There are many uses for vinegar in the garden. From getting rid of weeds to keeping away 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. Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Fruit flies can be very pesky, attacking garden fruits and some fruiting vegetables and even invading the house.
Make an easy and inexpensive DIY fruit fly trap by filling jars/cans with a sweet apple cider vinegar solution.
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 on trees or in the kitchen where they will serve as bait to attract and capture fruit flies.
You can also make an alternative mix by adding a few drops of dish soap with a bowl of vinegar. Let it stay 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 Some Animals
Soaking a few rags or cotton balls with apple cider vinegar and placing them around crops/flowers where pets and other animals are a nuisance can help deter them.
The smell is unpleasant to some animals and will discourage them from sticking around. This remedy will deter cats, rabbits, deer, dogs, and raccoons.
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 in vinegar. Wipe clean the next day.
4. Repel Ants
Ants can be beneficial in the garden but they can also be a problem, especially fire ants. They can also be a nuisance around the patio and invade your home.
Make a vinegar solution for ants using one part vinegar and one part water (50/50). Next, spray this natural DIY pesticide on anthills and trails around the house and garden.
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, combine a quarter cup of dish soap, two cups of Epsom salt, and 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.
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.
As such, you can make a vinegar spray to use in the garden and greenhouse on fruits and vegetable crops to get rid of mold and mildew.
Combine one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a gallon of water and use it to spray plants. It will help to treat and prevent powdery mildew and other fungal infections on plants.
7. Clean Clay Pots
Clay pots are the perfect medium for potting plants to display on the patio or veranda.
Unfortunately, the natural salts and minerals in water seep through these pots and leave an unsightly white residue after a time. Mold also grows in terracotta pots.
To clean them, soak them overnight in a mixture of one part water and one part white household vinegar. Next, use a scrub brush to remove the residues.
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.
Spray plain white vinegar directly to get rid of snails and slugs eating your plants. However, be careful with this homemade organic pesticide as it can damage crops. Try to get it only on the pests.
9. Clean Plant Leaves
Use vinegar for plants to clean off the leaves. Dirty leaves can block sunlight , affecting photosynthesis and natural plant growth.
Combine a teaspoon of vinegar with a gallon of water. Next, dip a piece of clean cloth in the solution and use it to gently wipe off the leaves.
This works especially for indoor and greenhouse plants. You can also mist the leaves and wipe them off with a soft cloth for shine.
10. General Pest Control Spray
Make a homemade vinegar spray for plants to deter harmful insects and related garden pests.
For the recipe, you’ll need one part vinegar, three parts water, and a teaspoon of organic liquid soap. Combine these ingredients with a gallon of water and add to a spray bottle.
This vinegar solution is not strong enough to kill plant bugs and pests, but it will repel them.
Use it to repel aphids, stink bugs, caterpillars, mosquitoes, and others. Spray it in and around your garden.
You can also use it raw (undiluted) to kill spotted lanternflies if the critters are not on delicate plants.
11. Boost Acid-Loving Plants
This product can add the needed acidity to soils for certain plants.
To use vinegar as fertilizer for plants that like acidic soil, make up a solution by combining one cup of plain white household vinegar with 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. But, some farmers find that soaking them overnight in a bowl of water along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar helps speed up the germination process.
13. Test Soil for Alkalinity
No need to buy anything to test soil pH levels.
Adding half a cup of white vinegar to one cup of garden soil in a container will help with 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 white vinegar around the perimeter of the property, bodies of water, and any point to your home will help deter snakes.
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 helps them last longer than using just plain water in your vase.
Combine two tablespoons of vinegar with one tablespoon of sugar and 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. Clean Hands
Even with gardening gloves, hands can get dirty after working in the garden or stained from fruit picking. But, using some undiluted apple cider vinegar on your hands will help get rid of the excess dirt and stains.