Feeding your plants for continued sassy growth and production makes sense, sure, as they use up soil nutrients. And we think a healthy plant resists pests and diseases. That may be true for diseases, but not necessarily so for pests! They love a healthy plant, just like we do!
Most gardeners think of putting food on or in the ground for their plants, but in some instances, plants actually have more uptake through their leaves! There is tons more surface, especially if you spray under the leaves as well as wetting them down. Uptake is faster and more intense. So foliar feeding and treating is best!
- All kinds of teas are great – manure, worm, compost, fish emulsion/kelp mix
- Epsom Salts for Solanaceae – peppers especially, but also tomatoes, potatoes, tomatillo, eggplant, chayote! Tablespoon/gallon.
Pest prevention and strong bodies begins when your plant is a baby! When you put those transplants in, that’s when their care needs to start. You can apply Powdered Milk, Baking soda and Aspirin together.
- Powdered milk is a natural germicide and boosts their immune systems. Use especially on your young bean plants, all your cucurbits – cukes, zuchs, any mildew prone plant. 1/4 Cup/gallon.
- Baking Soda makes the leaves alkaline and inhibits fungal spores! Apply every 5 to 10 days, or after significant rains, as the plant grows, because these new plant tissues are not yet protected by your fungicide. A heaping Tablespoon/gallon, with a 1/2 Teaspoon of a surfactant – insecticidal or dish soap or salad oil, does the job.
- Salicylic acid, in aspirin, triggers a defense response in tomatoes and other plants as well, and stimulates growth! One regular strength dissolved/gallon.
- Hydrogen peroxide (from your drug store) adds Oxygen. Oxygen allows even more uptake of nutrients! It is speculated your plants will then need only a half to a third of other regular fertilizers you use! Your plants will be healthier, stronger, last longer, look great! Spray it right on the roots when you transplant, and spray the planting hole. Wet them good. Katrina Savell says: Many disease causing organisms, pests, algae, fungus and spores are killed by oxygen, which is why the additional oxygen in H2O2 is so handy in the garden. Important details
One step earlier, you can start with your seeds, presoaking, presprouting! From the web:
- OKRA is one hard seed!!!! I presoak my okra seed in 1 pint of warm water containing 1 tablespoon of household bleach to pre-soften the seed for 24 hours before planting. [Some soak them 48 hours!]
- I would never use bleach in the soaking solution. If you are worried about contamination, try soaking in chamomile tea or 3% hydrogen peroxide instead. If the seed is purchased, I wouldn’t bother.
- Hydrogen peroxide, both in soak and rinse solutions: 1 oz. of 3% H²O² to 1 pint of water. Sprouts come up faster. Some people have reported 3/4″ sprouts in 24 hours. Last year I soaked my bean seeds in a kelp solution before planting and they sprouted in about 2 days. [Caution – bean seeds need very little soaking or laying in dampened paper towels. They decompose quickly.]
You can see the contrasts of thinking. Find your own way that you enjoy. And, of course, seeds vary, so you might use one soaking/presprouting technique for one, and something else for another. See more
To make your work easier, have a watering can that does the job. A long spout with a rose that turns up so you can get under the leaves is perfect! These Dramm cans are the best for the price, under $20! Big accessible opening to easily add ingredients to your mix. And they come in colors to suit your happiness! Yes!