©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Vinegar can help keep your tent in proper shape.

Vinegar can be used in many wonderful ways outside your home. Vinegar is a great alternative to toxic chemicals for controlling weeds, pests, and disease in your yard. For example, vinegar (particularly apple cider vinegar) is a key ingredient in organic herbicides and fertilizers. This article includes various hints on how you can use vinegar with outdoors activities and maintenance projects. We'll start in the garden, where vinegar can do wonders.

Gardening

: Remove stains that develop in clay flowerpots by filling them with 2/3 cold water and 1/3 vinegar. Let the pots soak until they look clean, then wash with soap and water, and rinse.

: A squirt of vinegar may help invigorate a plant and make it more resistant to disease and pests. Mix 1 ounce vinegar with 1 gallon compost tea, and use as a regular spray on garden plants.

: Mix 3 tablespoons natural apple cider vinegar in 1 gallon water. Fill garden sprayer with the mixture, and spray the roses daily to control black spot or other fungal diseases.

: If seedlings begin to mold while starting them in a damp medium, clean them with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 9 parts water, and transfer them to a new container. Spritz seeds regularly with this diluted mixture while awaiting germination.

: Boil 1 quart water, then add 2 tablespoons salt and 5 tablespoons vinegar. While still hot, carefully pour mixture directly onto weeds between the cracks on sidewalks and driveways.

Pest Control

You need a lot of weapons to fight pests in your garden. Vinegar can be a handy asset.

Ants: You may be able to stop a troop of ants from marching into your house if you can identify their points of entry and wipe areas with undiluted vinegar. Spray vinegar on thresholds, near sinks, or near appliances where the ants are gathering.

Cats: Cats can wreak havoc on your garden by using it as a litter box. Soak wads of newspaper with vinegar, and scatter them in areas where the cats have been. The vinegar smell should discourage repeat visits.

Cockroaches: A squirt of pure vinegar from a spray bottle may stop a cockroach long enough to be captured and disposed of properly.

Slugs: Slugs like to feed on gardens primarily at night or on cloudy, damp days. To combat them, fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water. Search out slugs at night, and kill them by squirting them directly with solution.

Camping

When you are camping, you need to bring items that do more than one thing. Vinegar should be on that list.

: To clean canvas tents or other canvas materials, dip a bristle scrub brush in warm water, spray on the cleaner, and brush. If your tent develops mildew, clean problem areas by wiping them with vinegar and letting the tent dry in the sun.

: Picnic jugs and coolers often take on musty or mildew smells. Rinse smelly items with undiluted vinegar, then wash with soap and water to clean thoroughly. Rinse.

: Rub a freshly caught fish with vinegar before cleaning and scaling it. The scaling will be easier, and the vinegar will help control the fishy odor on your hands.

: Plastic tarps or outdoor equipment coverings can be made antistatic by cleaning them with a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 gallon water. This may also reduce the amount of dust attracted to the plastic covering.