Vinegar is a unique household chemical. Formally, it’s known as acetic acid, so the acidic chemical properties make it useful for many things.
In fact, there are some amazing benefits of vinegar in the garden. Today we will talk about those plus why these benefits actually work, thanks to chemistry.
Although this post is beneficial all year, it can be hopeful in the fall for clearing out flower beds and helpful for spring.
1. Clear out Weeds
Vinegar is so acidic, it can do wonders for weeds. You can use this a few ways. Make a batch of this homemade weed killer, whose main ingredient is vinegar. This is a fast working weed killer that can clean out walkways, flower beds, or any area you need weeds to leave.
If you have a large portion to clear, you can take straight vinegar and pour over the entire area. This will take a few doses and doesn’t work as fast as the weed killer, but it slowly clears out vegetation. This is great for fall and spring cleaning in flower beds.
2. Deter Animals
Spraying an area with vinegar or keeping bowls of vinegar out around your garden, can deter many animals. If you have trouble with cats using your garden, this can help. It can also keep away deer, rabbits, and more. Just remember to keep the area surrounded by vinegar. You can spray soil lightly with vinegar and keep bowls of it around too.
3. Feed Acid Loving Plants
If you have an acid loving plant, vinegar is a great addition. This might seem strange since vinegar is used to also kill plants.
Straight vinegar has a very high pH and can shock/kill plants especially weeds due to their shallow roots and the way they grow.
Diluted vinegar has a slightly low pH, but not anywhere near as low as concentrated vinegar.
To make diluted vinegar to water your acid loving plants: mix 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Water plants lightly.
Make sure your plant likes acidic pH. If not, you can use this homemade plant food.
4. Clean out Bird Bath
Now that it’s fall, it’s time to clean out things that stayed wet and warm all summer. Bird baths carry bacteria especially during the summer months. The best way to kill bacteria and clean the bath is vinegar.
Just pour vinegar in the bird bath, scrub well, and rinse.
5. Clean out Pots
Now that summer is over, you might have pots that are empty again. Plastic and clay pots can get mineral deposits and crusty areas that are hard to remove. Just use some vinegar and a little dish soap to scrub those areas clean, then store your pots until spring comes.
6. Clean Garden Tools
This is the time of year I finish using garden tools and store for winter. Tools can get rusty in the summer with all the rain or water they come in contact with. My favorite way to clean garden tools is with this vinegar based rust remover from the eBook. It works wonders!
You can also clean and restore tools with this method which is also a vinegar based solution.
7. Kill Ants Around the House
Most insects are dying out now that fall is here (although in Texas we don’t get a freeze until December), but ants are still lingering.
This homemade ant killer uses vinegar to make a quick and easy solution.
This solution combines acidic vinegar with dish soap to create a mix that not only kills ants, but stops them from moving once it’s sprayed.
8. Clean Hummingbird Feeders
If you’ve been using our homemade hummingbird food all summer, now is the time to take down the feeder and clean it well for winter.
I learned in horticulture that using soap or other cleaner can leave behind residue in the feeder. Vinegar is a better way to clean bacteria and store for winter. Just pour vinegar in the feeder, scrub it around, rinse with water, and allow to dry.
9. Clean Vegetables
If you grow your own veggies, vinegar is a great way to clean them and preserve them.
Dilute a 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 quart of water. Rinse and dry the vegetables. This is a great for fall crops too like pumpkins!
Chemist Tips on Vinegar in the Garden
Vinegar, acetic acid, is derived from alcohol fermentation. It is a very safe, natural way to use acid in the home. We discuss vinegar in depth in the eBook.
Many readers ask me where I buy vinegar. I use the cheap kind found in the grocery store. It will have about 5% acidity which is all you need for these uses.
You can find up to 20% acidity at nurseries which can be used for killing weeds, but I don’t think it’s necessary. This 20% can be too acidic and cause damage to your skin.
Just stick with the cheap household vinegar found in the food section of your store.
Remember vinegar can be dangerous to many household surfaces. When it comes to cleaning, read this important post and use caution.
Enjoy using vinegar this fall and next season in your garden!