Organic Disease Control
Baking soda is one of the first alternative products that had university research. Most organic products are available now and the toxic chemicals simply are never needed. They don’t work well anyway.
The research done on baking soda is from Cornell University. Dr. Kenneth Horst and his staff discovered that baking soda mixed with water and sprayed on plants gave very effective fungal disease control. They later discovered the closely related product potassium bicarbonate worked even better and of course the potassium in many parts of the world is more beneficial to the soil than the sodium in baking soda. They also did research on combining products with horticultural oil and also had good to excellent results. In most cases results were as good or even better than toxic fungicides that are on the market. This is a good example though of EPA registered products now that contain potassium bicarbonate that are still ignored by the people that recommend the toxic chemicals. By the way, cornmeal juice works even better. We’ll get the research done someday. In the meantime we just use this wonderful food material with great success.
Cornmeal & Corn Gluten Meal
Cornmeal has become one of the staple products that I talk about every day as I’m sure you know but it is confusing. The confusion comes in because there is grocery store cornmeal, horticultural cornmeal, whole ground cornmeal and corn gluten meal.
The research on cornmeal was done by the Texas A&M Research Station in Stephenville. Dr. Joe McFarland headed that work before his retirement. The discovery of cornmeal’s fungal disease control came about by noticing the peanut crops. Under research observation at the research center these crops didn’t have fungal diseases when they followed the corn planting in rotation. Lab tests related to that later discovered the beneficial organisms in cornmeal were as effective or more than chemical fungicides at shutting down fungal diseases. That’s why we now recommend it for use on brown patch in St. Augustine grass, damping off in seedlings, black spot on roses and many other fungal diseases. Dr. Nick Christian’s stuff at Iowa State University discovered the use of corn gluten meal for use as a natural weed and feed. Time to put it out right now before weed seed germination, at 15-20 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.