5 Clever Borax Uses In Your Garden

old picture of borax uses

Boron is a mineral salt with acidic properties. It is naturally occurring, and it is the only ingredient in Borax. This product has been around for ages, but borax uses go beyond its excellent reputation as an all natural cleaner.

Borax makes a good laundry booster, and it has powerful, natural disinfectant properties. Many personal care products use Borax as a preservative. In this article, we will share some smart ways you can make use of Borax in your garden. Read on to learn more.

Augment Your Soil With Borax

Synthetic fertilizers and other products coupled with mismanagement of soil can lead to soil deficient in boron. This is particularly the case of very sandy soil. Soil lacking boron grows produce lacking in boron. To get the most value and nutritional benefit from the veggies you grow, it’s easy to see why creating rich soil is key.

How Can I Tell If My Plants Need Boron?

Plants show signs of boron deficiency in a variety of ways. Some exhibit dead leaf tips, others may present darkened fruit and/or leaves. Roots may also have dead areas, and root veggies may have black centers or black spots. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower may grow cracked, hollow stems.

Fertilize With Boron

There are a number of ways to use boron as a fertilizer. Adding Borax (boron) to your soil in the right amounts will deliver healthier plants and healthier food. You do need to be careful not to overuse the product as it can be toxic. Keep in mind that it can kill weeds, and it can also kill desirable plants.

The product can easily be used as a dry fertilizer applied directly to the soil. It only takes a very small amount of borax to have a positive effect. For example, if you have a very large garden, you only need to use about 6 tablespoons of the powder broadcast evenly and tilled into the soil before planting to realize significant benefits.

You can create a good liquid fertilizer mixture for general watering by mixing one part boron with ten parts of water. Try a little bit on just a few plants to see how it works. If it seems too strong, dilute it a bit and keep sampling.

For a still useful very weak solution, mix a tablespoon of boron into three gallons of water. If in doubt, start out with the weaker solution and monitor the results. If you get the improvement you want, you have done enough!

In very diluted solution, it is possible to use boron as a foliar fertilizer. To do so, you would add two ounces of borax to five gallons of water. Add just a tiny amount (several drops) of dish soap to help the solution disperse evenly. Spray very lightly and evenly and do not drench your plants with this solution.

Use your boron mixture sparingly because this mineral builds up in the soil. A single application can last for three years, so even a light annual application could eventually build up to become toxic.

Use Borax To Kill Weeds

Borax mixed with water at a strength of half a cup of powder to one gallon of water makes a powerful herbicide that you can apply carefully at the base of weeds to hasten their demise.

This solution can also be applied directly to the leaves of the unwanted plants as a spray, but you must be careful to avoid having over-spray come in contact with your desired plants. It is best to use a pump sprayer or a brush to apply the solution directly to the leaves of individual weeds you wish to kill.

Borax can also be used in its powder form to kill weeds. You can sprinkle it directly onto the plants for quick results. Be sure not to apply it when you are expecting rain because this could result in runoff and damage to your veggies.

Borax ad from Smith Brothers from Boston Library

Smith Brothers Borax ad roughly 1870-1900 from Boston Library

A Natural Ant Killer Borax

To prevent ants from eating up your produce, create borax and sugar ant traps. Mix the dry ingredients with a bit of water to create a paste. You can spread this paste on flat surfaces (such as the lids of yogurt or margarine tubs) and place your traps strategically around your garden.

Placing it away from your crops can help lure the ants away. They will gather the mixture as food and carry it into their colony.

Clean & Disinfect With Boarx A Natural Cleanser

Create a natural disinfectant for your tools and hard surfaces by mixing half a cup of Borax with a gallon of hot water. This solution is also useful for fighting mildew and deodorizing.

Use this warm solution to soak and scrub pots and tools. Once clean, rinse thoroughly and leave the items in the open air and sunshine to dry.

Naturally, you can use Borax as a laundry booster to wash your gardening gloves, towels, aprons and other garments and washable gardening items.

Handle Borax With Care

Borax is a natural product, and it is generally safe to use, but don’t make the mistake of handling it carelessly. It can be toxic if used or consumed in large amounts.

Always remember, some of its most effective uses involve killing unwanted plants and insects and combating fungus. While these powers make it an excellent support tool for gardeners, always remember to wear safety gear and handle with care!

Image: flickr

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