Dawn Green – Writer

Weaving words worldwide

Leave a comment

How to treat plants with baking soda

The following is a guest post by Barbara Herring:

There are different plant diseases that we often come across in the course of gardening. One notorious one is the fungal disease that is often frustrating, annoying and worse still hair pulling. Nobody grows plants only for their growth to be interfered with by diseases.

It is this reason that often makes us go out of the way to find various remedies to deal with these diseases. Then there comes this common household item known as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate in scientific terms. It has been touted as a very instrumental item when it comes to treatment of fungal and other infections in plants.

Being that it is very common and relatively cheap, it can come as a breeze to many farmers. But there is still more to its use, that’s why we decided to provide you with these tips on how to treat plants with baking soda. Let’s learn more and eliminate plant diseases in our farms.

So what is baking soda?

As has been mentioned above, baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. This makes it a simple and natural product that is highly alkaline. Being that it is alkaline, any contact between it and an acid results in the formation of carbon dioxide gas that is often seen in the form of bubbles.

This is the property of baking soda that makes it useful as a leavening agent common in many households. You have probably used it while baking bread and cakes among others at home. Its use during stomach upsets as well as in cleaning agents is all well known.

But there is another area of use that has not been fully exploited. That is the area of fungal treatment. But we won’t leave it unmentioned today. Lots of information will be unfolding as you read along.

Treating plants using baking soda

Please take note that baking soda solutions are just used as preventive measures but not as a full treatment to diseases and infections in plants. So how does it work?

  1. Prevention of growth of fungal diseases

The baking soda can be used to create hostile pH conditions that are unfavorable for the growth of fungi. How to use it for such purposes is very simple and easy. Mix some drops of dishwashing soap with one liter of water.

To the mixture, you are required to add one teaspoonful of baking soda. Thereafter, properly mix the three before decanting and eventually having the mixture placed in a spray bottle.

Spray this mixture on the undersides and top sides of the plants’ leaves very early in the morning. Observing this timing is very important. This allows for the leaves to last long with the solution during the day without drying.

If you decide to spray during the day, the mixture will not last long due to evaporation. This kind of treatment can actually be given to all plants in a garden.

  1. Treatment of tomato diseases

To treat fungal and other infections in tomatoes, you can as well decide to use baking soda. What you will need to make an effective solution to this effect are two aspirins, two gallons of water and two tablespoonfuls of baking soda.

All these ingredients are to be combined in a spray bottle before allowing the solution to sit for some minutes thereby allowing the ingredients to dissolve fully. Shake the solution well before spraying. The solution should be applied on a weekly basis for the best results.

  1. Treatment of Powdery Mildew

If there is a stronger and persistent attack of mildew, then a stronger baking soda solution will be necessary for the elimination of the problem. You will need to make a solution of the following substances:

  • Water (one gallon)
  • A tablespoonful of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoonful of dishwashing soap
  • 1 tablespoonful of baking soda

Use the solution of the above substances to spray your affected plants at least once in a week. Make sure that it is done very early in the morning. Spraying this concentrated solution during the day when the temperature is still hot might cause some burning effects on your plants.

The solution often works best in plants such as squash, lilacs, cucumbers, and zinnias.

  1. Elimination of disease-causing pests

Most of these diseases we see in plants are often brought into the picture by pests such as aphids and spider mites. Killing these pests goes a long way in ensuring that your plants remain disease-free during their period of growth.

These are the things you will need to make the solution which will give you the best results when it comes to the elimination of pests:

  • Water (1 gallon)
  • Superthrive (5 drops)
  • Sunspray (2 spoonfuls)
  • Dishwasher soap (1 spoonful)
  • Fish oil (1 spoonful)
  • Baking soda (1 teaspoonful)

All these substances are mixed together before decanting into a pump sprayer or spray bottle. The plants should then be subjected to regular spraying at once in a month. This application is recommended to be done in the evening.

To prevent the killing of beneficial insects in the process of spraying the baking soda solution, you should first spray the plants with water from the hose pipe to knock those beneficial insects.

Wholly spray the plants without leaving a single place untouched. Note that anything containing sulfur should never find itself in a solution like this.

Precautions to take when using baking soda in the garden

  • Always perform a patch test on a few plants and observe the performance before spraying your entire garden. Use at least 24 hours to check on the patch test before going all out on your crops. If the solution is concentrated to the extent of burning the leaves, dilute and perform another test while observing the performance. The adjustments should be continuous until you get to the right levels.
  • Careful use of baking soda is very necessary. Excessive use can damage your plants.
  • Don’t spray baking soda around willy-nilly.
  • Exposing baking soda to electrical wiring, heating elements and metal items will corrode them.
  • Never spray the solution directly on the flower buds and flower stalks.

Have you applied the baking soda mixture and there are still no changes? Well, that means that the fungal attack has reached advanced levels that are beyond baking soda. You need to look for other remedies which include but are not limited to guidance from agricultural extension officers.


Baking soda is a safer way to treat plants against fungal infections. The use of fungicides especially if the garden is found within the homestead is not always a good idea. Baking soda is a natural technique that most farmers should consider.

But total reliability on these kinds of solutions is not recommended. And remember that the solutions will only be effective if administered in required dosages and approved routines. Do not overuse baking soda simply because we’ve said it is natural and safe; it will become less effective due to frequent use.

Other plant routine maintenance activities such as pruning, proper drainage, mulching, crop rotation and sun exposure among others will help in making the baking soda effective for its intended use. Properly maintained plants are rarely affected by diseases.

Have you at any particular time treated your plants using baking soda? How were the results? Is there anything that you think we’ve left out? Let’s keep the conversation going. Sharing is caring.




Barbara Herring is a contributor at TheFilix, where she writes about everything from hydroponics and aquaponics to regular garden chores. She loves troubleshooting plant problems, and when she’s not knee-deep in her garden, she’s usually skateboarding, surfing, or playing with her cat.


Leave a comment

Find your balance

It’s true − just thinking about Whistler can cause your heart rate to rise, thanks to the mass of adrenaline-charged sports that dominate the landscape of the mountain retreat. But while this is all well and good, it’s easy to overlook an undercurrent that flows through the town, one which serves up ways to restore your balance after the adrenaline highs.

I am, of course, referring to practices which many health and wellness gurus say allow you to connect with your inner self. In Whistler, this equates to balancing a day in the great outdoors skirting along a mountain’s edge, cycling along the Valley trail or craning your neck up at thundering waterfalls, with endeavours geared specifically for rejuvenation.


Balance can be achieved in many ways, such as unwinding with an inspiring yoga class at the Audain Art Museum. Just like with many things in Whistler, this is not your typical yogic setting − enjoy the journey as you flow through the moves against the backdrop of a selection of magnificent artwork.

To immerse yourself even further into relaxation after a big day on the move, slow down amidst the age old practice of hydrotherapy at the Scandinave Spa. The cycle of hot and cold baths is shown to improve blood circulation and release endorphins, which also does wonders  to restore your balance.

The Spa at Nita Lake has also taken up the challenge to create ways to balance the body, mind and soul, explains spa manager Hannah Edwards.

“The signature treatments we offer follow set routines that really allow the body to let go,” says Edwards.

“I see our spa as a place to visit to connect with oneself. Our treatments, in combination with our caring team that is devoted to each guest’s healing experience, provide the perfect environment to do so.”

Other ways to tap into that relaxing vibe and find your balance include treating yourself to a massage at the only authentic Javanese spa in North America or choose treatments ranging from body wraps and facials to hot rock massages at the Westin Resort’s Avello Spa and Health Club.

This article originally appeared in the Vancouver Sun on 5 September, 2017


Leave a comment

Snow walls a cool surround

Imagine the cries of “Wow, look at that!” combined with looks of utter surprise on the faces of a band of intrepid hikers who first gazed up in wonder at the massive walls lining Whistler Mountain’s Pika’s Traverse road. This was circa fifteen years ago and the happy pioneers had just stumbled upon the phenomenon which would later be dubbed the ‘snow walls’.

The road had just been plowed to enable access to the summer operations on the mountain following a particularly exceptional snow fall, and after the snowplow had done its work, the resulting walls towered over 10 metres in height.

It’s no surprise that word of this remarkable annual event quickly spread like wildfire until we get to today where it has morphed into the likes of local legend, which has to be experienced to be believed.

Whistler Blackcomb’s mountain manager Adam Francis describes the snow wall walk as being as awe-inspiring today as it was fifteen years ago.

“Seeing the soaring white walls set against the blue sky with occasional views of the surrounding peaks is really spectacular,” he says, adding that the air is noticeably cooler near the snow walls so on a hot day, it makes for a refreshing walk.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than that, there’s even a reward at the end of the walk.

“The snow walls are a sight unto themselves with the white walls and blue sky, but they finish at the peak of Whistler Mountain which affords 360 degree views of the surrounding Garibaldi Provincial Park, including the iconic Black Tusk,” Francis says.

After the breathtaking chairlift ride up Blackcomb Mountain and across the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, a hike up to the snow walls is the perfect way to press pause on our busy lives and tune in to the magnificence of our natural world instead.

With the Peak Express chair now open, accessing the snow walls could not be easier, so bring the whole family along for the outing, but be aware that there’s a short window of time to do the walk before it melts away until next year.

This article originally appeared in the Vancouver Sun on July 11, 2017.

Leave a comment

Help your workplace be kinder to the planet and people in need

The following is a guest post from a friend of mine and former classmate who’s recently delved into the world of blogging and confesses that she absolutely loves it. She is Happy Eco Mama and her tagline – green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world – is so aligned with my passions that I didn’t hesitate to say yes when she asked me whether I’d like to post some of her work on here. Check out her site here: www.happyecomama.com



Want to help your workplace to be kinder to the planet and to people in need? Noticed that the coffee in the office kitchen isn’t fair trade, and it’s bugging you? Especially if you’re working for a large corporation with many employees, making little tweaks can add up to a big difference over the years. You can also change people’s mindsets, and teach them about issues they might not have thought about, like supply chain ethics or their carbon footprint. Your passion for a better world can really inspire others to think about how their own purchasing decisions can help to change things for the better.

Here’s some suggestions that you could talk about with your workmates, with the Facilities department and so on, to make your office a more eco-friendly, compassionate place to be.

  • Coffee

It’s pretty much a certainty that if you work in an office, there’s free coffee (side note: we ran out for a week when I worked at a call centre once, and there was practically a revolution). Workers on coffee plantations are often subjected to exploitative working conditions, not being paid enough to support themselves, much less their families.

There’s unfortunately quite a few industries that involve such exploitation: from chocolate to pineapple! While you probably aren’t getting free chocolate at work (although, wouldn’t it be nice?), convincing Facilities to make the switch from standard coffee to a fair trade, sustainably-farmed brand will literally change many lives every year.

  • Turning off computers

A lot of people just lock their computer when they finish work for the day. According to Computer Weekly, if a company has 200 PCs and they’re all switched off after the working day finishes, it would save the company 12,000 GBP per year. That doesn’t just make environmental sense, it makes economical sense too!

  • Corporate social responsibility

If your company doesn’t have a CSR policy, then it really should: according to Causemark.com, 75% of consumers say they are likely to switch from one product to another if a company supports a cause they believe in, assuming quality and price are similar. In this day and age, your brand is no longer just about your products/services, it’s about your brand image; this is especially important to millennials, and can also contribute to employee satisfaction because they’ll be proud to work somewhere that shares their values.

So basically that’s the spiel that you should be giving to the CEO when you’re having Friday night drinks after work. (By now, they’ll probably remember you as the lady who saved them a ton of money by suggesting the policy of turning off computers. Or maybe as that annoying lady who keeps going on about coffee. Either way.)

A CSR policy could include matching dollar-to-dollar donations for fundraising, giving grants or sponsorships to local causes, or letting employees have a certain number of paid days volunteering in the community.

  • Use that noticeboard!

Christmas time? Remind people about the true spirit of giving: Oxfam Gifts lets you give gifts such as a goat or a cow (for a rural family in need in the developing world) to friends, and it’s really a much more memorable than the usual trinkets. (A friend of mine still tells people about how I got her a cow for Christmas once.) You can hang up posters for Oxfam Gifts, or for any other causes that are important to you (i.e. not to buy puppies from petstores sourcing from puppy mills), to encourage other people to participate; I’ve had great success with getting people excited about Oxfam Gifts and buying them instead of commercial Christmas presents, and it has a ripple effect when the gift recepient ends up buying Oxfam Gifts for their own friends next Christmas .

If there isn’t a noticeboard, talk with your manager about just putting it up somewhere in the kitchen or near the water cooler. When it’s for such a meaningful purpose, they’re likely to be accommodating.

  • Kiva loans

A surprising number of people haven’t heard of Kiva. As the website itself puts it, Kiva loans change lives; it’s a microfinance organization with a focus on the developing world, but also including people in need in the developed world. These are a great gift to give to someone for their going-away party, to congratulate them on their promotion, to thank them for agreeing to stock fair trade coffee in the kitchen, or really any time when a cow seems like an odd gift to give someone. (Which happens, sometimes.)

  • Recycling

A lot of workplaces don’t have recycling bins. Your workplace should have a recycling bin. ‘Nuff said. If there’s one already and it isn’t getting as much use as it should, print out a handy guide to what actually belongs in the recycling bin and what doesn’t. Also, try not to glare too much at the guy who’s popping his Pepsi can in the trash, as tempting as it might be.


This article was first published on the site She Savvy on 8 November 2016.


Leave a comment

What’s your adventurous new years goal?


So we’re well and truly into the new year of 2017 now….nearly a whole week and it’s slowly sinking in that another year has passed and a new one is upon us.

With that in mind, it’s a good time to take stock, think about what’s important in life and perhaps set a couple of achievable and vibrant goals. I hesitate to use the term ‘New Years resolutions’ as it sounds so manufactured, where goals are dreams with deadlines, as my father-in-law once quipped.

For me this year, my goals are focused on staying healthy and strong. I’ve taken up a regular yoga practice and alongside some strength training, I can feel the difference already. I really love the way it’s all about aligning your breath with the moves and staying focused in the present moment. What a way to unwind, slow down our busy minds and just breathe. But don’t just listen to me – there’s lots of others out there touting the benefits of yoga.

I’m also into dedicating time to slowly, slowly meander my way through my backed up writing projects, one by one. The thing is I have about a dozen Word documents on my computer, each with a few lines or pages of a story or idea or interview which saw the light of day and then was dropped when other life priorities got in the way. So now I plan to see one through to completion, no matter how long it takes and then move on to the next. It’s my way of avoiding scattered brain syndrome and will allow me to feel a deep connection with each story, each project and really devote time to get to know it intimately, work with it and allow it to be whatever it is going to be.

Let it unfurl like a flower.


So here’s to another adventurous year ahead – whether it’s adventures abroad, at home, in the mind, body or soul, embrace the challenge, make it yours and see what magic comes of it.



Leave a comment

Never a dull moment



Credit: Wayne S. Grazio, Flickr

The moaning cries of, “Mum, Dad… I’m bored!” are rarely, if ever, uttered by kids in Whistler. Why is that, you ask? Well, it can be broken down to one word, F-U-N. For kids, Whistler is an ultimate playground, bursting with opportunities for nature play and sensory amusement.

One memorable way to spend a day in classic Whistler-style is to get the kids on bikes on the 40-kilometre Whistler Valley trail system that links all the neighbourhoods in town. The best way to experience the trail is to pack a picnic lunch and head off with no set plan, and be pleasantly surprised by what lies around the corner. Alta Lake sparkles in the sun and invites sand castle building contests at Rainbow Park and the ice cream cone at Whistler Creekside to top off the day is completely satisfying.

The Adventure Group (TAG) offers up a fantastic nature experience on their aerial tree course (aptly called The Treetop Adventure) that features a mind boggling 70 different obstacles from balance beams to rope swings. This is a natural team building adventure and a great experience to share with family.

And why not try out the art of ziplining while you’re in Whistler? Ziptrek’s Bear Tour involves zipping down five ziplines, all the while enjoying aerial vistas above Fitzsimmons Creek and laughing with your kids. And if you’re not quite ready for ziplining, there’s the Tree Trek Tour which takes you on a canopy walk over treetop bridges and suspended stairways in amongst the lush old-growth forest.

The Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre is also a must-see for families where interactive displays and guided tours tell the rich stories of the First Nations people of the region.

Even long after you’ve left town, be warned: a phrase that you are guaranteed to hear often and repeatedly from your kids will start off with, “Remember that time in Whistler when we…”


~This is an excerpt from an article published in The Province and the Vancouver Sun in August 2016

Leave a comment

The backcountry beckons

Photo creditTucker Sherman

Photo credit: Tucker Sherman, Flickr

I am at a loss for words. This is how I feel, faced with the daunting task of attempting to describe what lies before me, as I peer out from the top of Whistler Mountain into the vast backcountry of Fitzsimmons Valley and beyond. The backcountry has this effect on people. It’s almost mystic in its strength, enticing you to explore, yet keeping its secrets close to its heart.

And so I turn to an expert for help with unravelling its spell. Keith Reid, a professional mountain guide with Extremely Canadian Backcountry Adventures and a twenty-year veteran of the mountains, describes how its aloneness is so appealing.

“The terrain here is big, breathtaking and world-class,” he explains. “On a given day of backcountry skiing, we might traverse half a dozen glaciers and numerous high alpine peaks without crossing the path of another skier.”

Guided tours are recommended in this out-of-bounds play area— and for good reason— whether your passion is ski touring, ice climbing, heli-skiing or splitboarding. Local guiding companies, such as Whistler Alpine Guides and Extremely Canadian, can show you secret stashes of powder and most importantly, safety. The backcountry is also avalanche country and it’s reassuring to have safety experts by your side while you explore.

And what’s the best thing of all? That it’s possible to spend epic days in the backcountry then snuggle up warm and cozy in a chalet in Whistler each night.

“What differentiates the Whistler backcountry is the ability to get on a lift from the Village in the morning, backcountry ski all day, then ski back into the resort at the end of the day,” says Reid. “There is nowhere else in North America where you can access this level of terrain on a daily basis without a helicopter.”

The backcountry changes people, he adds, and maybe this is its secret, revealed.

“We introduce them to an environment which, for many, is a ski of a lifetime. Seldom does a day go by that we don’t see that twinkle in our guests’ eyes that says they have been to a magic place and accomplished something very special.”

Find out more at www.whistler.com/activities/backcountry/

By Dawn Green

~This article was published in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on 3 May 2016: