Common household items you use to grow fruit

I have been thinking about this topic for a while now and have seen it loosely referenced in various topics.

What common household items do you use to grow your fruit? Is there a “hack” that makes use of an otherwise useless or underused item? Please share. I will start with a few things I’ve thought of - please add any other uses for the items I list if you can think of anything else.

SnowJoe 21’ telescoping shovel
-I bought this to clean snow off the solar panels but also with the explicit intention that I would also be using it for picking tall fruit trees. I tested the red wire cage I have and it just takes a band clamp and it’s converted from winter to summer /fall duty. Why buy both if you can convert it?

Bleach
Great for sterilizing scions

Peroxide
Good for seed starting media sterilizing

Microwave

Also good to heat up and sterilize damp seed starting media

Plastic clam shell containers

Old blankets as frost protection

Christmas lights for cold temperature protection for figs or for frost protection of stone fruit blooms

Optisorb or Napa floor dry oil absorbent

Vinegar and Epsom salt

Epsom salts (NO VINEGAR!!) as fertilizer

Beer to drown slugs eating your tree leaves

Apple cider vinegar and beer (sugar water works too)

Joe Real’s Italian Dressing recipe for pest control

Milk to combat powdery mildew

From How to Treat Powdery Mildew on Plants

"Combine one tablespoon baking soda and one-half teaspoon of liquid, non-detergent soap with one gallon of water, and spray the mixture liberally on the plants.

The mouthwash you may use on a daily basis for killing the germs in your mouth can also be effective at killing powdery mildew spores. Since its function is to kill germs, the powdery mildew spores can’t withstand it. Using three parts water to one part mouthwash has been found to be a good ratio, but new growth can be damaged since mouthwash is potent, so use with caution."

Borax for ant control

Powder diatomaceous earth sprinkled around ants also works as long as it remains dry.

Alright, what do you have!?

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Clark beat me to it with a way to close the loop…

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I use kitchen tongs for cactus stuff.

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I put my jujube pits in a tall plastic quart food service storage container with a bit of water and a drop of Dawn. I make a cross cut in the container lid and use a hand mixer with one beater through the hole in the lid to create a “washing machine”. It removes the rest of the pulp from the pits. Then I rinse them and dry with a dish towel and place in a plastic storage container with a bit of rice to dry them. It’s pretty much a kitchen thing……

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I have seen videos of people making similar contraptions for pawpaw seeds! Most are a good size bin with a drill and cement mixer type of thing though.

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Last year I saved paper grocery bags to use as sheet mulch under my Roma tomatoes. I watered them a lot less, they didn’t have weeds, they didnt need hoeing, and they didn’t have fungal disease. After the season I composted the paper.

Any old clothing can be cut into strips to tie up tomato plants - old shirts, sheets, whatever. Good for tomatoes, peas, beans.

I let eggshells dry out, grind them in food processor, and use to increase calcium in vegetable beds. The membranes add some nitrogen. I also dry chicken bones, put them in the woodstove and save the wood ashes / bone ashes to lime the soil. I have acidic soil and check the pH before liming. The chicken bone ash adds calcium and phosphate to the soil.

I use the little seedling six packs to start seeds. They are flimsy. The blue plastic containers that mushrooms come in are the same dimensions, more sturdy. So I use them as holders and saucers for the six packs, It keeps them a bit more stable.

My tree labels are made by cutting aluminum cans with kitchen shears, use paper punch to make hole for the tie, use ball point pen to write graft details, using a soft paper pad so the pen embosses the aluminum. They last for years. My garden row labels are strips cut from plastic bottles (shampoo, detergent), write on with permanent marker.

Simple stuff. Frugal and with an eye towards waste not / want not.

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Use NAPA floor dry or similar (diatomaceous earth) as perlite substitute. Use small adjustable crescent wrench as micrometer for grafting. (Yes, I know it’s like training wheels.)

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Vegetable oil and dish soap,mixed in water,used as a dormant spray for Plum Aphids and their eggs.

I’ve used something like this first recipe,for Spider mites but haven’t tried the buttermilk one yet.

Home Made Mite Killer

1 Tablespoon ground Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon ground Cloves

2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning

1 Quart Water

Boil Water----Then Cool

Add 2 Tablespoons crushed Garlic

Cool completely

Strain through coffee filter

Add a little dish soap

Spray every 3 days over a 2 week period

Buttermilk Spray for Spider mites

Use this for heavy infestation of spider mites in an orchard.
1 lb white flour
5 gallons water
1/2 cup buttermilk

Dump the flour into a 5 gallon bucket and then add water, mixing well as you add it into the bucket, add the buttermilk and again mix well.

Transfer the spray into a pump style insecticide sprayer & apply on a weekly basis to your orchard. This works well on flowers such as hibiscus, azaleas, etc.

(Keep an eye on the mite population, you should have less than 3 per leaf)

This works well on spider mite infestations on fruit trees in your backyard.

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In addition to this discussion, once I cut my aluminum roof flashing into small strips, I put a bunch of pieces together and use vice grips to hold them together then drill the holes all at once. It saves a lot of time. I also trim all the corners to be more rounded like a text bubble, then etch each side with an engraver. A dremel with a diamond tip works too.

This is a great idea! I’ll be using it this year. They make paint pens in different colors (my boss gets black, white and yellow). Those would surely last at least a season.

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I sprayed this one on my pear trees last year and plan to yearly, maybe also adding neem oil to the mix and also to my apples just to reduce any critters during dormancy.

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I have been thinking of using construction paper sor my tomatoes. Did you plant and then place the bags or did you cut holes I the bags? Did you cover? Any pictures?

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Household items that I use-

Cardboard - goes under the woodchips for weed suppression.

Eggs and Eggshell Funk- Spray against deer…it works.

Irish Spring Soap- Anti Deer- didnt work.

Every vegetative food scrap and coffee grounds- goes into worm pile…black gold goes on my plants and trees

Toilet paper- has been going in my worm pile… they are eating it.

Paper Towels- I save them to start the fires for my biochar.

Urine- I pee in a bucket outside… use it to activate my biochar…also add it to my flowerbeds… also going to add it to my manure piles.

Eggshells- i put all of them into my garden in the fall…by spring they are gone. I guess the worms eat them.

Milk- Going to use it against brown rot and mildew and foliar spray.

I dont think anything is in my trash except manmade stuff like plastic and glass. After i learned that most of the plastic that says its recyclable actually isnt…i stopped fooling with the recycling.

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@Piblarg I cut the bags open and laid them flat around the tomato plants. I put rocks or metal fence posts on the paper to hold it in place. It needs to slope slightly toward the plants so water runs toward the plants. I did that by contouring the soil slightly using a garden rake before laying the paper. Sorry I didn’t take a photo.

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Plants being in indoor since Oct/Nov start getting aphids this time of the year. I use water +one pump of dishwasher liquid in a spray bottle to spray the plants. Very effective.

Using plastic cups as seedling container work better than store bought 6 pack/72pack containers. The plastic cup is deeper and has more leg room for the roots to grow. Also cost less . I also save the cups for next year if they are in good condition.
Household package material(Amazon boxes), junk mails, old magazine etc any biodegradable all goes to garden, under the pots to suppress the weeds and feed the earth worms.

Brady mentioned using veggie oil for dormant spray. I will try that. I have a gallon old veggie oil that I can use for many many years.
The bigger problems in my yard are the PC ,stink bugs, OFM. Any remedies?

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Honestly, it’s not a fit for this thread, but Surround WP kaolin clay is supposed to work well at discouraging stink bugs by clogging their reproductive organs when they land on the leaves. Edible Landscaping in VA had it sprayed on my Nikita’s Gift when I picked it up years ago and it took awhile for me to find the stuff in stock somewhere. Keystone Pest Solutions sells 25lb bags.

On a similar note - white latex paint diluted 50/50 for trunk protection application is another household item. I need to take my own advice and get this on my trunks, maybe the next day it warms up.

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I use aluminum lasagna trays and re-use similar shaped plastic trays that salad mixes come in.
Paper bags for storing amaryllis bulbs.
Yogurt containers for pots.
To prevent drying, I put my seedling trays into plastic film from dry cleaned items which is held away from the soil by pieces of metal coat hangers.

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Seven Springs has the best price I have found.

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We have seven indoor cats. I use a natural grass seed clumping litter which has worked very well on my banana clumps.

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I echo a lot of the answers already (yogurt containers, newspaper/cardboard/paper bags for sheet mulching, baking soda/dish soap/water mix for squash bug removal). One I’d like to add is, I drink a lot of almond milk in those tetra pack containers. I actually cut them in half, poke holes in the bottom, and use them to start seeds around this time of year. They hold up for a couple of months and the consistent exposure to moisture helps them break down faster.

I hate throwing stuff out so I try and re-use and repurpose everything I can. I keep our large glass jars from sauce and salsas to store large seeds or worm tea in; I keep our small glass jars to put little succulents in, sometimes to trade them at plant swaps. Of course, over the next couple years I hope to grow much more produce in the garden such that we’re not buying so much!

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I use the water from our dehumidfier to use in my sprayer, thinking that it’s nearly equivalent to distilled and will help the mixed solutions last an extra day or two.

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