The outside temperatures are rising which gives way to lots of lovely snowdrops and daffodils but there is work to be done if you want your garden to be bountiful with crops and beautiful with blooms.
Last season’s bulbs that you left to wilt over the winter need pulled up, your baskets and pots are looking worse for wear and the greenhouse is actually….green!
What am I talking about?
Yip, spring cleaning in the garden; it’s not just the house that needs sorted out.
When it comes to cleaning products for the garden, what do you use?
You want to be safe in the knowledge that the product you are using will not have any harmful effects on you, your family, your pets, and the environment.
We recently scoured the internet to find eco-friendly cleaners for the garden – why?
We wanted to find out all the lovely sustainable ingredients that manufacturers were providing to allow you to safely rid your greenhouse and gardens of harmful bacteria. We wanted to share with you guys – it didn’t turn out how we envisaged; our findings were limited.
We looked at:
- Products available online
- The ingredients contained in the products to ensure it is safe and environmentally friendly
- The price
- Highlighted if the product came with any safety warnings or data sheet
- Established how long it took for the product to kill bacteria
- Confirmed if the product came in recyclable packaging or not
You can read about it here:
Of the 2 products found on line, we wanted to know if you could you use either of them for more than one job around the garden?
In this article we are going to give you 5 top uses for our own products ESOL™ for gardens which is a safe cleaner and anti-fungal spray.
Yes, our own product. Why?
The other eco-friendly cleaner in our review was Citrox made by Agralan. It is an equally effective cleaner for the garden when using on patios and greenhouses however, we cannot vouch that it is an effective product for ALL 5 uses – with our own we can.
Here are our 5 top uses for ESOL™ for gardens:
- Keeps water butts free of bacteria
- Safely cleans greenhouses and polytunnels
- Kills potato blight (late blight)
- Disinfects tools and equipment
- Preserve harvested fruit and vegetables
1 – Keeps water butts free of bacteria
What can I do about stagnant water in my water butt?
Smelly butts are a big problem for gardeners, we are talking water butts here not the after effect of too many parsnips!
Water butts are designed to collect rainwater to allow growers to use it on their patch. There are a few reasons for this, collecting rain water for reuse:
- Conserves energy
- Reduces water consumption
- Contains an element of nitrogen which is a natural plant fertiliser
However if rain water is left in a water butt, over time, it can stagnate which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Initially the best approach would be to get rid of the dirty water and clean out the butt.
There are various tips and advice given on the best way to do this, even down to cleaning the empty butt with Jeyes Fluid – I would consider twice before considering this option. We wrote about Jeyes Fluid and gave 5 important the reasons why you should not use this product
You can read this here
There are all sorts of nasties that can form in your water butt. Biofilm and Legionella are potential inhibitors of the water so it is essential that you use a product that will effectively kill all bacteria and viruses.
Related content: Is Legionella lurking in your water butt?
Cleaning your water butt with ESOL™ ensures that any bacteria that may be on the interior of the butt are eliminated. Once clean adding a small dose ( 50ml per litre) of ESOL™ to the refilled water butt will ensure that any bacteria that may infect the water in the future is eradicated. ESOL™ has a residual kill element which means that it leaves a useful persistent disinfecting affect, ‘killing’ pathogens even after the application process is complete.
ESOL™ has been approved under regulation 31 of the Water Supply Regulations 2000 for use in public water supplies in the UK.
Related content: 5 Eco-friendly cleaners for your water butt
2 – Safely cleans greenhouses and polytunnels
How can I clean my greenhouse without killing my plants?
When it comes to cleaning your greenhouse or polytunnel you want to be able to do this safely and without risk to any plants or soil that may be in there.
ESOL™ is an electrolysed water; it is made with water, salt and electricity – that is all.
Electrolysed water, also known as:
- Electrolysed oxidizing water
- Electro-activated water
- Electro-chemically activated water solution
- Electrolysed water (UK spelling)
- Electrolyzed water (US spelling)
Electrolysed water has the killing power of chlorine or bleach but is completely safe to handler, the environment and humans – even when ingested.
This means that once any organic material, such as moss or mud has been removed by wiping or washing, it can be sprayed onto most surfaces to kill bacteria and fungus, a 10 second contact time is sufficient to ensure disinfection.
We mentioned ESOL™ eco-friendly anti-fungal spray can be applied to ‘most surfaces’; this is because electro-activated water can speed up the corrosion of tin, zinc, iron and aluminium. The minute amounts of oxidisers contained in the liquid (that are a result of the electrical charge) ‘steal’ electrons from certain metals causing the acceleration of the corrosion process. However, should ESOL™ come into contact with any of these metals it can be solved by rinsing the surface with water.
These oxidisers are in such miniscule amounts it is impossible to accurately measure. To give you an idea; oxidisers are required to be less than 5ppm (parts per million) in order for it to be deemed safe to drink. ESOL™ falls within these regulations and will cause no harm to human or animal should it be ingested without dilution.
ESOL™ anti-fungal spray is completely safe to use on plants that will eventually be eaten.
Related content: Electrolysed water - an alternative to chlorine
3 – Kills potato blight (late blight)
How can I kill blight without using harmful chemicals?
Potato blight, late blight or Phytophthora infestans is a water mould that affects potatoes and tomatoes. It shows itself in the foliage of the plants extending down the growing potatoes over time. The disease can happen at any point however it spreads rapidly in warm and humid conditions.
In order to keep blight at bay there are a few steps that can be taken to reduce any risks, such as:
- Clean your tools and equipment with an eco-friendly cleaner
- Plant healthy, disease-free seed potatoes from a reputable supplier
- Spray your crops with eco-friendly anti-fungal spray
- Do not wet the leaves when watering your potatoes
- Mulch your crops
You can read about these tips in more depth here
However, should you be unlucky enough to find blight on your spuds, trim off the affected leaves (as long as this is less than 10% of the whole plant) and spray with a generous amount of ESOL™ anti-fungal spray.
Once done make sure you also spray your snips to stop spreading the infection further.
4 – Disinfect Tools and Equipment
How do you clean garden tools in the spring?
Eco-friendly garden cleaners are needed to stop the spread of disease before the plants have even been potted.
Cleaning and maintaining your tools regularly will not only preserve them but it will also ensure that possible fungus and disease from infected crops are not passed on to new growth.
As with greenhouse and polytunnels, once organic materials have been removed from the surface of your tools, ESOL™ can be used to wash down and disinfect. Again, if any of the tools are made of tin, iron, zinc or aluminium an additional rinse would be advised to ensure no premature corrosion.
5 - Preserve harvested fruit and vegetables
How can I make my fruit and veg last longer?
When you harvest any crop there is the risk that picking, cleaning or storage could damage the fruit or vegetables. Once fruit or vegetables are damaged it acts as an open door to bacteria and viruses.
Spraying fruit and vegetables with ESOL™ eco-friendly anti-fungal spray not only cleans the produce but kills any bacteria that may be forming in any damaged areas. In addition, it extends its life by one day or more by effectively eliminating microbes.
This practice can also be applied in larger scale operations such as fruit and vegetable packaging plants and farms by fogging the liquid onto the crops.
Related content: Larger scale fruit and vegetable preservation
We know that we are talking about our own product with good reason; it works. There are other, equally as effective cleaners and anti-fungal sprays on the market, we are not telling you 'Ours is better' or 'Buy ours not theirs' we are giving you the information about these products to allow you to make an informed decision
Lessening our impact on the environment is crucial in order to pass on a better, healthier planet to the next generation. Harmful chemicals, irresponsible waste disposal and miss-information only hinder the progress that a lot of us are trying to achieve.
The next time you pick up a cleaning product, be it for your home, office or garden ask yourself
“Is there a safer more sustainable product I could be using?”
Maybe you use a great product already? Tell us about it in the comments section below
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There are several links in this article so just in case you missed one, we have popped them all below:
Related articles: Eco-friendly, safe garden cleaners found online (review) 5 important reasons why you should avoid using Jeyes Fluid Is Legionella lurking in your water butt? Electrolysed water - an alternative to chlorine Potato blight - 5 eco-friendly tips to reduce the risk Larger scale fruit and vegetable preservation Shopping: ESOL™ for gardens