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10 Secret Kitchen Ingredients That Can Help Your Garden Grow

These common kitchen pantry ingredients will bring new life and color to your garden.

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Make Flowers Bloom Like Crazy with Baking Soda

If there were an award for most versatile of pantry ingredients, baking soda would certainly be a nominee. You can sprinkle it on the surface of your soil to make your geraniums, coneflowers, daylilies, and clematis bloom like crazy. That’s because baking soda is alkaline, and those flowers thrive on alkaline soil.

Next, check out 24 more gardening hacks you’ll be glad to know.

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Repel Ants with Cream of Tartar

No one wants to share their outdoor dining table with ants. If you’re not inclined to use chemicals to keep them away, try cream of tartar instead. Simply sprinkle a little on the perimeter of the table or along whatever path the ants use.

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Repel Squirrels with Cayenne Pepper

Squirrels are adorable until they start digging up your daffodil and tulip bulbs. To deter them, sprinkle cayenne pepper around your bulb gardens. Reapply when you see the squirrels have returned.

If you don’t have a garden, you can still bring brilliant farmer’s market flowers into your home. Here are some tips for finding and caring for farmer’s market flowers at home.

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Erase Algae with White Vinegar

Forget renting a power washer! All you need to get rid of that unwanted icky green stuff on your patio is to spray it with full-strength distilled white vinegar.

Vinegar, like baking soda, is a pantry superstar. Here are other ways to use it at home.

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Use Baking Soda for Sweeter Tomatoes

Baking soda to the rescue again! A more alkaline soil makes tomatoes sweeter. To grow sweeter tomatoes, simply sprinkle baking soda on the surface of your soil in your tomato garden. Here are more clever ways to use baking soda at home.

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Clean and Condition Garden Tools with Olive Oil

Rub olive oil onto the cutting and digging surfaces of your garden tools, as well as on your lawnmower blades. This will repel dirt and rust and make it easier to clean them next time. Check out 11 more landscaping hacks that will save you time.

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Fight Fungus with Baking Soda

Baking soda doesn’t kill fungus, but its alkalinity creates an environment hostile to fungal growth. Stir a teaspoon of baking soda into a liter of water and spray the leaves of your fungus-prone plants (these include tomatoes and lilacs). Baking soda will also take the funky smell out of your shoes.

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Turn Pink Hydrangeas Blue with Vinegar

Now this is a neat trick! Unlike baking soda, distilled white vinegar is acidic, and acidic soil is the secret to turning your pink hydrangeas blue. (Note: This doesn’t work on white hydrangeas.) Vinegar also enhances the soil of acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons and gardenias. Use a cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water.

Learn more about creating nutrient-rich soil.

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Say Goodbye to Beetles with Liquid Dish Soap

Japanese beetles will quickly turn your beautiful zinnia leaves into lacy remnants of their former selves. They also decimate more than 300 other types of garden plants. Unfortunately, the best way to get rid of them is to hand-pick them off your plants and drown them in a mixture of water and dishwashing soap. Sorry … not sorry …. we’re talking zinnias here!

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Attract Earthworms with Coffee Grounds

Attract earthworms and microorganisms — both of which make your soil healthier and more fertile — by adding coffee grounds to your soil.

But take note: Ground coffee is acidic, whereas used coffee grounds are neutral. So if you want to enhance the soil of an alkaline-soil-loving plant such as geraniums or sweet tomatoes, then used coffee grounds are the way to go.

Next, check out all the common household items you can upcycle into seed starters.

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Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.