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Interesting quick fixes that work

 
gardener
Posts: 6248
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Over the years I've done a lot of experimenting, most of these were fairly conventional but I have found some odd items that do the job that were a little surprising.

Everyone probably knows about dish soap being a good wetting agent (makes water "wetter").
If you are trying to get rid of an ant hill, soda water works by oxygen displacement with CO2, but this treatment usually takes at least 2 gallons of soda water to have any effect at all.
But if you add just two drops of dish soap to the soda water prior to pouring it into the nest, it will soak the soil so efficiently that many of the ants will drown that don't asphyxiate.

We have threads about adding nitrogen to soil, compost heaps by using our urine.
But did you know that bottled ammonia can do the same thing, or you can use it to get moles to leave the area, or pouring it down ant nests gets them gone quickly.
If you have a brown spot in a lawn or pasture, or plants that seem to be withering, a cup of diluted ammonia might reverse the problem.
If you want to keep four legged animals away from your garden spaces a line of ammonia poured on your pathways or just around the perimeter will keep those critters away.

What quick fixes that seem a little odd at first have you found?
 
master steward
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My favorite is using coffee ground to improve my soil.

Then I like the one for powdery mildew:  1 gal water, 1 T dish soap, 1 T baking soda.

Next I am going to try the weed killer:  1 teaspoon dish soap and 1 quart white vinegar.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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Baking soda dissolved at 2 tbs. (table spoons) per liter of water can be used to water in new plants and help prevent transplant shock (it will also tell you if you have limestone)

Multivitamins that are older than the expiry date can be dissolved and used on your plants as a growth booster and it does the same for your microorganisms in the soil, just put 2 tablets in a gallon of water stir till dissolved and use.
The above also goes for multi minerals and even aspirin (the real aspirin not acetaminophen).

You can do a temporary acidification of a potted plant by giving it a coke after a good watering.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6248
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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DE is probably one of the most underused items every gardener should have on hand and use literally everywhere.
DE helps get rid of pest insects, adds silica to the soil, prevents scale from forming on dusted twigs and leaves, worms your dogs, cats, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, cows, (ok, every farm animal including humans) with no worries about side effects or contamination of anything.
DE will kill fleas, ticks, termites, ants, ground dwelling wasps.
It will polish wood if you dust it onto a soft cloth and rub fast not hard.
 
pollinator
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
If you want to keep four legged animals away from your garden spaces a line of ammonia poured on your pathways or just around the perimeter will keep those critters away.


Thanks for posting the tips, Bryant.  Just wondering a couple things...  How often would you need to renew that ammonia scent to keep animals (raccoon, skunk, vole) away?  And, since ammonia is NH3, might this not deliver an overdose of nitrogen that would 'burn' the plants whose roots run underneath where you've dribbled the ammonia?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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The key to your question is in the formula for ammonia NH3, one Nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms per molecule of ammonia, that means you aren't really putting that much N into the soil.
I tested this 5 different times on five different soil patches on my farm that are all different in soil makeup but all growing the same plants. Not one test patch ever showed signs of nitrogen burn (which is what happens when a dog or donkey pees on your bushes or grass).

We had one area that coons would pass along as they tried to get to our chooks, I used 1 quart for a 75 foot line one time, so far (3 months later and 8 major rains later) no coon has ventured to take that path again. In fact they don't even try to get into the chicken's fenced in area anymore.
I have game cameras set up to check on what critters come near the chook area at night and since I put down the ammonia, not even the donkey goes close to the fence anymore. I'm sure it will wear off, but I also expected to have to do this treatment at least every month and haven't.
The voles and moles seem to also be leaving our back yard, at least they haven't tunneled anymore in the two areas I treated to test if it would get those suckers out of my garden spaces.

So far I am very happy with the results of these tests, the microbiome hasn't lost any numbers of bacteria or springtails or amoeba, the fungi are actually spreading tendrils in areas that were barren of tendrils previously, a good thing for sure.

Last month I started some new pasture grass in a test area and once it was sprouted I poured some undiluted ammonia on the spot, the grass is currently about 4 inches tall in that test area and it is stronger grass than another area planted at the same time but left as a control.

Redhawk
 
gardener
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Will the ammonia discourage snakes too?
 
gardener & bricolagier
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I used ammonia on a wasp nest in the ground (after a guy working for me got stung.) I'm not sure yet if I'm allergic to wasps, so I went total paranoid to do it. I put on rain gear, full hood etc, snuck up really quiet at predawn, when I could just barely see, before they were awake and had their guards out. I had poured a bottle of ammonia into a bucket, I got only as close as I had to, sloshed the bucket where I thought the nest was, and then ran :D Did that a few mornings in a row (partly because I was guessing where the nest was) and there were no wasps next time I checked it. The grass in that area did love it :) The wasps weren't as thrilled.

A question about DE: I put some in the dirt bath my chickens like, and dusted the hay in the coop, and within a week or so had a bunch of coughing chickens. I cleaned it out. Is there a way to dust their mites off without making chickens sick? The way I tried is NOT it.

And could just be me, but I'd classify giving a plant a coke plant abuse :D I can think of other ways to acidify it that don't involve all the things in coke.

:D
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6248
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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hau Pearl, I would not dust the hay/straw in the coop, just the dust bath area.  Hay and straw have their own dusts and my chickens do a lot of rearranging of what ever is in front of their roost which would make a lot of dust airborne.

I agree on the coke, but it does work, you have to be careful though or you will attract lots of ants and stingers, I usually water afterwards and I found this one by accidental spillage, was amazed at my next day testing of the rhizosphere where the spill occurred.

 
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Hello! New to permies and permaculture here. I have started composting again after swearing not to bc of how raccoons and possums brought their fleas and ate us for lunch. We’re starting to get flea bites again and I can’t even...
After reading this thread, I will line our yard with ammonia. Can I also disperse DE all over our garden and compost? Will it take care of the fleas that are already in the yard? TIA.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6248
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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hau Julie, yes you can dust your yard with DE and as long as it remains dry it will help reduce the flea problem. I would dust fairly heavily then anytime it rains dust lightly so there are more days with dry DE in the grass.
Don't forget that as the weather dries so will the DE you have put down, so you might find that you only need one or two applications to get rid of the flea problem

Redhawk
 
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I was wondering about ammonia.  I have an apple tree I just planted this spring and I see very loose dirt at the base of my little tree and know it must be a gopher, because we are plagued by them.  My tree is looking stressed, but still alive.  Could it help to pour ammonia down the hole?  Also I was wondering if ammonia is effective on rodents?  My chicken coop has a metal pipe frame and chicken wire wired to the frame.  The mice and rats find any little space and pry it big enough to get in.  Fix one find a new one tomorrow.  Would spraying the pipe with ammonia discourage the pests?  Realistically there is no getting rid of them, we live in the middle of orchards, but it would be nice to go out at night and not see a bunch of rats in the coop. Thanks for the super tips, I'm looking forward to trying them.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1011
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yes

Ammonia will chase gophers, moles, voles and other burrowing critters away, they can't stand the smell or the burning of their nose linings.
Other members of the rodent family will react the same way.

Ammonia does not work on ants, vinegar is what to use for them. Keep in mind though that vinegar will wipe out everything that can't take the higher acidity that will linger for about a month.
Your microbiome will suffer but it will also recover fairly quickly once the acidity starts going back to normal for the space you treated.

Redhawk
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks so much.  Ammonia is my new best friend.
 
The only cure for that is hours of television radiation. And this tiny ad:
Making More Use of Mason Jars
https://permies.com/t/19404/Making-Mason-Jars
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