We all know about the nutritional benefits of milk. But did you know it also offers benefits to a garden? In fact, using milk as fertilizer has been done for centuries because of the calcium it provides. Moreover, milk helps to fight viruses and powdery mildew that threaten many kinds of plants.
It doesn’t matter if the milk is raw or unpasteurized; it offers nutrition not only to humans, but also to animals and plants. Other then the calcium, milk contains proteins, vitamin B and sugars that are good for plants. It improves the overall health of plants and also helps to increase crop yields.
You can discover that your plants lack an adequate amount of calcium when they look undersized and do not grow to their full potential. Moreover, blossom end rot is commonly seen in squash, tomatoes, and peppers because of calcium deficiency. Giving plants milk will help ensure they get enough moisture and calcium.
Milk has also been used as an effective pesticide against such pests as aphids. In addition, milk has been used to reduce the transmission of mosaic leaf viruses including tobacco mosaic and as an antifungal agent.
However, using milk in your garden should be done with a bit of caution. It does have drawbacks. For example, if you use too much milk, the bacteria and fat in it will spoil causing a bad odor, wilt and poor growth. Furthermore, it has been reported that dry skim milk can cause black or soft rot, and Alternaria leaf spot.
So milk can be a benefit if used properly.
Gardeners who have used milk on their gardens find that milk that is past its date as well as fresh milk; evaporated milk or powdered milk will perform well. It is advised that you dilute the milk with water. A good mixture to work with is 50 percent milk and 50 percent water.
A milk solution can be sprayed on your plants. Simply put the mixture into a spray bottle and apply to plant leaves. The leaves will absorb the milk solution. However, act cautiously when dealing with tomatoes because they are susceptible to fungal diseases if the milk fertilizer remains on the leaves too long. If you discover that the milk solution is not being absorbed, you can gently wipe down the leaves with a wet cloth or spray water on them.
Expert gardeners have been known to use a garden hose sprayer to apply milk fertilizer to a large garden. If you use this method, continue spraying until the entire garden is coated. Distribute about 5 gallons of milk per acre or about 1 quart of milk for every 20-by-20-foot patch of garden. Allow the milk to soak into the ground and apply every few months or spray once at the beginning of the growing season and again during midseason.
You can also pour the milk solution along the base of a plant. This is an ideal method of distribution for smaller gardens.
Don’t apply chemical pesticide or fertilizer after using the milk fertilizer. Expect an odor due to the decaying bacteria in the milk, but it will diminish after a few days.