Using baking soda in your gardens seems like the newest trend in the hood! You’ll find dozens of videos walking you through the process of using baking soda in your gardens. But are these hacks legitimate and do they really work?
Because baking soda acts as a pesticide, it helps eliminate those pesky insects that otherwise damage your crop. Soda is also a type of fertilizer and thus adds to the sweetness of tomatoes and similar crops. The best part: you can even use it to assess the pH levels of your garden soil. The product is transformative and works wonders for all kinds of gardens.
However, that doesn’t mean baking soda is perfect and can be used in all kinds of soil and crops. Nor is it guaranteed to be safe when used in your compost pile. In this article, we will dig deeper to understand what kind of soil and crops work best with baking soda and whether you should use this solution in your compost pile.
Is Baking Soda Compostable?
If your compost heap suddenly starts stinking, you might consider adding some baking soda in an attempt to neutralize the odor. However, this is not always the best idea.
Baking soda neutralizes the stench by destroying the microbes and the bacteria that create the odor. However, when you add baking soda to your compost pile, you end up killing the microbes thereby destroying your pile.
In case you are worried about the stench, try to delve deeper into the root of the problem. Usually, the stench is created due to issues in the moisture content of the pile. It can also happen when you pile meat scraps, fish bones, milk, and similar other products.
Putting baking soda in your compost pile is never a good idea. Because it kills fungus, it will end up killing the beneficial fungicides in your compost pile, thus destroying the entire pile. What’s more, it is also known for killing out earthworms.
Every teaspoon of this soda contains high amounts of sodium (1200+ mg). This high sodium content will end up killing earthworms and your pile will lose its true essence. That is why it is never a good idea to add this soda to your pile.
Do not fall for this temptation, because microbes alone are one of the key organisms that break down the many ingredients in your pile, converting them into compost that is rich in nutrients and minerals. This, in turn, helps build a thriving garden.
What Does Baking Soda do to the Soil?
Despite not being the best option for your compost pile, baking soda is surprisingly good for your garden soil. The soda is gentle to almost all kinds of soil and it helps plants thrive and grow. Furthermore, it prevents fungal growth in plants and keeps pests at bay. So, if you’ve been constantly worried about the bug problem in your garden, baking soda is the way to go.
With that said, baking soda will only work when you apply the solution correctly. Typically, gardeners use this to boost the soil’s pH level. Once you add baking soda in the correct proportion, it will spike up the pH in less than 24 hours.
However, to achieve this, you need to till the soil properly, add the correct amount of water, and finally top it off with baking soda in moderation.
Using Baking Soda to Raise Soil pH
If you are looking to raise the soil pH with baking soda, consider following the below steps:
The first step here will involve testing your soil’s usual pH level. This is an excellent way to understand whether the pH level needs to be increased or decreased. Understanding the pH level of your soul will also offer insight into the exact amount of soda you would need. In case you are unsure about testing your soil’s pH individually, get it tested professionally for quick and fail-proof results.
In case you plan to do this individually, first get a pH meter or any similar test kit. Most of these kits already come with detailed instructions that are simple to comprehend and even easier to stick to.
If you do not have access to such kits, try a homemade test with vinegar and soda. Just arrange for specific soil samples from one spot. Make sure you dig at least four inches deep for the best results.
Once you have the samples, add some distilled water and give a gentle stir. You can now add one teaspoon of the soda and stir again. If you find the mix fizzing out like soda, it indicates that you have acidic soil.
Alternatively, if the soil starts to foam, it is indicative of alkaline soil. In case none of the ingredients result in a visible reaction, your garden soil can be considered neutral.
If you have acidic garden soil, baking soda can be a holy grail to neutralize the pH balance. To achieve this, add a single teaspoon of the soda to one large container of water. The water should be at least one gallon. Make sure to give a good mix before you finally add the concoction to your garden soil.
In case you are looking for faster results, just add the concoction and give it a quick mix. Also, avoid adding baking soda in large amounts as it may damage the soil. For best results, gradually add your concoction for several months. This will allow the soil to stabilize with the new ingredients.
The third step is fairly simple and basic. Once you are done adding the baking soda to the soil, it is now time to water the soil. Unless you add water, the acidic property of the soda won’t give an expected reaction. Lime always takes a while to adjust in extremely arid soil. That is why it is crucial to regularly water your soil and garden.
With that said, do not add excessive water as it might end up washing out the entire baking soda along with the minerals that come with it.
As the fourth and final step, we recommend you periodically assess your soil’s pH level. Once you add the concoction of baking soda, you can expect a spike in the pH level in less than 24 hours. Continue to perform regular tests on your soil to monitor any visible change.
It is also a great idea to tweak the pH level once in a couple of months. This will leave you with the kind of plant growth you always wanted. Make sure to check the soil after excessive rainfall or immediately after you add some fertilizers as both can potentially tamper your soil’s pH content. It’s best to follow these precautionary measures to avoid any long-term damage to your plants.
Is Baking Soda Good For Roses?
Very often, roses are infested with the common issue of black spots. These spots are perhaps best apparent on the leaves and their edges are fairly mottled. When the fungus starts to grow, your rose foliage will transform into a yellowish hue before eventually drying out and falling.
This spot affects the lower foliage of the bush, and then gradually moves upward bound. If your rose bush, however, is highly resistant, the foliage will stay for a longer period.
How Baking Soda Helps?
Baking soda is known for controlling the intensity of black spots on your rose bushes. However, for this to work, you will need to apply it immediately after you spot the black part. The soda is more of a preventative solution and should be applied periodically even before you discover those spots.
Since the soda is high in salt content, it can end up damaging your foliage if applied excessively. For best results, make a mixture with two teaspoons of baking soda, one teaspoon of any form of a horticultural solution, and dilute it with a gallon of water. Once the concoction is ready, spray it gently on your rose foliage.
How Does it Work?
Baking soda does not necessarily work as a fungicide when it comes to rose bushes. However, it operates as an alkaline solution that prevents fungi and black spots from developing.
Is Baking Soda Bad For the Environment?
Even though baking soda does not have any detrimental environmental consequences, the mining process of the soda may leave some repercussions. The soda is mined from trona which may lead to secondhand environmental damage, increasing the carbon footprint. However, organic baking soda doesn’t go through similar processes and can be considered eco-friendly.
Baking soda may not be the best option for your compost pile. However, it does come with its fair share of advantages. It improves the quality of your soil, helps maintain proper pH balance, and also reduces and prevents fungal infection on your rose bushes. If used in moderation and according to the right guidelines, baking soda can do wonders to your garden!