After reading this article, you might say no to those toxic chemical solutions and use milk instead for treating problems and diseases of your plants.
Yeah, milk is a good source of calcium, disinfectant, fungicide, and more, which not only helps enhance human health but also fortifies soil health and plant hardiness. Below are the 6 little-known ways to use milk in your garden.
Milk and Molasses
FYI, molasses is a byproduct of processing sugar beets or sugar canes into sugar. It is rich in several minerals and vitamins plus its texture is very viscous.
There are 3 grades of molasses:
Therein, blackstrap molasses is particularly precious because they contain a great amount of iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Molasses are multi-use in garden-improving. Here are the two most popular applications, combining with milk:
Use As A Plant Food
Milk and molasses are a great combination as plant foods, especially for heavy feeders, like melons, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.
The best formula is:
- 1 cup of milk
- 4 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons of molasses
Applying this mixture to your plants during their growing season will give you abundant crops and more flavorful production.
Use As Weed Control
Sound amazing, huh?
The reason is broadleaf weeds need a high amount of potassium and nitrate to thrive while the solution of milk and molasses is rich in phosphorus and calcium, which creates an unfavorable environment for weed seeds to germinate.
Therefore, they can control some weed varieties.
Use As Pesticide
According to a research-proven by Punjab University, India, cow milk can be used as an effective soft-body insecticide and fungicide.
It can control spider mites, thrips, and aphids because they don’t have pancreas to digest milk.
The higher the concentration of milk, the more effective pest-control properties.
How to use: Based on Linda Chalker-Scott, an urban horticulturist and also the associate professor at Washington State University, when spraying on plant leaves a solution of milk and water in 50:50 ratio, aphids are kept at bay right away.
Use As A Treatment Of Calcium Deficiency In Tomatoes
One of the most common issues in tomato plants is blossom-end rot: at the blossom end of the plant, there is a water-soaked spot.
This is actually not a disease, but more about a physiological disorder created by a calcium deficiency that commonly happens in melons, cucumbers, squashes, tomatoes, and peppers.
Milk is rich in calcium; per 100g milk, there is 125mg calcium. So, it is a great home remedy for the previous problem.
How to use: Mix 1 cup plain old milk of any kind – nonfat or skim, dried, raw, 2%, whole - with 1 cup water. Pour this mixture into a sprayer and apply it to the soil once a week. Or, mix milk with compost, then add to your garden soil.
Use As A Treatment For Black Spots On Rose Bushes
Rose bushes if grown in wet, humid, and warm conditions are prone to appear black spots on their leaves. The main cause of this disease is the fungus Diplocarpon rosae.
In general, it’s easy to eliminate this problem using treatments that have great fungicide and lactoferrin (a potent bactericide) properties. And, milk is one of them!
According to Hiss et al., 2008, cow milk or other ruminant milk contains 0.02–0.2 mg of lactoferrin/mL
How to use: Mix 2-3 cups water with 1 cup milk, then pour this mixture into a sprayer. Apply it on rose bushes once/week until all the black spots are gone.
Used As Fungicide
Many recent studies have shown that milk can work as a powdery mildew killer that is as effective as chemical fungicides. It is commonly used on squashes (like pumpkins) and cucumbers.
It’s said that protein in milk (both skim and whole milk) if exposed to sunlight can create an antiseptic effect
How to use: In a sprayer, mix milk and water in the ratio of 4:6 (4 parts of milk and 6 parts of water). Apply this mixture to your garden soil during daylight.
Used As Disinfectant
Not just does milk prevent common diseases in many plants but it also works as a great disinfectant. Therefore, it is arguably a great alternative for many harmful bleach solutions in the market while the price is a lot cheaper.
How to use: Mix a few inches of topsoil with some tablespoons of nonfat dry milk and keep applying it every 2 weeks during hot, humid days or the growing season of your plants.
Above are the 6 little-known ways to use milk in your garden that were tried-and-true by our team (who are also experienced gardeners and experts). Hopefully, our post gave you more pieces of information in curing diseases or problems in your garden. Thanks for reading!