sure to spray the undersides of leaves. Also, apply it in the evening if you can, as it can burn some leaves.

Beer – Put beer (or water with yeast in it) in a shallow container. Sink the contain so that the lip is at ground level in the garden. The beer attracts snails and slugs. They fall into it and drown.

Borax – This is a common laundry additive (20 Mule Team is a popular brand), esp. for those of us with hard water. But it also works as a nontoxic ant killer. Ants are a huge problem for us as they “farm” aphids and mealy bugs for their honeydew. We have tons of ladybugs but they are useless if the ants are protecting the pests.

Cornmeal – Corn Gluten Meal can be used as an effective preemergent herbicide, but most of us don’t have that just laying around. Cornmeal, however, is an effective soil fungicide. For ever 100 sq ft, work 2 lbs of cornmeal into the soil. Water well. One application per season is all that is needed.

Dryer Sheets – If you’re having a picnic or BBQ and are being plagued by yellow jackets, aka meat bees, and mosquitos, place dryer sheets around the area to deter them.

Eggshells – Save all of your eggshells! Rinse them and then crush them when they are dry. When preparing a planting bed for tomatoes or peppers add the eggshells (approx. shells from 1 dozen eggs per plant) to the planting hole to avoid blossom end rot.

Epsom Salts – Epsom salts contain sulfer and magnesium and are good for using as a foliar fertilizer. Dissolve 2 Tbs Epsom Salts in 1 gallon of water. Mist plants as a foliar feeding.
Milk – Dilute milk in a 1:1 ration with water. Spray your tomato and pepper plants weekly to avoid blossom end rot.

Rubbing Alcohol – Apply 70% isopropyl alcohol to a cotton ball and apply to scale insects. The alcohol dessicates them. Rub them off when they’re dead so you can continue to monitor their levels.

Shampoo – Mix 2.5 Tbs Shampoo and 2.5 Tbs cooking oil with 1 gallon of water. Spray insect pests with mixture to control them. Do not use in full sun and a few hours after application rinse off plant to reduce injury.

If you have other household garden remedies, please share them!

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