Jerry Baker's recipes

October 2, 2003

It seems he has a recipe for everything, but he doesn't explain them...information hoarder! ;-)

I'd like to know why a particular ingredient is included in a particular recipe. Anyone have any sources for this type of information to share?

Comments (81)

  • dontknow811

    Hello Jerry
    My name is Don and I am into making compost and And would like to ask you for your help, Some were i read that if you mix beer ammonia and 1 gallon of water is a good compost acceilerator. Is this ok to do . and then after to keep compost going to use coke dish soap and other things I cant rember . So if you could help me . Send me the recipes please

  • swanz

    I think the recipe in his book for compost accelerator was
    1/4 cup beer, 1/4 cup ammonia in a 5 gallon bucket filled
    with water.


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  • arkansas girl

    I've been using the mixture of 4 tbs. baking soda and 2 tbs. murphy's oil soap to one gallon of water to spray on my plants with powdery mildew and it's working great. I haven't had any problems with it burning and kills the mildew as well as I've found a store bought product to work.

  • Rosa

    We are talking about nicotine in the context of Jerry bakers tobacco juice bug spray-not eating a tomato (but I think you know that). There are no safe standards for Arsenic either but it naturally occurs in the fruit of some fruits.
    In that context then I will stand by my statement. There are no FDA sanctioned, safe amounts of nicotine.
    For your reading pleasure I have included a link below.
    Nicotine solutions that are strong enough to kill bugs are not safe for humans!

    Here is a link that might be useful: tobacco bug juice discussion

  • Rosa

    sorry...should have said in the pits of some fruits like apricots and peaches

  • nckvilledudes

    Rosa, I don't think I would count on the FDA to give you reliable information about many things considering the grilling they are taking for allowing Vioxx on the market in light of the current situation.

  • lucky_p

    Jerry Baker - America's Master Quackster; it makes me almost physically ill every Sunday morning, when I hear the intro music for his show. Have to rush over & change radio stations. I can't listen to his baloney.

    Every perceived problem somebody has with a plant needs to be sprayed with a mixture of Murphy's Oil Soap, baby shampoo, lemon-scented dishwashing detergent, Listerine, beer, ammonia, tobacco juice, and hot pepper extract?(Or at least some of these - and every problem ALWAYS gets the three soaps) I think not! Heck, most of the stuff that folks call in about is not even really a problem.

  • cracker39

    In reply to Janne's message about using aged horse manure. I lived in Maryland for 27 years. At my last home there, I had a fruit tree in the front yard that, in 12 years, left more or less neglected, grew from about 3ft to 4 1/2 ft in height and never had a fruit (I wasn't even sure what it was). I purchased a truck load of horse manure and straw mixture that had aged for several years. This was applied as mulch on EVERYTHING growing in the yard in the late summer. That tree, by spring, had grown about a 1 1/2 ft taller, bloomed, and put on more plums than we could use. I gave plums to neighbors and took some to work to give away. I called that mixture a real "MIRACLE GROW". Just remember, AGED is important as freen (i.e., fresh) horse manure can burn plants.

  • cracker39

    OOPS, that should have read "green", not "freen" horse manure...

  • byron


    This is #1 problem

    everyone treats Nicotine spray the same as nicotine sulfate.

    If cigs or chewing tobacco was that deadly folks would be dead from using it.

    - > A letter from Larry Caplan, county extension agent in
    > Indiana, on the subject:
    > "Master Gardeners
    > I've tried to stay out of the Jerry Faker (er,
    > Baker) thread, because
    > the last time I weighed in on it on the Hort AGents
    > list, I found my
    > comments archived, and subject to review by every
    > Baker acolyte on the
    > 'net. For years, I'd get these out-of-the-blue (and
    > sometimes vicious)
    > postings from his disciples.
    > Calmly, and clearly, my problems with Mr. Baker are
    > that:
    > 1. None of his concoctions (and many of his
    > cultural practices) have
    > been proven to be effective by University research.
    > That alone means
    > that we, as Extension people and Master Gardeners,
    > may not use his
    > materials and concoctions for our recommendations.
    > May I remind you: as representatives of your
    > University, you MAY NOT
    > legally recommend any pesticide or cultural practice
    > unless it is
    > backed up by literature from your University. I
    > won't get into the
    > debate about whether practice A or mixture B works
    > -- if your
    > University does not recommend it, neither may you.
    > 2. Some of his concoctions are dangerous. His
    > "tobacco tea" is simply
    > a way of extracting nicotine for use as an
    > insecticide. Nicotine's
    > LD-50 is about 50 mg/kg, which makes it nearly as
    > toxic as strychnine
    > (LD-50 of 30 mg/kg). To be spraying this over the
    > entire yard/garden,
    > as a general "tonic", without checking a) to see if
    > there are pests
    > present, and b) without checking to see if there are
    > beneficials
    > present, and c) without warnings to kids, barefoot
    > gardeners, and pets
    > that a highly toxic (though natural) product has
    > been sprayed -- all
    > of this is reckless. I wouldn't spray malathion
    > this recklessly. I
    > hope no one else would spray nicotine that
    > recklessly.
    > 3. Some of his concoctions are (technically)
    > illegal. OK, class, what
    > are the 3 words we must all say when we recommend a
    > pesticide? READ
    > THE LABEL! Now, what does the label say for dish
    > detergent? Use it
    > for washing dishes. Where does it say which crops
    > it's safe for?
    > Where does it say how much to use for your crops, or
    > which pests it
    > will control? Where are the environmental cautions
    > for using it
    > outdoors? They don't exist, because the label
    > doesn't give you the
    > legal right to use it outdoors as a pesticide.
    > Again, I won't get into the debate about whether it
    > works (although,
    > anecdotally, I've seen severe plant burn from
    > dishwashing detergent).
    > It isn't on the label, and the label is federal law.
    > Period.
    > Will you go to jail if you use dish detergent in
    > your garden? No, Big
    > Brother isn't watching us that closely. But, as a
    > Master Gardener, can
    > you get into trouble with your University for making
    > illegal
    > recommendations? You bet! Just imagine the
    > embarassment when a
    > gardener kills 40 tomato plants, following your
    > advice to use dish
    > detergent. You are sued, and so is your University.
    > Chances are, your
    > University will not cover you, because you violated
    > their directives
    > and recommended an off-label use of a product. It's
    > happened, folks.
    > 4. He's not a Master Gardener. No University
    > claims him, to my
    > knowledge.
    > I've got a lot of other picky problems with his
    > recommendations, but I
    > won't bother with them here. I don't want to see
    > this debate continue
    > to rage. We have to face it: he's charismatic,
    > he's popular, and he
    > sells advertising space (or garners donations to
    > PBS). He's here to
    > stay, and we need to have FACTS at our finger tips
    > to discourage our
    > clientele from blindly following his advice.
    > Does he have good points? Sure! He does get people
    > enthused about
    > gardening, and some of his recommendations are
    > actually beneficial to
    > our gardens. However, we need to examine specific
    > recommendations, and
    > refute them on a point by point basis.
    > And please: we are all Master Gardeners (we are,
    > aren't we?) Let's
    > keep the discussion PLEASANT and COURTEOUS, please.
    > NO name calling,
    > no snide remarks. Just the facts, folks, just the
    > facts.
    > --Flame-proof suit being zipped on --
    > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    > Larry Caplan, Extension Educator -- Horticulture
    > Purdue Univ. Cooperative Extension Service,
    > Vanderburgh Co.
    > -- Southwest Indiana, USDA Zone 6
    > Certified Arborist -- International Society
    > of Arboriculture"
    This guy couldn't find the LD 50 of a tobacco leaf, so he ASSumed that a tobacco leaf had the same LD 50 as and manufactured, concentrated mix, Like comparing a stick of dynamite to an Atom bomb,

    If tobacco was that deadly they couldn't sell it

    Item 2 Hde asked for a University Study, If you found something like cornmeal that is effective against fungus could you afford $1 to $5 million for a "University Study"

    He wants everthing on a label. GMO's are not on a label, The USDA doesn't allow it, Does Cow flop, bunny boo, marigolds and dragonflies have a label? Ergo per him you can not grow organicaly, buy everything from Monsanto et al.

    Jerry Baker isn't 100% right, neither is the USDA



  • Rosa

    Point taken Byron but, "If cigs or chewing tobacco was that deadly folks would be dead from using it."
    Gee silly me, I thought they were dying from the use of both!!

  • byron

    They are dying

    I Know, I just quit a 55 year cig habit

    If the true LD 50 was 55 I would have been dead 50 something years ago.

    But what you are missing is the consuption rate and true LD 50 rate

    I was at 5 packs a day I still am not showing any cancer, I know someone that was at 6 packs a day and has had most of his organs removed.

    Someone needs to compile a bunch of data

    "When is nicotine lethal?"

    I am sure it is a lot higher than the Baker mix


  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I would think that a yard sprayed with the typical (whacky) Baker Brew would smell like a frat party, a successful one at that. Besides all of the durn yellow jackets and wasps enjoying the beer and 7 UP! Crazy.

  • wen1

    When I was a beginner in gardening, just six years ago, I spent an awful lot of money mixing and concocting... I don't think it was worth it. I 'm not sure if any of it helped. I still had many pest and disease problems.

  • leslyndc

    My sis uses the tonic recipe on her 3-year-old lawn in Colorado. She says she has the greenest lawn around for miles in that altitude and climate.

    To appy: Spray very FAST--everything, lawn, bushes, trees--then spray again with the remaining formula, which will be more dilute, then spray everything again with plain water.

  • leslyndc

    P.S. My sis uses the tonic that DOESN"T have tobacco in it--just thought I'd add that for the folks who get so much heartburn about it.

  • eldo1960

    Jerry Baker is a charlatan who makes up his stuff on the go.
    His recipes are as eccentric as can be. He made a lot of money selling books and stuff 30 years ago before his suggestions got so far out of the mainstream of science and common sense. His time is over. Let's just move on and let him do his thing as long as he is able.

  • jannie

    I have read many of Jerry Baker's claims. He says you should dump just about anything on your soil as plant food-soap,beer,whiskey,shampoo,urine,ammonia,etc. Yet anyone who knows about plants knows fertilizers contain three ELEMENTS: nitrogen,phosphorous, and potassium. Hey,my dog urinates on my lawn but I don't see increased growth on the spots she wets. Also, it is well known that Jerry Baker is the best fund raiser for TV stations. He's a SALESMAN, folks! You are better off making a compost pile of vegetable scraps,use compost tea as fertilizer, put shampoo on your head, and drink the beer and whiskey yourself.

  • larry_c_purdue

    While doing a Google search, I accidentally came across this site. To my surprise, I came across some character named Byron defaming me on a couple of places in this forum because I dared to "ASSume" that nicotine was as toxic as nicotine sulfate. I don't know how that article got to be posted on the internet...I thought I sent that out several years ago as a private message (yes, I admit to being the "ID 10 T" that wrote it, Byron).
    I noticed that while it was easy to ridicule me as an ignoramus, no "correct" LD50 values were provided, either. Allow me to suggest, for your information, that you look up the following links about nicotine:

    MSDS for Nicotine (from UNSW Embryology -- http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/msds/nicotine.htm ):

    LD50 (IPR-MOUSE)(MG/KG) - 5.9
    LD50 (SKIN-RABBIT)(MG/KG) - 50
    LD50 (IV-MOUSE) (MG/KG) - 0.81


    Nicotine (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine

    "The LD50 of nicotine is 50 mg/kg for rats and 3 mg/kg for mice. 4060 mg can be a lethal dosage for adult human beings. This makes it an extremely deadly poison. It is more toxic than many other alkaloids such as cocaine, which has a lethal dose of 1000 mg."


    From the Center of Disease Control (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/Niosh/idlh/54115.html

    (You'll need to go to the site, I can't print the table in plain text format)


    MSDS of Nicotine -- from the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Lab of Oxford University: http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/NI/nicotine.html

    ORL-RAT LD50 50 mg kg-1
    IPR-MUS LD50 5.9 mg kg-1
    SKN-RBT LD50 50 mg kg-1
    IVN-MUS LD50 0.8 mg kg-1
    SKN-RAT LD50 140 mg kg-1


    I am not in the employ of any chemical company, and most of my educational programming is directed toward reducing pesticide usage by both commercial and consumer horticulturists. I don't know everything and I don't claim to be perfect, but I don't appreciate people taking cheap shots at me, especially when they've obviously not done their own homework.

  • Strochka_sbcglobal_net

    Hello all!
    This is not a reply to a previous post, but I did not know where to start a new thread.
    We have an almond tree that produces a lot of nuts almost every year. However, I am yet to try one. The squirrels get them all.THis year I've decided to go to war with these little beasts. I found the concoction in Jerry Baker's book BUG OFF for spraying the trere with. mixed all the ingredients and put them in the hand-held spayer( as recommended by Mr. Baker) Does not work. I guess, chili powder clogs the opening. SO, I tryed one used with the garden hose - no results. CLean water sprays the tree, the mix stays in the jar. Please, help!. Or, maybe, someone knows better way to prevent squirrels from cleaning out my nuts harvest.
    Thank you very much!

  • gramps.zone4b

    I have to agree with Byron and others here.
    First off the naye sayers,most likely havent used these JB ideas.I have for 15 years..
    there much cheaper & safer then ANY chemical on the market.Tobbacco,yup,used for many years,soap, Lemon scented dosh soap is what he says,and when USED AS DIRECTED is safe.
    In the old days, there wasnt any of these MFG'ed Chemicals and Grandma Putt ued what worked..
    wash water from Grandmas wash water useing homemade soaps & lyes were always dumped into the garden,with fantastic results.many folks wont use, because of being lazy,skeptical or never tried.
    I have lotsa comments on my garden,even my Doctor uses JB ideas,has a 5 gal jug in shed to hold urine..
    Dont knock this,until you tried, per instructions and documented this.
    another thought is that we whom do these ideas, are spending more time in our Yardens,so we know more of what is going on and we keep records.we expieriment also.
    These are not poisons,like store bought chemicals
    if you use grubex or any thing like this, you will get rid of grubs & yard worms too, which you dont want to.My yards crawl with the nitecrawlers, keeps it areated and leaf matter broke down and nutrients from way down deep brought up.
    bottom line.always follow directions.
    always keep records
    im not a Master Gardner,ive been told I have more knowledge about Yardening then most MG's,i have Mg's asking me advice and wanting me to join there garden clubs all the time.
    If your into Grapes, its hard to follow a extension srvice prune guide, but if you go to a winery and find out exactly how they do it and volunteer a day to help prune, you will gather a ton of knowledge,Pruning Grapes is a all season continous ploy!!!
    so,i hope not ot offend, but to shed lite.....:)try it,keep records,have a test plot. I do .

  • the-light-lady

    I am looking for Jerry Baker's recipe for tomato blight.
    I think it has baking soda in it.
    I have one of his books but I can't locate it right now. :(
    Also, how can I get rid of moles?
    Thank you!

  • janen

    light lady - this is a link to some of his tonics. Maybe you can find what you are looking for here...

  • weekender-64

    My 2 cents...In reading this thread I see that the majority of those negative people with negative results are also those who can't follow instructions. I had a neighbor who wondered how I didn't have bugs in my trees but his was full of them. I told him of the JB tonic I was using and gave him the directions how to mix and USE it and he promptly went home and killed a small portion of his tree (thank God he did a test patch) because he took a short cut and put it in a spray bottle and not a 20 gallon hose end sprayer where it would have been diluted down to the proper dosage. When he corrected himself he got positive results. I may be anal but I follow the directions to the "T" and get wonderful results. I don't understand all the worry about nicotine because as far as I can remember JB doesn't tell you to spray your food garden with it, and it doesn't kill bugs it drives them away (READ ALL, I don't think JB has any tonic that kills just drives away). It works when used properly on trees and other parts of your yardening. I know this is a website to come get advice and help, but remember to use your own better judgment. If you don't want to use tobacco in your gardening then don't, but don't advise everyone else not too because you have issues with tobacco. It just may be the answer they are looking for. When used right.

    Happy Gardening

  • tessmick


    You may have answered my question. It's that time of year again where I'm organizing myself to begin a "regular" maintenance program in my yarden, and I always want to "improvise" JB formulas to use the various sprayer items I already own. But I've never been able to figure out how to convert his recipes to use a container other than his (for example) 20-gal hose end sprayer. I assume you own his set of 3 sprayers and use them exclusively?

    Thanks for any info!
    Tess, Redford, Michigan

  • natrous


    With a little math you don't need any specific sprayer. I use an adjustable Ortho sprayer with a 32-oz jar, and spray-rates up to 8-oz per gallon. (And I bought a separate one for the rare cases I use pesticides or weedkillers, and spray painted it red so I wouldn't mix em up)

    The idea is that you use all the concoction in 20 gallons of water. So, if you set the sprayer on the 1-oz setting (2-tbsp), and have 20-oz of mixture, when the mixture is all gone you will have sprayed 20 gallons of water.

    So to get the rate you set on the sprayer, you just divide the amount of liquid ounces by 20 gallons.

    For example:
    20 oz / 20 gal = 1 oz/gal
    32 oz / 20 gal = 1.6 oz/gal
    40 oz / 20 gal = 2 oz/gal

    My Ortho has some smaller settings in tsp and tbsp, so I need to know that conversion -
    1 tbsp is 0.5 ounces (or 1 oz is 2 tbsp)
    1 tsp is 1/6 oz (or 1 oz is 6 tsp)

    Sometimes you don't get a number that matches your sprayer settings, but you can either let it slide if it's not too much, or adjust the amount of liquid in the sprayer by adding water until you get what you need.

  • reaptosowdc

    Natrous 5 you explain that so well. I have a small lot-around 500 sq ft(front yard 1s 200, back is 300). How many oz of the miracle tonic(beer, coke,ammonia, dish detergent,mouthwash) should I use. Are there smaller sprayers? Or do I adjust it.

  • petzold6596

    PUT IT TO REST!!!!!!!!!!! Let this thread die!!!

  • reaptosowdc

    Weekender-64 , you are so right. I am trying to use my own judgement but just thought I'd ask. I just did not know how to compute this formula for my size of yard. This a great forum on this recipe and gives good advice.

  • briergardener_gw

    Why this thread should be put to rest?
    I think that Baker's tonics better than things that we can find in stores. If some people got bad results because they were not using them correctly does not mean that they are bad. We are not saying that wine is bad for us if some people become drunks.
    I think we should educate people how to use things properly instead of saying that they are bad. Anti-bacterial dish soap is bad for garden but we can't say it about all kinds of soap.
    Urine: it even allowed to be used on organic farms.
    Come on, people.

  • alvd1_hotmail_com

    So, I have been given a JB book from a gardener friend of mine when I asked her how she got her lawn and flowers so fantastic. I have since been reading about JB and his many tonics. It is interesting to see so many posts that traverse the scale of love and hate. Obviously if you are a master gardner and there are liability issues, I can understand the issue. I also understand the issue of labeling. Of course dish soap is not meant for a lawn - it's dish soap! That does not mean there is harm to using it on something else. Hell, I use dish soap in my washing machine to strip cloth diapers - works fabulously! I agree with those that say to experiment and see what works and what doesn't. What is crazy to me is the venom in which people argue whether something is toxic or lethal. The air we breath is toxic! I find the topic of tobacco interesting. Anything in moderation is usually fine, anything in excess (even vegetables and fruit!) can have adverse effects. It's called common sense. I also think it is very interesting to see how many people shoot down these tonics because they are "dangerous." How many lakes are unswimmable in spring and summer because of toxic runoff from household chemicals used on the lawn and indoors? How many of you have toxic chemicals to clean your house? Did you know that using certain mopping chemicals causes liver damage in cats if they lick the floor. Most household chemicals are extremely toxic to children and will kill them if ingested, yet we use them all the time! But we are going to fight over whether dish soap or tobacco is toxic to a yard or those playing in it? How many people smoke? How many people smoke around children? Come on everyone. Choose those products that you feel are best for you personally and leave those that choose differently alone. I would love to yell at those that smoke on the sidewalks as my children pass through - after all, they are killing my children. But do I, no. I cannot control what others do, I can only steer clear of them. Let this be a forum for those that would like to try the tonics and get information. If you have had negative results, share your opinion in a friendly manner - and be truthful about why. Jeez.

  • briergardener_gw

    Maybe we should share on this forum some JB recipes that we have successfully used.
    I like to use Grass Clipping Dissolving tonic:
    1 can of beer,
    1 cup of ammonia,
    1 cup of dishwashing soap (NOT anti-bacterial)
    for 20 gl of water

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    I never heard of Jerry Baker till this thread, and I am curious. It would be fun to read recipes that actually work! I have used soap and water for aphids for a long time. I'm thinking of using some beer mixed with sun tea for my new grape vine cuttings. Wonder if that will help or hinder?

  • pippi21

    Bet Jerry Baker is smiling all the way to the bank from his publications and tv informercials!

  • kh13054_yahoo_com

    DO YOU have any information on compatiable vegetable

  • jwipperfurth_gmail_com

    How can I get rid of a beaver problem. I'm on the river and there eating our 6' tall arborvide's. They ate 3 down to nothing and we have 7 more. This is a costly prpblem. Help!

  • juddersplash_aol_com

    Anyone have any idea of the effect of JB's tonics on the earthworms in the lawn? I'm particularly concerned about the soap.

  • Geranium01blue

    What is an effective method to treat the white powdery mildew on the underside of my one and only gerber daisy?

  • bevpirt_comcast_net

    Hmmm! Best gardens I have ever had were when I used his recipes. Maybe it was just the sheer fun of combining ingredients...oh the quantum physics of it all!

  • bko1026_aol_com

    does anyone have the recipe for PLANT SHAMPOO? I have looked in two of my books and can't find it.

  • travlert52

    What is with bleach and sprite ? What do you use it for and how much of each?

  • MichBucz

    Plant Shampoo is generally dish soap and water.
    I also used the lawn tonic and the birds are still feeding on worms from the lawn it seems - plus a landscaper said I have the greenest lawn around! Hot weather here in Michigan these last few weeks! Alot of lawns totally dried out! :-)

  • highrisegardener

    I love Jerry Baker and all of his crazy tips and tonics! He gets that gardening is like life you have to try this and that and see what works best for you. If you need gardening and/or life to be an exact recipe for your happiness and success you need to go back to chemicals at the gardening store.
    In any event I'm looking to perk up my hibiscus out on the balcony. Does anyone have Jerry's recipe for houseplant tonic? Many thanks for sharing it if you do.

  • highrisegardener

    I love Jerry Baker and all of his crazy tips and tonics! He gets that gardening is like life you have to try this and that and see what works best for you. If you need gardening and/or life to be an exact recipe for your happiness and success you need to go back to chemicals at the gardening store.
    In any event I'm looking to perk up my hibiscus out on the balcony. Does anyone have Jerry's recipe for houseplant tonic? Many thanks for sharing it if you do.

  • butchfomby


  • lucky123

    Carpenter Bees
    The only thing I bought that works is a fly swatter.

    Every spray I can find to buy is guaranteed not to harm a fly or any other living creature.

    Anyone know if Jerry had a recipe for that?

  • Jayme Davis

    Wasn't it beer soda dish soap ammonia and Murphys wood soap?

    Actually that's why I was here

  • Victoria Ciolek

    Can anyone give me the Names of his Books so I can try and find them if they are not out of print. I used to watch him all the time on TV and liked what I saw...(Except for the Tabacco use-but that is just my opinion) thanks, everyone...V

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