Jerry Baker

Just got "America's Master Gardener's (r)" book _Backyard Problem Solver_ The guy with all the wacky schemes, you know. Like to keep cats away sprinkle vinegar around where you don't want them. Anyways, he calls for ammonia (highly diluted of course) as a source of nitrogen fertilization. How do you buy ammonia?
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On 8/2/04 4:50 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@corp.supernews.com, "Mike"

But don't do it! Cheryl
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Is Jerry Baker often regarded as an idiot? I've heard so many bad advice bits blamed on him. The advice isn't baseless, but it's not ideal. It has roughly the same effect as having a dog pee on your plants, or being on them yourself, which can be benificial or not, a little unpredictably depending on soil type & the amount of of urea & amonia in the pee.
You can buy it in any grocery store for scant pennies. A teaspoon to a tablespoon per gallon won't kill the plants, & some people do recommend it as a mild nitrogen fertilizer. However, anhydrous ammonia converts to nitrogen WAY slowly & ends up delivering very little nitrogen even in acidic soil, but in alkaline soil it converts hardly at all. In either case it will likely wash through the soil from watering & rainfall before it has done much good.
If you have alkaline soils, there will be no nitrogen effect, so some have suggested adding twice as much vinegar as ammonia in order to acidify the soil when the dilute ammonia is poored around a plant. Tinkering randomly with pH is not necessarily a good thing for the plants, however, & it remains that rainfall & average watering will wash it out of the soil before it breaks down into nitrogen.
Additionally, check labels, some ammonia is sold with other ingredients in it.
Good nitrogen production is done by microorganisms in the soil, not by adding chemicals which upset the microorganism balance. You'll get better nitrogen in the soil by mixing in some steer manure & alfalfa powder & keeping the area moist, than by adding any kind of liquid nitrogen or ammonia. This isn't because there's lots of nitrogen in manure compost or alfalfa (there isn't), it's because these encourage the required microorganisms to produce nitrogen continuously as it is required, in a form that is the most accessible to plants. If the ammonia or ammonia-&-vinegar soil-rinses managed to kill rather than feed microorganisms, you've done more harm than good.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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I urinate on my pineapple plants regularly, in non phytotoxic amounts.
I was not able to find ammonia in the store, even after asking for it. I saw bleach and other anti fungal bathroom measures, but no ammonia. This may have something to do with the post Murray Federal Bldg era. Probably not such a good idea any ways.
I've read warnings not to mix ammonia and vinegar.
Manure and alfalfa would have to be cut into the soil before planting. Or I suppose you could make manure tea by putting it in hosiery and soaking in water.
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It is unimaginable that a grocery store of any size would not carry ammonia. You can get it in several brands where I shop, starting around $1.69 a gallon. I also don't think that liquid ammonia has anything to do with making explosives. You can do that with generic, inorganic fertilizer that is also available at every Wal-Mart and feed store across America. I use a mixture of ammonia, alcohol, and vinegar to clean my floors. There is no danger in mixing ammonia with vinegar.
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The danger is when you mix ammonia and chlorine bleach and get toxic fumes. Don't do it.

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wrote:

would serve any purpose that could be construed to make an explosive dievice..........however mixed with bleach or a chlorine based cleanser it will emit a deady gas and it has been know to kill a few housewifes over the eyars when they decided to make a stonger toilet bowl cleaner.......There are many forms of ammonia and in many forms. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wife, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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That would be bleach & ammonia; the combination releases chlorine gas. Ammonia & vinegar is no more dangerous than ammonia by itself. Ammonia & vinegar is a very reasonable mix for household cleaning purposes. They're caustic enough when used separately, but together the resulting gas can kill. I've serious doubts about any of it being good for its nitrogen value in gardens, since what doesn't evaporate before it is utilized by plants gets rinsed out by rainfall before utilized by plants.

Alfalfa needs only to be worked into the soil to a quarter of an inch or so, or have a little soil scratched up to mix with it, enough to keep it from sitting on the surface as a sterile topcoat that by itself interacts too little with the soil. The purpose isn't to increase organic component of the deeper soil, but to excite microorganisms which produce nitrogen. Rose fanatics do this five or six times a year without disrupting roots & it works dandy. Manure composts or natural leafmold will excite microorganisms quite deep into the soil just be being kept moist on the surface, thanks to the slower rinse-through & do the line of contact between soil & topcoat, though if laid on thick with no soil mixed in with a pure manure compost, it will be sterile on the very top (with the effect of retarding weeds, but also retarding wanted sewn seeds).
Seriously bad soil with insufficient organic matter would need churning with pete or compost, & no amount of fertilizing or topcoating can fix it without increasing the deeper organic content. But surface coats of compost or leafmold do excite worm movement & microorganisms' nitrogen production. If it were otherwise, then forests would live decades rather than millenia, big trees instantly depleting the deeper soil & getting nothing back but some birdshit & leafmold & rotting logs on the surface, with no giant people with giant spades to work it down.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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On Mon, 02 Aug 2004 14:35:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

I've watched him on PBS and thought he is sort of like a witch doctor.
I doubt any of his remedies have ever been tested in any sort of controlled manner.
Some of them probably are helpful, others probably harmful, but I doubt he has any real idea which.
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Jerry Baker is a charlatan and a fraud that preys on the uninformed and gullible public.
He is slick hustler in it to sell his goofy books and gardening crap and he really doesn't give a damn about the plants.
If he pulled the same stunts selling his version of folk medicine for human being or animal pets, he would have been arrested and locked up years ago for his dangerous quackery.

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wrote:

He's referring to household ammonia, the kind sold as a liquid. I buy it at Big Lots, 99 cents for a half gallon. Get the soapless stuff--clear household ammonia--no suds when you shake the bottle.
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Mike wrote:

When I hear the name "Jerry Baker" and gardening I think of one word - FRAUD. A lot of his "problem solvers" do not work and some of them are scientifically untested and could be dangerous. His "skill" isn't gardening; it is selling books.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
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I think he appeals to that segment of "gardeners" who want to do things on the cheap and without any effort.
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<< I think he appeals to that segment of "gardeners" who want to do things on the cheap and without any effort. >> ____Reply Separator_____
And he wastes beer! Beer is for drinking. Nothing else. Period!
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...well, maybe for slug control also.
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My mother gave me his books and I found them to be too hokey and silly. Hang dirty underwear around the garden-deer and other animals will avoid human smells, but you should replace them periodically cause the smells wear off. YES, I'm sure that's what my neighbors want to see--dirty underwear hanging on stakes!
Some of his stuff you will find elsewhere. Making a tonic from certain elements- onion, garlic, cayennes peppers and a little dish soap did work well for killing an aphids infestation off. He recommends several variants of that for several things--but so do others.
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email) Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound 2nd year gardener http://photos.yahoo.com/ph/royalfrazier /
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wrote:

A good blast of water will all but eliminate aphids also.
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