Milk isn’t just good for humans, it’s good for plants too

Let's see how we can use milk in the garden.

Have you got leftover or expired milk? You don’t have to waste it by pouring it down the sink, instead, you can use it in your garden!

Milk has many nutrient benefits, including, the most important, a large amount of calcium. Surprisingly, these benefits are not only applicable to human consumption but also to plant consumption.

Milk can serve as both a fertiliser and an activator in your garden beds and support your plants to grow healthy and strong. 

And the best part is, if you’ve got milk that’s most likely going in the bin, you can give it a new purpose!

The benefits of watering plants with milk

Milk has calcium and several B vitamins that can be absorbed and used by plants. Calcium is a great nutrient for plants to absorb because it is a support system for consuming other vitamins and minerals. This is advantageous as it promotes growth and prevents blossom end rot, which can be caused by calcium deficiency. 

Milk also has antifungal properties and is considered a natural pesticide for many plant varieties. 

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It is important to be frugal when it comes to milk use, though, as overwatering your plants with milk can result in a wilted or stunted plant. Whole milk is always recommended over skim, as skim milk can lead to black rot or soft rot depending on which plants you use to water it.

Finally, because it is milk, it can be a bit smelly to put in the garden!

How to water your plants with milk

Technically any animal milk (cow, sheep, goat etc.) can be used in the garden. This includes fresh, expired, evaporated and even powdered milk.

Of course, alternative milks such as almond and oat do not have the same nutritional benefits, so they would not be very helpful on your cucumbers and basil! 

It is recommended to use reduced fat or low fat animal milk options, as these are less likely to have adverse results. 

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All of these milk varieties must be diluted properly to avoid wilting or rot forming on your plants. The best way to do this is by mixing your milk with water in a 1:1 ratio. Using a spray bottle will help direct the milk mixture straight to the soil and roots. 

Alternatively, spray the mixture directly onto the leaves, as they can absorb calcium. Spray a small amount onto each plant leaf and wait for 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

If there is any leftover milk mixture, simply wipe it away with a wet cloth. Leaving additional liquid on the leaves can cause rot to form, so be vigilant with your spraying!

After applying your milk mixture, make sure to avoid using pesticides in your garden. Pesticides will rid your milk mixture of any good bacteria in it, rendering the whole application pointless. 

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