Homebase share their tips for gardening in the summer
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Whether you’re cleaning, cooking or gardening – baking soda is perhaps one of the most versatile and effective ingredients you will find in your home, and its chemical-free properties makes it an even more appealing product to adopt into your gardening tool-kit. This sodium bicarbonate powder can be mixed into pastes, sprays and used on everything from soil to leaves in your garden – but what are the top, user-approved uses for baking soda outside the home?
Using baking soda solutions, you can achieve everything from sweeter homegrown fruits, to perfectly balanced soil with these easy hacks that require very little effort for big results.
This hack gets the seal of approval from TikTok user @gardenofeden61, who mixes baking soda into a spray solution to clean up the leaves on his beloved garden roses.
In his explainer video, which has more than 2,500 likes, the rose-loving TikTok user said: “One of my favourite things to grow in the garden are roses.
“Something that can often happen is powdery mildew on the leaves – so I make a baking soda and soapy solution to spray on the leaves.”
Making this mildew-removing solution is really easy. All you need is one tablespoon of baking soda, half a teaspoon of mild dish soap and a gallon of water.
Decant into a clean and empty spray bottle and spray onto the mildew-covered leaves from a 10cm distance.
- This can be used on any leaves showing signs of powdery mildew.
- After 10 minutes you should see the powdery substance disappear.
- Repeat one to three times a week for the best results.
Test soil pH
If you’re struggling to grow plants in your garden soil, it might be a good time to test your soil’s pH levels.
A soil test can determine the current fertility and health of your soil, while helping you to determine nutrient deficiencies your plants may suffer from as a result.
This home hack for a DIY soil test is a great alternative to technological soil testing kits, which are commonly sold in garden stores.
All you need for this trick is baking soda and its famous household companion, white vinegar.
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Using some small reusable containers, collect soil samples from different patches of your garden – flower beds, pots and ground soil and leave to dry out before testing.
Measure half a cup of vinegar and mix with equal parts baking soda and pour into the sample containers to determine the acidity of your soil.
A neutral pH level is measured as seven, with acidic substances measuring below and alkaline substances measuring above this figure.
While you won’t have any means of knowing the exact figure using this DIY soil test, the general rule of thumb is that the soil will begin to bubble when you add the mixture if it is alkaline (above seven) – if it doesn’t, it is acidic.
A good pH level for soil is between six to six and a half on the scale where nutrient levels will be more balanced.
- A high pH (alkaline) can mean less availability of nutrients like iron and phosphorus.
- A low pH level (acid) could mean there are toxic levels of nutrients in the soil
It’s harvest season for tomato vines and if you’ve noticed that the taste of your home grown cherry or plum varieties isn’t quite sweet enough, this baking soda hack can solve your distaste ahead of next year’s crop.
You don’t even need to mix the baking soda into a solution for this sweetening trick – it can be sprinkled directly on to your plant.
One TikTok user who has an entire page dedicated to gardening hacks, @creativeexplained, shared his one second tip with followers, gaining more than 24,000 likes.
You may not gain thousands of likes, but you will get sweeter tomatoes by shaking some baking soda over your tomato plants once every three weeks whilst they grow.
The baking soda absorbs into the soil and lowers its acidity levels giving you tomatoes that are on the sweeter side. You can now mix it up with some tart and sweeter additions to your summer salads.
- Plant tomatoes in between March and the end of April, and harvest from mid-summer, onwards.
- Sow indoors to germinate before taking outside to ripen in the late-spring sunshine.
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