Homemade garden 'tonic' success stories?

KarinH(z7 (LI, NY))August 17, 2001

This seems like a place to start: I keep getting brochures from some guy selling this "Flower Power" book of secret recipes for growing amazing plants. The hints he drops involve things like whiskey, peroxide, dry dog food, cola, beer, to name a few.

Rather than send this man $28 and put my garden's life in his hands, I would much sooner trust you folks to tell me what you have tried that worked, and what didn't. Grandma's old rose tonic recipe, or something that the Mother Earth News printed 30 years ago, or something that your biochemistry degree led you to try, and what the results were... You know - Experiments!!

Then we can move on to the genetically engineered pussy-willows that purr.....

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm a bit new about giving out my "secrets" but thought someone might like to know. Please don't waste the whiskey.

I tried planting green beans around the inside of my aspargus bed this year. I also have the bed enclosed with PVC caging with wire - skunks - don't ya know.

Anyway, the companion combination was great. The beans "fixed" nitrogen and the aspargus loved it. I had a bumper crop of beans and it really helped my fledgling aspargus bed.

This is the 3rd year - and I hope to have great yields from now on.

That was my biggest surprise this year - but not my only experiment. I hope to grow Stropharia mushrooms as soon as I can figure out how to keep them happy.

Bye now.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2001 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, I got this recipe for fertilizer years ago out of a magazine and it is a great spring booster for plants and grass. We had a severe drought 3 years ago and we almost lost all our grass. I sprayed this on it every week for about 6 weeks and it all came back lush and green.
Mix this in a Miracle Gro Sprayer
1 pkg Miracle Gro
Can of beer (cheap stuff)
1/3 cup amonia
1/3 cup dishwashing soap or insecticidal soap such as dog shampoo
Don't know what makes it work, but it really does. katie

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 9:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)

About 1/2 of Bakers recipies really work.

The Grandma Putz are the old hand-me-downs collection
of stuff that has stood the test of time..

Most of those do work.

I was lucky I bought my first few booklets from K-Mart for $1.95 (no-longer available)

I do not support the human urine addition to the formulas.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

For a safe and effective spray to kill aphids (or any insect actually) take a large jar and fill with water, add a chunk of chewing tobacco wrapped in cheesecloth or in the toe of an old pair of pantyhose (to form a 'teabag'), and set it in the sun to brew. When the water has darkend pour some of the water off and put in a spray bottle with a teaspoon of dishsoap (don't use anti-bacteriel kinds). Spray infested plants, thoroughly wetting all the bugs. It kills them in seconds. Be sure to come back with your hose and rinse the plants very soon after spraying to remove the foul tobacco odor and wash off the dead bugs, as they won't enhance the flowers if you leave it. Try to avoid spraying any good bugs such as ladybugs or praying mantis. I have had really good results from this, and you don't have to worry about any lingering chemical residues or expensive insecticides.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 11:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A word of caution! Hpefully we will see some interesting formulas posted here. But, I do want to warn those gardening in southern areas with Centipede/St.Augustine type grasses to not apply high nitrogen products to these types of lawns. It will, in a few years, cause them harm. High nitrogen formulas can be used by the southern grower on veggies, annuals and perennials with no harm. But, not on the lawns.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bill_G(PNW OR)

Compost tea

A shovelful of finished compost into a 5 gallon bucket
A handful or two of alfalfa pellets
Fill the bucket with water
Let steep for at least a few days (the longer the better)
Skim off the light material that floats to the top
Stir the bucket occasionally
Let the big stuff precipitate out so the water clarifies
Dip out a quart into another 5 gallon bucket
Fill the remainder with water
Keep refilling with water until the tea is obviously weak
Spread the bottom sludge on the lawn or around the garden

Freely water all your house plants and garden with this everytime or every other time you water. No fears of overfertilizing. Promotes healthy growth and helps with both insect and disease control. Seems to reduce black spot on roses. Seems to retard blight in tomatoes and scab in potatoes. The alfalfa adds a good boost to the tea but can also encourage a bad odor as it steeps. So you can elect to not add the alfalfa pellets if you want. Or use the mixture quickly before it gets to awful.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
KarinH(z7 (LI, NY))

That one sounds a lot like the beer my brother used to brew... except for the shovelful of compost, at least! Letting it steep for a few days, it sounds like it starts to ferment. Maybe that Flower Power guy's beer idea wasn't so farfetched after all? The fermenting process reproduces live organisms (I think?), maybe they help to fight off diseases somehow. Boy, the old high school science leaks away over 25 years, doesn't it??

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 2:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)

Nope the beer does help. I noticed a gal that dumped a case of beer on her lawn and it really helped.

The beer, cloa and soap, helps a compost pile about the same as any of the high priced compost starters.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jansgarden(z4, WV)

My husband threw some dead fish in a 5 gallon bucket and filled it with water. He let it set for a week or two and it got very smelly, so he poured it out on some dead looking clay soil, and of course now it is a lush dark green place with plants and grass. He said he wasn't going to make that stuff again though. Too smelly to fool with.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2001 at 10:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The squash bugs were having a garden party in my pumpkin patch, so I handpicked as many as I could. Within days the vines were brown and dried up. The squash bugs and eggs were still present in great numbers on the leaves and on the ground. I poured about a half gallon of ammonia into the pump sprayer and added a lot of dish soap. I was very careful not to inhale the stuff...I mean like...WHEW!

I sprayed the area where the sb were and within moments it stopped em dead in their tracks. Maybe someone has used ammonia for purpose before.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2001 at 4:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm thinking soap may have had the same result without the ammonia......especially if you add olive or hort oil. Glad it worked!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought that you werent supposed to mix amnonia with detergents incase I think they have some sort of chlorine in it an it makes clouds of toxic deadly fumes.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that bad combo is ammonia & bleach for the Cl fumes. vgkg

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
petem(z7 Long Isl, NY)

does anyone have any home made remedies to bring back the green in my grass which was made brown because of my lazy dog urinating on it before he gets in the dog run. Something other than, shooting the dog.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Only thing I know of Pepe is to drown that spot with water, may have to repeat a couple of times to flush out the pee effects. vgkg

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 3:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All I know about those 'tonic recipes', is that I totally KILLED a bed of daylillies with it. I didn't try any more of them.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For the dog spots I heard somewhere "tomato juice". Something to do with the acid. Maybe worth an experiment.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
KarinH(z7 (LI, NY))

Daisy - Do you remember which "tonic recipe" in particular killed your daylilies? There are lots of them out there, & it would be good to know which ones to avoid. Also, it may have been just one particular combination of ingredients that went kerflooey, I wouldn't condemn all of them for one recipe's failure...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2001 at 7:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Daisy, if you remembered, you could probably make a fortune by selling it as Daylily Killer. People seem to be always trying to get rid of the things :-).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2001 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The squash bugs that survived have now moved on to the gourds. I used straight dish soap this time, quite a bit too. (no ammonia) The younger ones died but it didn't phase the adults.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2001 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Guys, I've looked and looked but I can't find those books. All I remember is it called for instant tea because I had to buy it, and I *still* have it after all this time. But a lot of his 'tonics' called for instant tea. And it did not call for urine, or I would have remembered that!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2001 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi folks, this was posted a while back on the organic forum. Perhaps you've already seen it? haven't tried any of the recipes myself yet. vgkg

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Brews (not beer ;o)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2001 at 7:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)

I am afraid of the newer, ammonia plus Mirical Gro recipies.

Reason is there is a thing called salt build up, Ammonium nitrate is a salt. In excess it can kill your plants.

Just a gut feel


    Bookmark   August 23, 2001 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I make my own herbal plant food using Comfrey.. Here is the link

Here is a link that might be useful: comfrey

    Bookmark   September 6, 2001 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Back to ammonia, one morning I found ants on my counter, the first thing I grabbed was the windex, it stopped them cold and haven't been back. I don't think I would spray it on plants though.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2001 at 8:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The area I sprayed with ammonia was bermuda grass and that big old volunteer pumpkin plant from the compost pile. It's been at least 3 weeks now and the bermuda grass STILL thrives....OH...don't I wish!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2001 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A great book for all you lovers of concoctions:....."Great Garden Formulas" by Rodale Press

    Bookmark   September 9, 2001 at 8:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a big 55 gal fish tank, I water all my plants with the nasty accumulation off the bottom of the tank. It works great.
I also dip off cups of water for whenever they need a drink.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2001 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judi_va(z8 va)

Nasty Tree Caterpillars
when we were in texas- once a year nasty caterpilars would cover the live oak trees,it was so gross that I would not go outside-it was like it was raining the silkworms(or whatever they were. $40.00+ for exterminator to spray
overheard one of the ladies in the checkout line of the grocers tellin to mix powdered tide in a quart jar-add to garden sprayer and spray trees at first sign of the 'catterpillars' I tried it and it worked so well that I did it the first year,bu 2nd year 50% reduction in the CP's by 3rd year no CP's at all.And I was grinnin at not havin to use exterminator anymore.:) :) :) I imagine it dissolved their exoskelton.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 7:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nora_in_vancouver(8b Wet Coast)

Yes! ammonia and some "new improved" dish soaps don't mix, because bleach has been added to the soap. Likewise, some dish soaps say "don't add any bleach".

Hard to beleive, but you really should read the label on your dish soap these days. I just about fell over when I saw that I was not supposed to add bleach to a new type! I wouldn't anyway, but I do know people who add bleach as a matter of course. Read your labels!

For mixing up garden tonics, use the cheapest dish soap, without any of the fancy "improvements". Baby shampoo is safer and does the same thing.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2001 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Hey Smitty,
Where can I get the russian comfrey seed, sounds like a great all purpose plant.

Mark in Mass.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

RE: Dog urine spots

My dog picked one spot to pee in every day. The grass was dead there all summer. Finally in about November, I sprinkled granulated sugar on the spot. We got some rain and today, that is the only green spot in the yard. While the rest of the lawn (St Augustine) went dormant, my one "dog spot" is tall and greener than ever.

I disagree with any tonic that puts alcohol on the yard. Alcohol is a disinfectant which non-selectively kills bacteria and fungi. If you dilute it and blow it through the air to evaporate the alcohol, you might have a chance, but the beneficial bacteria and fungi in your soil have a hard enough time surviving without pouring alcohol on them.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Go to:

Some of his tonics are there.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2002 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Zizzzybalooba(Niagara Ontario)

PeteM - Urine is generally a good fert just like manuer.. however my guess for why it turns the grass brown is that unlike manuer it has a high acidity... pouring large amounts of water would help bring the PH in that part of your lawn down.. you could also try mixing a diluted base solution and pouring it over the spot (baking soda and water?)... but then you risk getting PH off the other side of the scale... so my advice.... water often to keep the PH of your lawn at a level that wont harm your grass

As for the Beer in various formulas.... unless it is a mixture of nutrients in beer or perhaps the sugar content.. I could not see it being of any benifit to water your plants with a solution that is carboated...afterall.. roots breathe oxygen... not carbon dioxide

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 10:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Can we consider coffee a "tonic"? I had a common low light office plant, I've no idea of a common or scientific name, that survived and thrived on nothing, repeat nothing, except black coffee from 1982-94.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

I remember reading somewhere that the reason dog pee browns an area of grass or foliage is because it actually has an extremely high content of nitrogen, which ends up burning the plants/grass. The best thing for those situations is to dilute the area with water as soon as you can, but if the dog pees in that same spot over and over...I guess it would be a pain in the rear.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2002 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i was having an ant problem in my garden. was lisenning to the radio one day and a woman said that baby powder will ride your home of ants.Well i tryed on the ant hills in garden it work. they were gone

    Bookmark   March 13, 2002 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judi_va(z8 va)

When down south there were caterpillars that came raining out of the trees a certain time of year.It was so gross I wouldnt go outside.so we had the tree's sprayed-a few years later one of the ladies was saying how tide and water in a sprayer killed them.I tried it and it sure did.as a matter of fact it reduced the numbers of them the following year-somthing in it dissolves their outter shell.good riddens!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2002 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)

Dog urine burns your lawn because of the high ammonia content.

A couple tbsp tomato juice on your dogs food every time it eats helps reduce the ammonia content.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2002 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
BarbC(8 coastal SC)

Soapy water will get rid of fire ants in potted plants.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2002 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)


Tobacco formula,

If you used the Baker mix, Soap, tobacco juice and mouthwash you would find a very pleasant oder, I use lemon scented dishsoap and mint mouthwash A very nice smell.

If you are mixing per Mr Bakers instuctions you can't smell
the tobacco at all, The nicotine extracted from 1/3 oz of chewing tobacco into a 1 gal concentrate (this does have a slight oder), then diluted with 320 gals of water (or 8 oz concentrate per 20 gal of water or 1/2 oz per gal)


    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have those books you mentioned. My favorite allpurpose concoction based on ideas from them is this perk-up. It also takes care of discouraging pests and black spot on roses. I mix this in a 2 quart sprayer bottle:

1/2 tsp ivory dish soap (or baby shampoo)
1 tsp instant tea
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cooking oil
liquid fertilizer (appropriate to amount of water based on your brand)

I spray this on my houseplants once a week or so.

If I am spraying my roses, veggies, fruits or blooming plants I add: 1/2 capful Spray N Gro (blooming/fruiting hormone)

Every plant in my house and yard gets this mixture minimum every 2 weeks and I have blooms like you would NOT believe.

OH - and my other favorite "tonic" is any clear pop like 7up or Sprite - any leftovers in cans go straight into houseplants.

To the office poster above, I too grew an office plant on black coffee. It DOES work:) But the poor plant NEVER got any sleep!! LOL

I also sprinkle coffee and tea grounds around any plants, or work them into the soil.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sunny_Sky(Zone 4 - Desert Climate)

I mix kelp with water, blend to a liquid and spray on my vegetables to deter insects. The kelp also acts as a fertilizer and I've found that I have a higher yield of tastier veggies.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2002 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey, kittykatz is correct from what i have experienced.
I know a man that uses this same exact recipe and his tomatoes are the largest in our area!
I am going to try it this year as well

    Bookmark   May 17, 2002 at 12:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

Whenever I hear about dogs urine killing grass I always wonder why my dogs urine never does. The area she uses is the fastest growing and greenest.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2002 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ratherbgardening, one of two things could be happening. Your soil could be nitrogen poor to begin with and the dog's urine is actually acting as a good fertilizer. Or, your dog's urine could be very dilute. Just as a precaution, perhaps you should have your dog examined by your vet. Definitely have her examined if she is drinking and urinating alot or if she is older than six years. She could a treatable medical condition.

Dog urine contains urea a very good source of nitrogen. Urea is broken down rapidly by urease containing bacteria in the presence of water to ammonium carbonate and then further breaks down into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Until the ammonia is broken down to nitrate, the area will have a high pH and high ammonia level. This is what kills seeds and small roots. After the ammonia is broken down to nitrate (usually a matter of hours if its warm out) the area pH will lower. So the net result is a lower pH.

Ammonia is a gas. The ammonia you clean with is this gas dissolved in water. If you spray this ammonia/water combination on your plants, this ammonia will simply be lost to the air, contributing to higher than normal nitrogen levels in the air that are blamed for weird and bizarre north
Atlantic algae blooms. One of the reasons you are taught to scratch in fertilizers into the soil is to prevent the nitrogen (plants use either ammonia or nitrate ions as nitrogen sources) from being lost to the air (volatization).

At any rate that what I remember from ornamental horticulure 121.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2002 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is the second go round on my deck plants with fighting this critters. Any idea on how to safely get rid of them and save my plants?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2002 at 5:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What kind of a dog do you have? This makes a difference. For instance, Dalmations have unique kidney functions and their urine does not discolor grass.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

have read its the higher protien dog foods that are generally advertized for active or working pets that is fed to the dogs that cause lawn spotting....
Large & small Dogs here have never brown spotted the lawn.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2002 at 10:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am a newcomwer to this forum,but this thread interested me because I may have accidentally come upon a 'tonic' that seems to act as a foliar fertilizer(?) I use raw eggs /water to deter deer and it works perfectly but I am noticing that the plants I use this on look the best ever even with the drought we've been having. I was wondering if any one has heard of egg as a beneficial plant tonic...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2002 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tried the concoction where you mix tobacco juice, soap, whiskey, etc., and spray your plants to rid them of pests. Only thing it got rid of was the plant itself. Killed it. I ended up drinking the whiskey :)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2002 at 6:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The two folks whose dog urine causes no problem live in pretty rainy areas I think- PNW and FL. The San Antonian I am sure goes long periods without rain (but not lately my inlaws tell me). Unsure if it is nitrogen or pH problem but enough rain and it doesn't matter. Can you afford in San Antonio to water enough to avoid problem? Had a dog (male) kill off a cedar bush that way.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2002 at 2:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arden_nj(z6 NJ)

Did a bit of research on the dog urine thing when we noticed that my brothers dog kills grass and mine does not.
Doesn't matter if it's his sandy yard in MD or my red clay in NJ. His is male, mine female (one would think more concentrated)

What we found out is that there are several theories as to why some dogs urine is bad and some is not. Most of them involve diet. The link below explains. Personally, I don't buy #2, the concentration of the urine. My dog is crated for several hours a day, the grass-killer has free access to water all day. his should be less concentrated.

On a side note, Lilacs love human urine. (Potty training story-don't ask the details, just take my word for it.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Grass Heads and Lawn Killers

    Bookmark   November 13, 2002 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lisaloo(MA z6)

So, on the dog pee topic ... if urea has beneficial aspects, should I train my dog to go on a compost pile? Would it help the compost break down any faster? Certainly could help protect my lawn if he is a brown-spot-causer (dont know, new to this house and just put in our lawn, which he's still not really allowed on -- to tender to handle the paw traffic)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2002 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
braidnboots(z6 AR Ozarks)

hey...i want to understand what is happening when we ferment alfalfa pellets, bat guano, watercress etc. in water before we pour the tea into the soil. soil organisms will break down the nutrients if we just work the raw materials into the soil. i am thinking that fermenting the tea will speed up nutrient availability...any scientific thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
phantomfyre(z5, N. IL)

Hello, all! New to this forum, but love it already, as I love doing garden experiments!

Braidnboots, somewhere I picked up something that is rattling around in my brain about the fermenting thing. The fermenting process forms sugars that feed beneficial organisms so they mulitply rapidly, thus providing a boon of beneficials to the area when you use the tea.

Also, just a general comment/question - I'd be leary of using tobacco in any concoction in the garden - couldn't that transmit the Tobacco Mosiac Virus? I know some plants aren't affected, but I wouldn't want to risk introducing it to the garden on the chance it might make it to plants that are affected. (Tomatoes and other nightshades, for example.)


    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
braidnboots(z6 AR Ozarks)

hi diana, yup, my brain is rattling around too. when we ferment fruit, first we get alcohol, then we get vinegar. there are gazillions of bacterias and yeasts...when i ferment botanical teas i get the retched smell and sometimes a vinegar mother...when we compost aerobically we get oxygen involved and as long as the carbon to protein ratio is correct, the moisture level is about right and the pile gets forked then the smell is not too terrible, even in the early stages. on the other hand, when there the oxygen levels are low, as in covered pits or when rain keeps the pile too wet too long, the smell is terrible. bacteria works to our advantage most of the time in the soil. on the other hand, terrible smell is objectionable, makes me imagine terrible bacteria, it repels us...i don't eat what smells terrible so it is a huge leap of faith to feed the soil and plants something that smells rotten. I have often read that it is important to add a source of sugar to nitrogen fertilizers. Sugar is important to the fermentation process when making wine...so i think i am on the verge of understanding something here. i wonder if the fermentation of botanical teas should be done for a prescribed period of time...like, until the rank smell turns to a smell like alcohol or vinegar to be good for soil life...or if soil life would prefer the rank stuff.???

    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
byron(4a/5b NH)


The original Tobacco juice formula was tabacco, soap and mouthwash nothing else, I have used it about 10 years and never even had leaf scortch say mothing about killing plant. I have used it on just barely emerging seedlings with no problems


FWIW ALL varieties of chewing, cigar and pipe tobacco have been TMV free for 40 years. In 98 the cigarette tobacco was 0.237% ~ this is US crop..

Betty Bloomers

Adding ammonia what happens is that ammonia combines with nitrogen in the air and soil producing ammonium nitrate. Read side panel of your fertilzer box Nitrogen derived from Ammonium nitrate

Tea look at the micro nutrients in tea

Cola look at the side label, Preservative Phosphoric acid P2O5 Look at the side panel of most fertlizers Phosphour derived from Phosphoric Acid P2O5, Plus sugar to feed the micro herd

Beer you could sub with a pinch of ale yeast. A homebrew works better.

Guniess uses Nitrogen for their bubbles

Dog P try 1 cup of molasses or corn syrup in a 20 gal hose end sprayer. The high carbon content will help neutralize it

Human urine, best use is around the outer perminiter as a deer deterent. I have seen tracks 25 ft away from my garden
but no damage. Not on my veggies

    Bookmark   March 11, 2004 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oobie(z2 New Mexico)

Anybody have any information about a concoction that gets rid of Bark Beetles??!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2004 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does anyone have a tonic for keeping cats from pooping in my garden beds? thank you, or a tonic for keeping cats out of the garden area?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, this is for "daughterjane" in regards to keeping cats out her garden beds. Try puting down red pepper flakes. It has worked for years for my neighbors. I have 2 cats, that loved their flower beds and to keep peace and happy neighbors, I kept them supplied with red pepper flakes. The cats hated the smell and stayed out of the beds and didn't hurt the plants. Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 7:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I buy large containers of cayenne pepper at Sam's and use it to keep the rabbits from eating stuff.

Also, I read somewhere that peroxide (the kind sold in beauty supply places) is also very good for plants

Seed germination: 1/2 oz. to 1 pint of water. Soak overnight.
Indoor/Outdoor plants: 1 oz. to 64oz of water. Spray twice weekly.
Mildew Plants: 2 oz. 6% H202 to 64 oz. water spray twice weekly. (maximum 5 oz.)
Mold: Wash or spray area with 3% H202.
Fertilizers: H202 will neutralize chemicals in mixture.
Insecticide spray: 4-8 oz. plus 8 oz. of mollasses or white sugar, per gallon of water.

See link for interesting article

Here is a link that might be useful: From the January 2003 Idaho Observer:

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For babsclare

Yep, you can use moth balls or moth crystals and the cats will stay out - you can also use indoors the keep the cats away from things you don't want scratched or broken.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 5:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, the message about moth balls was for daughterjane.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 5:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know about using the eggs but my grandmother would mash egg shells put them in a wide mouth jar and add water. after the jar was 1/2 shells & 1/2 water she would add the mixture to the garden soil and she had the biggest flowers in our end of town. I still use this old jewel & it works for me.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 5:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've got a bunch of cigarette 'outposts' around campus. Sometimes we empty one (100+ butts) into a bucket of water and let it steep for a couple days. I pour the resulting 'butt tea' around the base of rhodies and viburnum that are having problems with root weevil. The nicotine does the rest.

Wear gloves. The stuff is nasty.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anybody know any good tonics for powdery mildew, blight, or that sort of thing.I got hit hard last weekend with an assortment of tree diseases.I used the chemical sprays, but would rather use safer , and less dangerous ones on my follow up sprays.

Thanks, Richard

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I had a place where there were two sorts of tumbleweed like plants. Roundup would just flow off the waxy leaves and do nothing. So I mixed the roundup with dish soap and foamed the feeds and the died.

I have nothing to try it on now but I would like to foam the leaves of something with dish soap and a liquid folar feed and see how it compares to just folar feeding - I have never been impressed with folar feeding in the past. Maybe I need to foam it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To Garden Jane-re:cats in gardens
Cats hate citrus smells so you can use orange, lemon and lime rinds and zest etc
DO NOT USE CAYENNE PEPPER -- the pepper solutions you read about cause the pepper to get on paws , then cats try to lick it off, gets in eyes, they can scratch their eyes out.
Try putting plastic forks upside down, pushed down in the soil. They won't like the feel of that. Of course their are many safe repellants you can buy, too.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi there!
i want to try mixing some potions for my plants and i have the ingredients chewing tobacco and other natural stuff (the ones from baker's book),but it's hard to find chewing tobacco nowadays.can i use smoking cigarette instead?i hope you could advice me on this because i'm still uncertain,but i need to feed my plants and lawns because it's already spring.thanks! :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found this recipe on internet a couple years ago:
1 tsp salt petre
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp epson salt
1/2 tsp ammonia
1 gallon of water.

I haven't tried it on many things but I did use it on my young african violets .. It worked very well.

has anyone else tried this recipe??
And if so, how did it work for you??

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 5:41PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Planting Fig tree cuttings under boulders
This is my new experiment. Our acreage is studded with...
Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b
Human vitamins for plants
I read on here that someone uses vitamins dissolved...
Tomato Plant & Coper Wire Experiment
Hi Folks, well as some of you may know I had tried...
Recycling a recycling container
...might be a garbage container. Whatever it is/was,...
Chestnuts: "Nutgrafting"
Anyone knows the grafting method described in the photo? I...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™