Oatmeal Uses In Gardens: Tips On Using Oatmeal For Plants

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Oatmeal is a nutritious, fiber-rich grain that tastes great and “sticks to your ribs” on cold winter mornings. Although opinions are mixed and there is no scientific evidence, some gardeners believe that using oatmeal in the garden provides a number of benefits. Want to try using oatmeal in the garden? Read on for info and tips.

Oatmeal Uses in Gardens

Below are the most common uses of oatmeal in gardens.

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Oatmeal pest control

Oatmeal is nontoxic and slugs and snails love it – until it kills them by swelling up inside their slimy little bellies. To use oatmeal as pest control, just sprinkle a little dry oatmeal around your plants. Use oatmeal sparingly, as too much can swell and become gooey and packed around stems if the soil is moist. Too much can also attract rodents and insects.

Oatmeal as fertilizer

Opinions are mixed when it comes to using oatmeal as fertilizer. However, it won’t hurt to experiment by sprinkling a little in your garden, and the plants just may love the iron that oatmeal provides. Some gardeners believe that adding a small amount of oatmeal in planting holes stimulates root growth.

Just a quick tip when using oatmeal for plants: Avoid quick cooking or instant forms of oatmeal, which are pre-cooked and not as beneficial as old-fashioned, slow-cooking or raw oats.

Poison ivy, poison oak and sunburn

If you brush up against poison ivy or poison oak or you forget to wear your sunscreen, oatmeal will soothe the itchy misery. Just place a small amount of oatmeal in the leg of pantyhose, then tie the stocking around the bathtub faucet. Let the warm water run through the packet of oatmeal while you fill the tub, then soak in the tub for 15 minutes. You can also use the wet bag to rub over your skin later.

Removing sticky sap with oatmeal

Rub oatmeal on your skin to remove sticky sap before washing your hands. Oatmeal has a slightly abrasive quality that helps loosen up the goo.

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