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Grow with KARE: Fact or Fiction, week 1

We’re kicking off a 4-week series where we're looking into common gardening advice. Our first topic: three do-it-yourself sprays for garden pests and problems.

We’re kicking off a four-week series called Grow with KARE – Fact or Fiction. We’re looking into common gardening advice and letting you know if it’s good advice or just a waste of time. 

Our first topic includes three do-it-yourself sprays for garden pests and problems.

First up, should you spray milk on plants with powdery mildew? This one is a fact. Several studies show a spray of 30% milk is effective in controlling powdery mildew. The earlier you catch the fungus, the more easily it's controlled. 

Next, does a baking soda spray control fungal infections? This one is fiction. Homemade baking soda spray, which also often includes soap and/or oil are rarely effective. A spray made with potassium bicarbonate, or of course milk, are much more effective.

And last up this week, will an aspirin spray on tomatoes help fight off bacteria and insects? This is fact. A USDA and master gardener study both showed success. One and a half aspirin tablets dissolved in two gallons of water first sprayed on the leaves for four weeks after planting and then poured over the soil to drench the roots had significant impact on keeping the plants healthy. 

Next week we’ll talk about an Epsom salt spray and using vinegar to kill weeds.