Rhizo1 -- couple questions

woohoomanJune 17, 2013

Hey, got a couple questions for you.

I've noticed on more than one occasion you recommend adding a tad of vinegar to soap solutions. But, whenever I've done this, the soap curdles and separates from the solution. While I shake my sprayer vigorously every few minutes while I do the spraying, when I'm done i still notice quite a bit of soap solids left in the tank. This can't be a good thing, no? Is it the IVORY soap that I'm using? Should I try fels naptha or castile? Or what?

Also, regarding Powdery Mildew and the use of a baking soda solution. I've read that the reason why baking soda is effective is because it changes the ph of the leaves' surfaces which, in turn, creates an environment unfavorable for the spores to reproduce. So, do you also recommend vinegar to be added to this solution also? it would seem kind of counterproductive given that baking soda is basic and vinegar is acidic.

Thanks a lot and anybody else who wants to chime in, feel free.


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Woohooman, I've never recommended a homemade soap concoction and have no way of knowing how such a mixture will react to vinegar. Commercial insecticidal soaps are the only soap products I have ever recommended. If a consumer is not happy with the results, the efficacy of insecticidal soaps can be improved (if pH is an issue) by adding a small amount of vinegat to the water. 1 to 3 tablespoons per gallon.

I've also never recommended baking soda for powdery mildew. I have seen apple cider vinegar used in water for PM, but doubt that anyone should mix the two.

I've always used sprays of plain water to rinse PM from foliage, which is extremely effective in the early stages. Neem oil will halt and cure a more advanced infection.

Sorry that I cannot help you with your exact questions.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:24PM
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No problem.

You're right -- you have said to use the commercial ones. In fact, you're quite adamant about recommending ONLY commercial products.... Sorry. I was just wondering if it applied to homemade solutions also. Does it cause the commercial ones to curdle also?

Also, about the pm. I didn't say you recommended baking soda for it. I was just wondering if you were to use it(since it is a widely known solution), you probably wouldn't want to add vinegar. Which you just confirmed.

Btw, apple cider vinegar, huh? You happen to know how effective it is and how much per gallon and any particular veggies which I should avoid applying it.



    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:33PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd use it at the rate of about 2 tablespoons per gallon. It would be safe a bit stronger than that. To the other question, I always use vinegar in the water when using insecticidal soap.

On this subject, there are some "home remedy " items I've used over the years. One is rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) at the rate of one part to three parts water to mist for mealy bugs, aphids, and scale crawlers on house plants. I've also used cinnamon and chamomile tea to help prevent damping off issues in my seed germination flats. Cayenne pepper mixed with bird seed to keep the squirrels away and sprinkled on the top of outdoor containers to foil chipmunks.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:50AM
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I have never seen a commercial Insecticidal Soap that suggested adding anything, much less Vinegar, to it and since the Vinegar would do nothing to make the soap mixtuire more effective there is no good reason to add any. Adding something to a commercially available product may be a violation of federal law unless the label says you need to add that something.
To make a homemade Insecticidal Soap you can use any soap that is made by reacting animal fats with lye or a vegetable soil made with oils. It is the fatty acids in soaps that disolve the exoskeleton of the insects and detergents do not have those. Ivory may be a good choice if you use the original style Ivory, Fels Naptha is good and any of the Castile soaps also would be. When disolving the soap warm to hot water helps.
Baking Soda, Sodium Bicarbonate, is a mildly alkaline substance that may change the pH of a leaf. Some reserarch suggests that an oil added to the Baking Soda solution helps and that Potassium Bicarbonate is more effective as a Powdery Mildew control.

This post was edited by kimmsr on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 7:16

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:15AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

kevin ...

you need to start this.. by having your water tested.. and finding out where you are starting with water pH..

before you go changing it with vinegar.. etc ...

if you are on a city water system.. the city might know the pH offhand..

i have been where you are .. flailing about... trying to grasp a whole bunch of variables ... and trying to come to conclusions ...

when you use a commercial product.. all kinds of scientists.. have dealt with all these variables.. to hopefully come up with a problem solver ... and there are phone numbers to call to discuss with said peeps ...

when you are relying on homebrews ... you have nothing but old wive tales.. and hearsay .. and wishes and dreams... witches.. trolls.. and various insundry 'experts' ... lol ..

and when their remedies fail ... there is no one to talk to about it ... so you are here.. trying to ask us.. about witches brews.. most have us have never used ..

isnt it all so frustrating ....


    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmster, not only is it perfectly legal to alter the pH of your spray water but it's a common and necessary practice to increase the effectiveness and stability of some tank sprays. There's no reason why you would know that, as a non-professional. Water pH is tested very frequently and adjusted as needed by an acidifying buffering agent. Vinegar is not used professionally, it's too weak of an acid, but perfectly suitable for hobby gardeners.

How about helping Kevin out by explaining how much bar soap or liquid soap to use as well as any other directions you might have. Lots of people use home made soap sprays with varying degrees of luck and not without damage. Some instructions and warnings on your part would probably be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Always happy to strike up debate. As my Mom always said, "I'd argue with a fence post."

Anywho.. what I have done is I got an Ivory BAR, grated it down and then added water to it in a gallon jar. Over a couple days with some shaking, it's now the consistency of(excuse the gross out) human snot. I then add a TB of it to a tank sprayer per gal of water(which I've read recently that if I have an alkali water, insecticidal soaps(commercial or homemade) are worthless), sometimes add a TB of Canola oil, shake it real well, let it sit for a couple hours, then go spray, shaking often as I do.

I just happened to notice whenever I add the vinegar, the soap solids curdle(oil added or not).

Maybe I should do what I did last time and use the water from the fridge which is filtered, but without the vinegar? At least this way I start with a more neutral water ph?

Ken: you're funny... :) You always make me feel like I'm doing things the right way ;)

kimmsr: I also have some castile bars but I've read that if there's additives like olive oil and fragrance that I shouldn't use. Here's the ingredients list and the label name--Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Water, Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Lanolin, Citric Acid, Olive Oil, Preservative. -- Castile Beauty Soap with Olive Oil.

Thanks all.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Just called the water district -- my ph is around 8.2

Frickin hard water! I guess it's better for corrosion than ACIDIC water though, huh. At least that's what the guy told me.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:01PM
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