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Gave my tomatoes, peppers, and squashes a milk bath three days ago.

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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-10-10 01:41 PM
Original message
Gave my tomatoes, peppers, and squashes a milk bath three days ago.
Edited on Mon May-10-10 01:42 PM by Lyric
Now I have flowers exploding everywhere. :) My grandma taught me this 20 years ago, and she always got the best tomatoes in town. She said that back when the country was undergoing rationing, lots of older people used part of their milk powder ration for this purpose and wound up with better produce from their "victory gardens" than anyone else on their block. Best of all, it's totally organic. :)

Just take one heaping cup of dry, nonfat powdered milk and mix it with 7 liters of warm water. Water the soil around your tomatoes and other fruiting plants (squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, etc.) with this mixture once every three weeks, or if they're in containers, every week and a half to two weeks. It helps prevent blossom end rot (without the hassle and risks of garden lime) and encourage big, fat, delicious fruits. I think it probably has something to do with the calcium and phosphorus in milk, but let me tell you, my fruiting plants LOVE this mixture. I have thick, sturdy stems, healthy leaves, lots of flowers, and very happy plants.

Grandma also said that you can put this mixture into a spray bottle and very lightly spray your tomato leaves every other week to prevent mold. She said not to soak the leaves--just spray enough that it coats the leaf and dries within 15 minutes or so, and the residue will discourage mold growth. I don't know how true this is, but I do it, and I've never seen a bit of mold on my tomatoes. I've also heard that this works well for deterring pest insects like aphids, but I haven't had any aphids myself, so I can't say for sure if this is true.

You might not care much for old wives tales, but at least in my experience, this one works. Make sure you only use NONFAT milk, though--Grandma said that regular milk isn't as good for plants as nonfat is, and milk with fat in it can actually *hurt* tomato leaves as opposed to helping them. Happy gardening!
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-10-10 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've also heard about using a milk-spray to combat mold.
My peas got a little mold last year, but I ended up spraying them with ozone-infused water b/c I already had the system in my house (Tersano Lotus) and I didn't have any milk (I don't drink the stuff.)

I'll definitely give the milk-bath a try if I can find a local source of powdered organic nonfat milk.

I'm going to be trying rooting tomato cuttings this year, so maybe I'll do an experiment comparing milk. worm castings and fish emulsion as fertilizers.

I'm always happy to learn about a new organic gardening trick. Thanks! :hi:
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-10-10 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
2. I knew about diluted milk as a remedy for powdery mildew...
makes sense that it might work your way too. My toms and etc. will finally get planted this week, I'll give this a try. Thanks!
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-11-10 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks!
Haven't heard this one.
We'll give it a try.
:hi:
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
4. wow, that is really interesting I will try it.
grandmas never lie.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
5. I took your advice
and gave all my veggies a milk bath yesterday. Can't wait to see the results. I added some Epsoms Salts, too. Thanks for the tip!
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I joined the milk-bath club this morning too.
Was going to try and follow Lyric's method of an evening bath, but they are calling for torrential rains tonight and for the next few days and I wanted to get that invigorating milk to them ASAP. Luckily, my dog woke me up at 6am, so I got an early start and had some cool hours for it to soak in before the blazing heat arrived.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I eliminated the mixing part.
Just put the milk, Epsom's salts, and some bone meal around all the plants, then watered it in. Hope it works, as some of my tomatoes are showing signs of blossom-end rot.

Good luck! :hi:

Hope you don't get flooded out. The weather has been fierce lately.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Still waiting on the promised rain. Skies look ominous, but no drops so far.
On a happy note, my very sad squash and zucchini plants put out some nice new DEEP GREEN leaves today. Must be the milk! :bounce:
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I see you're in Va.
Are you near DC? Looks like they got lots of rain.

My hometown's in the Alleghany Mountains, near the headwaters of the James. It sits along the Jackson River. You should see the floods in that area when the rain fills up the feeder creeks running down from the mountains. Glad my family lives on top of the mountain and not in the valley.

I'm still in the SC Low Country, and we could certainly use some rain here. I've been watering the garden twice a day, but the plants always look dry.

I'm glad you squash and zucchini are perking up. I only have 3 left after the invasion of the squash vine borers, but am going to try to save the poor little things, using the great suggestions I got from my fellow DUer's. If I can't save them, I'm going to try again.

On a happier note, I got a very pleasant surprise. Seems my little ornamental purple plum tree didn't realize it wasn't suppose to bear fruit, and i now covered in ripe, edible,yummy (albeit small) plums! Go figure!
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Congratulations on your surprise plums!
I'm in Southwest VA. The sky turned terrifying yellow around dusk, but all we got was a 3-minute sprinkle. Oddly, the forecast has now changed to ZERO percent chance of rain for the next 48 hours. So weird.

Looks like I'm in for another early-morning watering session...
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I'm from Clifton Forge originally.
Can't wait until I can get this place sold and get back to the mountains. Fortunatly, we had iron ore mines, but no coal; otherwise, they might be gone by the time I get there.

Yellow/green skies=tornado in my book. Last time I saw that, a tornado went right down Main St in Summerville,SC.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-17-10 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I used to live in Lexington and remember Clifton Forge as a very pretty area.
And yes, my Midwesterner husband was sure we were going to have a tornado last night. It was a tense hour or so.
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dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-17-10 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Thanks.
It is a beautiful area, but the town got pretty run down after the railroad closed the Shops, and we went into an economic decline.

Things are much better now. Downtown is being refurbished, there's a great art center there, and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Historical Association has opened up a small museum, complete with old remodeled rail cars.

They're in the process of relocating the Amtrak passenger station to a building near the museum in the hopes of attracting more railroad buffs to the area.

It's all very exciting. Just wish I was there to participate.

As for your husband, I'm with him. Anytime the sky turns yellow or green, I'm looking for a hole to hide in (not an easy feat in the Low Country, I assure you!).

Made my morning rounds in the garden. Low and behold, the squash have perked up! Looks like they might make it after all! I am so stoked!
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-12-11 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
20. What does the Epsom's salt do? I am going to try the
milk bath, but had not heard of Empom's salt.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. It provides magnesium, something tomatoes, peppers, and a few other crops crave.
It's easy to overdo it though so use a small amount. I use one teaspoon per plant when I transplant them in the ground.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-16-10 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
14. can I use real milk?
I don't have powdered, but I do have raw milk. Could I dilute it and do that instead?
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. YouGrowGirl does:
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-17-10 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. thanks! I'm off to take care of my plants
when the sun goes over the mountain. I'm enjoying my new garden and it's really doing well for first year beds.
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
17. I'm definitely going to try this.
I want to support our local farmers, and there's a local milk cooperative, but they only sell in half gallons or larger, and I never use anything like that much, so I gave up buying it.
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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-11 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
18. I may try this as well....also heard Neem oil or Tea Tree oil good for fungal diseases -
last year I was ruined by excess heat as well as Septoria Leaf Spot - so I need to try something this year but wish to avoid chemicals.
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
19. Going to try that over the weekend
Last year I had great plants but hardly any flowers.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-10-11 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
21. First milk bath of the 2011 season tonight!
Hoping that, in addition to its usual miracles, it will help my poor Sungold whose stem got chewed on by some beastie. (I was LATE getting garlic spray on everything this year-- boo for me.)

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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-11 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
22. I tried this last year.
I ended up with an amazing tomato harvest. I roasted sliced tomatoes that we couldn't eat with olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning and packed them in bags for the freezer. We enjoyed them all winter.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-19-11 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
23. We are going to try this this year.
It was a hard sell, my husband is a chemical fan. I think (at least when I am looking) he has stopped and I don't find any Malathion hidden in the garage anymore.

Now if I can just make him wait until it is not muddy. He is hot to get our seedlings in.

* he has come almost all the way around to doing things simply and organically.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-11 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
24. Anyone know if it is OK to use spoiled milk?
I have a half gallon of sour skim milk in the fridge that I was going to pour down the drain. I wonder if it is good to use too?
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. I have the same question. I always have a little milk that has to be
thrown out (not a half gallon but still). Since you didn't get an answer yet, I am going to just dilute it and use it whether it is a good idea or not. The most it will do is stink up the garden.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. I will probably try that too... just dilute it a lot. :-) nt
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
28. Should I water after giving the milk bath?
I tried this with my peppers and tomatoes that are struggling in my raised planter. I watered the plants shortly afterwards. Should I have done that?
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-11 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
29. Finally got my sorry butt to Kroger to buy powdered milk.
My tomatoes are loving the hot (94 degrees today w a torrential downpour yesterday) weather. I've had powdery mildew problems in the past and I noticed some on the lambs ear leaves so I bathed it as well. Thanks for the advice!

:hi:
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
30. Kick this
it's just wonderful and works.
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