There are many uses for vinegar in the garden. From getting rid of weeds to keeping away insect pests, there is a role for it in your vegetable garden.
Moreover, diluted and used carefully, vinegar will not kill the plants you want to keep. Below are some benefits and other ways to use vinegar for plants.
1. DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit flies can be very pesky, attacking fruit trees and vegetable gardens and even invading the house.
Make an easy and inexpensive fruit fly trap by filling jars/tin cans with a concoction of apple cider vinegar, molasses (or honey), and water.
Mix 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and add 1/4 cup sugar with a tbsp. of molasses.
Next, hang the jars/cans in the trees or the kitchen where they will serve as bait to attract and capture the fruit flies.
You can also make an alternative mix by adding a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar. Let it uncovered for the critters to fly in.
The soap cuts the surface tension of the solution, causing the flies to sink and the vinegar will kill them. This bait also traps and kills gnats.
2. Keep Away Pets
Soaking a few rags or cotton balls with ACV and scattering them around crops/flowers where pets are a nuisance should help deter them.
The smell is unpleasant to animals and the taste will discourage them from chewing on anything.
This method will help deter any cats, rabbits, or other creatures from coming into the garden and causing havoc. Re-soak weekly.
3. Clean Rusty Garden Tools
White vinegar is particularly effective in dealing with rust.
To clean garden tools with vinegar, spray rusty patches with it to remove rust and clean off any accumulated dirt too.
Additionally, badly rusted tools can be left overnight in containers to soak with the solution. Wipe clean the next day.
4. Repel Ants
Ants can be beneficial in the garden but anthills can be a problem causing damage to the root systems of plants. They can also just be a nuisance around the garden and patio and invade the home.
Make a vinegar solution for ants with ACV and water (50/50). Next, spray this natural DIY pesticide around paths, on anthills, and trails around the house and garden.
Furthermore, white vinegar kills ants. It will also act as a repellent for them.
5. Kill Weeds and Grass
This is a tried and tested organic way of ridding the garden of weeds.
To kill weeds with vinegar, you only need three ingredients for the recipe. Add a quarter cup of dish soap and two cups of Epsom salt to a gallon of 20-30% gardening vinegar (horticultural grade). This makes a strong homemade weed killer.
Next, mix the solution until the salt has dissolved. Finally, use a spray bottle to mist the solution over the weeds, being careful not to get it on your vegetable plants.
Alternatively, you can buy this ready-to-use natural weed killer containing 10% vinegar and other natural ingredients.
6. Natural Fungicide
Vinegar has long been a service to householders, cleaning mold off window sills and other areas in the home.
A spray of ACV can be used successfully in the garden on fruit and vegetable crops and in the greenhouse to get rid of mold and mildew. It will also prevent powdery mildew and other fungal plant diseases from developing.
7. Clean Clay Pots
Plastics are cheap and easy to clean. However, disposing of it has become something of a bugbear in our environmentally friendly aware society.
Clay pots look better and are the perfect medium for potting on developing plants or displaying on the patio or veranda. Unfortunately, the minerals in terracotta or clay leave an unsightly white residue after a time and mold builds up too.
To clean them, soak them in a mix of 4 cups of warm water and 1 cup of 5% white vinegar until free of the stains. Wipe dry and re-use.
8. Get Rid of Slugs and Snails
Another effective way to use vinegar in the garden is to keep away certain pests like slugs and snails.
Apply a solution and spray directly just as for ants to get rid of snails and slugs eating your plants. Spraying around plants will also deter further attacks from these extremely damaging pests.
Again, be careful with this homemade organic insecticide as it may damage crops.
9. Clean Plant Leaves
Use vinegar for plants by cleaning off the leaves. Dirty leaves can block sunlight, affecting photosynthesis and natural plant growth. Therefore, spraying plants with vinegar will clean and invigorate them.
Add a teaspoon of it to a gallon of water. Next, dip a piece of clean cloth in the solution and use it to gently wipe off the leaves.
You can also mist the leaves of indoor and greenhouse plants and wipe them with a soft cloth for shine. Additionally, spray over outdoor plants for a general clean-up.
10. General Pest Control Spray
Make a homemade vinegar spray for plants to deter bugs and garden pests.
For the recipe, you’ll need one part vinegar, three parts water, and a teaspoon of organic liquid soap. Combine these ingredients in a gallon of water and add to a spray bottle.
This vinegar solution is not strong enough to kill insects and plant bugs. As a rule of thumb, always remember to dilute it because if it’s too strong, it will burn your plants.
Use it to repel aphids, stink bugs, caterpillars, mosquitoes, and others. Spray it in and around your garden to control pests. You can also use it raw (undiluted) to kill spotted lanternflies if they are not on delicate plants.
11. Boost Acid-Loving Plants
This acid liquid can add the needed acidity to soils for certain plants.
To use vinegar as fertilizer for acid-loving plants, make up a solution of one cup plain white household vinegar in a gallon of water.
Next, pour or spray into the soil around plants and shrubs like azaleas, hydrangeas, and camellias.
12. Help Seeds Germinate Better
Some seeds are difficult to germinate. As a result, soaking them overnight in water containing a few drops of vinegar will help speed up the germination process.
13. Test Soil pH
No need to buy anything to test your soil for pH levels.
Adding half a cup of white vinegar to some garden soil in a container will give the results. If it begins to fizz, then the soil is alkaline, having a pH level of 7-8.
14. Clean and Wash Vegetables
Soaking freshly picked crops in vinegar and water will loosen dirt and kill some bacteria. Scrub off any remaining dirt, rinse, and dry. The solution will also give a clean healthy shine to the produce.
15. Keep Away Snakes
Snakes are natural predators of many garden pests but of course, some snakes can be dangerous to be around. Moreover, many people just dislike them even if they are harmless.
Spraying a vinegar solution around the perimeter of the property and any points where snakes can enter will help deter them.
16. Clean Birdbath and Fountain
To freshen up and clean the birth bath and/or fountain, mix one-part white vinegar with nine parts water. Next, apply the solution to the target container and leave it to soak for a while. Finally, scrub thoroughly to get out dirt and algae.
17. Keep Cut Flowers from Wilting
To keep your freshly cut flowers fresh and perky, this method works for a few days.
Combine two tablespoons of vinegar with one teaspoon of sugar in a quart of water. Next, add the solution to a vase and put your flowers in.
18. Remedy for Sunburn
Outdoor gardening puts you at risk for sunburn.
However, apple cider vinegar can help treat sunburn by soothing the pain and speeding up the healing process. It also helps relieve itching.
As a sunburn remedy, combine equal parts ACV and cool water in a container. Dip a clean piece of cloth or paper towel in the solution and then place it on the affected area.
Let it remain until it dries and repeat as necessary.
19. Sanitize Hands
Even with gardening gloves, hands can get grimy after working in the garden or stained from fruit picking. Washing with some ACV will help get rid of the excess dirt, debris, and stains, and sanitize hands.