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Interesting quick fixes that work

 
gardener
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
 
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Will the ammonia discourage snakes too?
 
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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
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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
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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
 
gardener
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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
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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.
 
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Hello Dr RedHawk!
We have some nests of enormous (at least an inch long) and aggressive bull ants. They are truly terrifying. And very painful when they sting you. I’d like to clear some from around the house area due to having kids running around, and was wondering if I should pour ammonia down the hole or vinegar? Or one after another (not mixed)? I’ll have to be quick or they will have their revenge. They swarm out and try to go up your leg  
 
Bryant RedHawk
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For agressive ants I prefer heated vinegar, very hot but not boiling.

Redhawk
 
Caitlin Mac Shim
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:For agressive ants I prefer heated vinegar, very hot but not boiling.

Redhawk



Thank you so much, I’ll try it.
 
pioneer
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While not really useful or practical, or safe for that matter, if you want a great ribsplitting chuckle look up oxygen acetylene ground hog hole on YouTube...basically you snuff out a stoichiometric flame and fill the burrow with the gas mix, then devise a method of ignition from a safe distance. There is no safe distance it seems and folks that have been gracious enough to film their stupidity and share it abound.





Bryant RedHawk wrote: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.




Interesting. I attempted to transplant a couple of pine seedlings a couple of years ago while clearing an overgrown gravel parking area. I found them in the dense shade of honeysuckle. I thought it would be a shame not to move them to a better location. I had a couple of flower pots with some compost mix from the previous summer so I tried to get them out of the ground without disturbing the roots. However patient I was it wasn't a success. They were shallow rooted spread in a diameter three times their height with no tap root whatsoever. As soon as I loosened the ground enough to pick them up all of the material dislodged and crumbled away leaving the root system completely bare. I believe that I added some of the finer soil but I did not have the foresight to keep it near the roots or mix it in.


Not really a pressing matter but I was curious for my own satisfaction what could have done differently now that I have begun learning about soil biology from your posts. Could they have even made it the location they were growing? Better left alone? I'm positive one thing wrong would have been the ph of the potting mix. I'm in zone 6b in ohio and they were shaded by the structure nearby until mid afternoon on the northside. I took them to the property I intended to plant them at and placed them pretty much in full sun. Is this what killed them? They survived a couple of months before slowly browning out. They are still sitting in the shade of the house as a testament to my brown thrumb. Is there any post analysis I can do on the soil to provide clues.


Bryant RedHawk wrote:

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.



I believe soap / water alone will drown insects, no need for soda.

https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/insecticidal-soaps-for-garden-pest-control/



I must say that you have a way with words.  I just began reading your soil thread part one installment 10 is where I am in that journey. Your description of your place was so thorough that I felt as if I were standing there with you as you were building your terrace near the ridge. Sorry to hear about the wash out. Continued observance will no doubt lead you to the proper solution if you have not already.

I have a question regarding spiritual matters. I have often had moments of extreme clarity as if I had done this before or was being guided externally.  Not the same effect as deja'vu per se. That feeling is often accompanied by an odd feeling that something has went wrong, or something has changed without my noticing, my ears pin back and I tense up as if falling. No vertigo with that though. I have to take in my surroundings for a few seconds as if I had just arrived before making any movement again. Dreams that persist throughout my daytime thoughts. For years. Taking things with me on trips that make no sense that end up being exactly what I needed for a emergency repair. Being a white man I have never had any guidance in the subject. One thing I have learned is that I have everything I need wherever I may go. If I feel as if I forgot something I can easily dismiss the thought! Knock on wood. Another thing that I can attest to is guard your words carefully. That which is spoken will be made manifest. I question nothing in this realm any longer, although much is fanciful stories from men. It has become easier to discern as time goes on. I'm often plagued by the feeling that time is but an illusion.

So the question(quest I am on) is. Could you connect me with someone with experience in this sort of thing?
Many great thanks in advance. Apologies if this is unacceptable to ask.



UPDATE: My request was fulfilled within just shy of 24hrs. Oddly enough someone that I have known my entire life!
 
pollinator
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ben heidorn wrote:



I have a question regarding spiritual matters. I have often had moments of extreme clarity as if I had done this before or was being guided externally.  Not the same effect as deja'vu per se. That feeling is often accompanied by an odd feeling that something has went wrong, or something has changed without my noticing, my ears pin back and I tense up as if falling. No vertigo with that though. I have to take in my surroundings for a few seconds as if I had just arrived before making any movement again. Dreams that persist throughout my daytime thoughts. For years. Taking things with me on trips that make no sense that end up being exactly what I needed for a emergency repair. Being a white man I have never had any guidance in the subject. One thing I have learned is that I have everything I need wherever I may go. If I feel as if I forgot something I can easily dismiss the thought! Knock on wood. Another thing that I can attest to is guard your words carefully. That which is spoken will be made manifest. I question nothing in this realm any longer, although much is fanciful stories from men. It has become easier to discern as time goes on. I'm often plagued by the feeling that time is but an illusion.

So the question(quest I am on) is. Could you connect me with someone with experience in this sort of thing?
Many great thanks in advance. Apologies if this is unacceptable to ask.






There is a guy in New Jersey named Tom Brown Jr. He's also a white guy, but he was taught by an Apache shaman starting at a young age. I've taken some of his classes, and I think it might be what you're looking for.

His school's website is here: https://www.trackerschool.com/

Be warned: there are a few among his students who seem to mistake the man for the message. Their level of hero-worship has given the school a bad name in some circles. But, if you can avoid falling into the same trap, what he teaches is definitely worth learning.
 
ben heidorn
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In order to get this thread back on topic I'll add my contribution.I knew I had something worthwhile to talk about but I couldn't bring it in to focus.


Methanol, while poisonous to mammals is an excellent fertilizer for plants. Be sure it is pure as the stuff sold for hobby engines probably has additives. Perhaps Dr RedHawk could chime in as to why, and would this be detrimental to soil biology.
 
pollinator
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Never make your garden bigger than what your wife can manage ;-)
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