orgoveg
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milk & baking soda - disease control

When neem oil doesn't work for a particular plant disease, my next step is either milk or baking soda. Sometimes one or the other will help.

I just tried milk + baking soda mixed together (diluted with water) on some black mustard plants. Does anyone know if the two will counteract each other? Or any other reason not to do this?

I just did it last night and it rained all day, so I have to do it again.\?

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rainbowgardener
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After the rain, yes you would have to re apply.

Re combining the milk solution and baking solution, I don't know. I would tend to think they would counteract each other because milk has lactic acid and is acidic. Baking soda is a weak base, ie. somewhat alkaline. The reason the milk solution works is the lactobacillus is anti-fungal. But the lactobacillus is adapted to live in an acidic environment.

However, I also have heard that A PINCH of baking soda can be added to milk to keep it fresh longer. This is because as it keeps growing the lactic acid bacteria (of which I think lactobacillus is not the only one) keep converting lactose (a sugar found in milk) into lactic acid. So the milk gets more and more acid and sours (and also curdles due to the effect of the acidity on the milk proteins). Adding a weak base like baking soda conteracts this drop in pH allowing the milk to last longer in warm temperatures.

But I am thinking (all this is speculation remember) that the pinch of baking soda wouldn't be enough to increase the anti-fungal effect of the milk solution. If you added enough baking soda to have anti-fungal effects on its own, I'm thinking you would stop the action of the lactobacillus. Therefore probably one or the other. But since they do have to be reapplied after rains or every couple weeks, it is helpful to do one and then the other, rather than sticking with the same choice. Fungi that aren't eliminated by one, may be susceptible to the other and it is harder for them to build up resistance when you keep changing the method of attack (this is the drug cocktail theory).
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Good insights, Apps.

I thing that by combining the two, you may even make it too strong, however, this is just my dumb hypothesis, backed up by no scientific evidence.

Why say it then? Well, just to say that there are a number of things that could happen, most of which probably won't be good.

I'd stick with what Apps said and only use one at a time.

Also, you don't want to go about a 3:1 milk:water ratio for the milk solution. It becomes detrimental past this point.

Good luck.
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Ozark Lady
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In dairy goat forums a use for excess milk is watering the garden. They use it straight, and it does not hurt plants in the least.

I have never heard of putting baking soda on plants. We use it for indigestion or baking, or even cleaning. But, it tastes salty to me, and anything that tastes salty would not be great for plants in my opinion.

I also have never heard of putting baking soda in milk, interesting.
I keep having yogurt get too acidic, might be worth a try to tame it some.
But, usually the temp affects those lacto guys, the warmer temps encourage the sour bacteria, and cooler temps for making yogurt encourage the sweeter bacteria. So, I culture yogurt at cooler temps to keep it sweeter!
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gixxerific
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Yeah I not sure on the mixing of Baking soda and milk. Separately they would be good I would think.

I did a little mix this morning but it was milk and the left overs of cottage cheese (a slurry) I assume that this would be good just as if you used yogurt which I don't have on hand.

orgoveg
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As always, thank you for your well thought out and detailed response. It makes perfect sense to me. I'm going with the cow juice first :)

I don't know why the slash and question mark appeared at the end of my first post. It wasn't a question :)

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rainbowgardener
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garden5 wrote:
Also, you don't want to go about a 3:1 milk:water ratio for the milk solution. It becomes detrimental past this point.

Good luck.
It's me... I think you meant 1:3 milk to water (or else 3:1 water: milk) although I have used it at 50:50 and not seen any detrimental effects.
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sheeshshe
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what I want to know is why if you go to gardenweb they all say that the milk/water solution is a wives tale and it does nothing yet on here everyone says it works wonders. why the varying of opinions?

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gixxerific
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sheeshshe wrote:what I want to know is why if you go to gardenweb they all say that the milk/water solution is a wives tale and it does nothing yet on here everyone says it works wonders. why the varying of opinions?
Well that's because &(*#&$(#*$%@#(%*)@(#*%)( and some more edited stuff.

Did I mention the true gardeners hale form here.

Can I say that?

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sheeshshe
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LOL! I didn't quite gather all of that but sure! LOL! whatever you say :lol:

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Ozark Lady
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Milk is about 3% protein, which is nitrogen.
Milk is a good source of calcium, have you noticed calcium deficiencies?
Milk is also anti-fungal.

I use raw milk, and even whey from cheese making, this adds all kinds of lacto bacilli... They will simply eat alot of the bad guys.

Milk is also an acid, and many bacteria can only grow in an alkaline condition...

So, you decide, is it worth your time to use? Not at milks costs?

Well, how bout, rinse out your milk glass, or bowl, milk jug or yogurt container and save the water for the garden, or any milk that sours, or dairy foods that spoil... it costs you nothing at all.
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sheeshshe
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we don't use milk here since nobody can tolerate it. but I do have some dried milk here. that is all I have :)

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Ozark Lady
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I used powdered milk last year, and it worked fine, I just diluted it and used it as a foliar spray.
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garden5
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RG, yeah, that's exactly what I meant :oops:; don't know how I ever goofed that one up :roll:.

She, milk has anti fungal qualities, which makes it effective at preventing PM...which is a fungus.

Now, I can't find or remember where, but I seem to remember reading something that said something to the effect that the milk solution was better than the baking soda solution for combating PM. Yeah, really conclusive, I know (being sarcastic here).
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rainbowgardener
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I'm not sure which works better, but both of them work better used preventatively or at the first sign of an outbreak. Once the infection is really advanced, it's difficult to deal with...
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Baking Soda has a somewhat astringent effect on fungus and molds, so it does work pretty well, but since it is not laeled for that purpose, the company cannot recommend it for that use. Getting a gov't approval for off-label usage is VERY expensive, hence, Arm and Hammer was reluctant to do so.
HOWEVER.....there are now some products out in the Organic lines that do contain this ingredient! As organic growing becomes more mainstream, we may also see some milk based products down the road. It all has to do with enough people demanding something to make it profitable to produce.
Therefore....until the gov't garden inspectors get to your place, you can use the incredibly low cost baking soda to your hearts content.
It does have to be reapplied after rainfall.
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I believe HG once said that Milk Solution/lactobacilus bacteria would stick to the leaves because the bacteria would make their own "stick-ums" (a technical term :wink:). I generally use the Milk Solution anyway, but I use it with some confidence even when rain is in the forecast.

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rainbowgardener wrote:I'm not sure which works better, but both of them work better used preventatively or at the first sign of an outbreak. Once the infection is really advanced, it's difficult to deal with...
That's the big caveat: these things are best used as preventative measures. If you use them as a treatment, you may be successful if the spread is in it's early stages, but I've yet to hear of someone successfully beating a moderate to heavy infestation of PM with milk or baking soda (though I would like to :wink:).
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orgoveg
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I've never eradicated a disease, but often it slows the development enough to allow for some kind of harvest. It's combined with removing damaged foliage, of course

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