Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an alkaline kitchen ingredient that is commonly used in home food gardens.
For soils that are quite acidic, it can help to balance out the pH a bit for more favorable plant growth.
This is quite a beneficial trait for those who have clay soil which is commonly acidic.
(Note: baking soda should not be used specifically as a soil additive. If you need to adjust your pH significantly, please look into amending your soil with the proper additives such as balanced compost or garden soil.)
Baking soda is no long a simple baker’s ingredient; step aside, chocolate chip cookies.
We have some tomatoes to tend to!
What Does Baking Soda Do for Tomato Plants?
Baking soda is an effective natural fungicide.
If you’ve ever had a tomato garden ravaged by tomato blight, powdery mildew, or other fungal infections, you would have found some peace of mind with baking soda.
Baking soda works by disrupting ion balances within fungal structures, ultimately helping to keep them under control.
Baking soda is best used as a preventative rather than a treatment, as when it is used as a treatment, it is really only effective by controlling the spread of an existing infection to healthy, uninfected plant tissues.
It is also believed that the baking soda could help prevent fungal infections from flowering and releasing spores, which helps to control how far the fungal infection may spread throughout the garden.
This can save other plants from the same infection, leaving healthier corners of the garden in good shape.
Does Baking Soda Kill Tomato Blight?
Baking soda is an excellent way to help prevent control tomato blight.
With tomato blight, you want to try to prevent the disease before it ever affects the tomato plant.
Once it has a hold on your tomato plants, it’ll be very difficult if not impossible to get rid of.
If it is too late and your plants already have blight, you can control the spread and attempt to save the tomato plant.
Again, baking soda works by controlling the growth of fungal infections, potentially preventing them from fruiting or spreading uncontrollably.
When it is used as a preventative it can keep fungal infections such as blight from destroying your tomato crop.
Be sure to spray the plants regularly to keep both early and late blight at bay.
How to Apply Baking Soda to Tomato Plants as a Preventative and Fungicide
If you plan to use baking soda to control fungal diseases in your garden, start by using it as a preventative when the seedlings are transplanted.
Once you transplant your tomato plants into the garden, mix up a solution of baking soda to spray onto your plants once per week.
Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda into a quart of water and add several drops of dish soap to help the baking soda to adhere to the surface of the tomato plants.
Be sure that you apply the spray in the evening after the sun goes down, and do not apply it right before a rainstorm.
It is best to apply the spray after a rainstorm, as this is when fungal infections tend to run rampant.
Is Baking Soda Harmful to Plants?
Baking soda is a highly abrasive substance.
It is frequently used in homemade cleaning pastes to help remove stuck-on grime and grease, because it is much more effective than non-abrasive cleaners.
Therefore, you want to be careful with the concentration of baking soda that you use on your plants.
It could potentially leave abrasions on leaves or stems, which could pose problems.
However, the concentration of baking soda within this spray is not enough to harm the plants. Rather, it’s just enough to disrupt fungal growth.
Therefore, you can have confidence in this spray, as this concentration of baking soda is perfectly safe for your plants.
How Do You Stop Tomato Blight on Plants?
Since blight of the tomato plant is a fungal disease, it does not enjoy dry conditions with good airflow.
It prefers still air and moist conditions, which are common in an early spring garden.
First, control any moisture problems within your tomato garden. Do not over water your plants, and try to keep a barrier between the plants and the soil such as mulch, plastic mulch, or newspaper.
This will keep soil from splashing back onto the leaves of the tomato plants when it rains, which is how most spores reach plants and infect them.
Next, ensure that your garden has plenty of airflow. Make sure that there is no debris around the base of plants, prune the lower branches of tomato plants, and ensure that plants have adequate spacing between them.
Finally, prevent blight from infecting your plants on day 1. You are more likely to avoid blight by using preventive methods, than you are to escape it by treating it.