Why should we put baking soda on plants? There’s a very specific reason why we should always do this.

Baking soda is a versatile product that can be found in every home. It excels in performing a wide range of functions, including cleaning various surfaces and effectively softening dried vegetables.

It also provides relief as a digestive aid after consuming a particularly heavy meal.

Many people are unaware that bicarbonate can be a valuable tool in the ecological protection of gardens, orchards and plants .

Its effectiveness is particularly evident in its ability to combat powdery mildew, a common pathogen that affects a variety of plants including grapevines, zucchinis and sage.

In agriculture, there are two distinct forms of bicarbonate: sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate .

Although these compounds are similar in nature, they serve specific purposes, especially in fighting fungal diseases.

Their properties make them an optimal choice for organic farming, as they offer an effective fungicide treatment.

Finding baking soda is an easy task, and it’s an affordable option too. Plus, it’s an ideal choice for both family allotments and regular gardens .

Now, let’s explore the distinguishing characteristics of baking soda and compare it with potassium bicarbonate.

Furthermore, we will discuss appropriate situations for its use and appropriate methods for conducting treatments.

Potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate

When it comes to bicarbonate, it’s important to distinguish between baking soda and potassium bicarbonate.

Although these two compounds share similarities , they vary in both their molecular structure and official classification for their agricultural applications .

Sodium bicarbonate, chemically known as the sodium salt of carbonic acid, appears as a fine white, odorless powder that can be dissolved in water at room temperature.

It is derived from the combination of sodium carbonate, water and carbon dioxide. In agriculture, sodium bicarbonate is classified as an ” invigorating ” and is considered an enhancer of the natural defense mechanisms of plants.

Put baking soda on a seedling

This classification is specified in Annex 2 of the new DM 6793, of 07/18/2018, which integrates the existing European legislation governing the organic sector in Italy .

Potassium bicarbonate is a derivative of carbonic acid, specifically derived from potassium carbonate.

Unlike baking soda, it is primarily considered a pesticide rather than a tonic. Consequently, it falls under the jurisdiction of existing pesticide regulations.

Fortunately, its effectiveness is limited to just one day, allowing the treatment to be carried out before the fruit ripens .

It is important to note that the term “ripe” refers to the designated time interval, measured in days, between final treatment and harvest.

If professional farmers have the necessary “licence”, a document issued at the end of a specialized training course, they can use pesticides.

In contrast, hobbyist farmers currently do not require such authorization and have access to different product formats than those intended for professional use.

However, since the entry into force of the NAP (National Action Plan) in 2015, which has effectively regulated and limited the entire pesticide industry , even in conventional agriculture, the range of products available for purchase by of private individuals has significantly decreased.

Consequently, this has limited the imprudent use of harmful, polluting and health-damaging substances.

In this way, people are encouraged to opt for more environmentally friendly alternatives when caring for their vegetable gardens, orchards and lawns.

Why put baking soda on plants?

There are two variants of baking soda that serve the purpose of safeguarding plants against certain fungal or cryptogamic ailments.

By raising the pH of the liquid solution, the presence of bicarbonate generates unfavorable circumstances for the growth and expansion of harmful fungal mycelia .

Bicarbonate on plants

This, in turn, leads to their dehydration and subsequent prevention of further propagation.

How the treatments should be carried out

In order for the treatments that use the two variants of bicarbonate to give the desired results, it is essential that the intervention takes place promptly, as soon as the first signs of the disorder appear.

The effect is essentially preventative and serves to inhibit further progression , but does not possess the ability to restore plants that have already suffered significant damage.

The use of sodium bicarbonate is subject to the desired concentration, which ranges from 500 g to a maximum of 1500 g per hectoliter of water .

These recommended quantities are applicable to large areas using distribution machines, but the same proportion also applies to smaller-scale crops.

For example, when preparing a solution in a 1 liter spray bottle, it is recommended to include 5-15 g of baking soda . Conversely, using a 15 liter backpack pump, the ideal quantity would be around 75-225 grams .

When using plant protection products of any type, whether ecological or not, it is essential to stick to the recommended dosage.

Even seemingly innocuous substances such as baking soda can cause burns if applied excessively and can lead to an increase in pH if accumulated in the soil over time. Similar problems arise with excessive use of potassium bicarbonate.

When it comes to potassium bicarbonate, the commercial product label provides recommended dosages for various species (although there may be variations) and necessary precautions for use .

To ensure the effectiveness of the treatments it is essential to carry them out in the coolest periods of the day.

It is particularly important to avoid treating plants when ambient temperatures exceed 35°C , as this could potentially lead to a harmful effect on plants known as phytotoxicity .

This limitation presents a challenge when combating powdery mildew in cucurbits during the summer, as even sulfur treatments may not be sufficient at extremely high temperatures.

In such cases it is necessary to wait patiently for the cooler days and in the meantime remove the most affected leaves.