The One-Ingredient Trick To Make Homegrown Tomatoes Sweeter

There are some ingredients that are staples for every kitchen, not just because they go in lots of recipes but because they have a dozen other uses around the house. Baking soda is one of these, as it's useful as a baking, oven-cleaning, meat tenderizing, and odor-fighting agent. Outside the kitchen, it can work as a stain remover for everything from carpets to tile to teeth. However, did you know this multi-functional, some might say, miracle powder isn't just limited to jobs around the house? It might also pay to keep some of it in your gardening shed.

Gardeners will want to keep a little baking soda on hand when they're putting in their tomato plants in spring because sprinkling some of this ingredient into the soil can prevent certain kinds of produce from tasting dull and gives your tomatoes a boost of sweetness come harvest time.

Baking soda softens tomatoes' acidity

You might wonder, "Baking soda isn't exactly sweet to the taste, so how does putting a dash of it in your garden improve the taste of tomatoes?" The answer comes down to the chemistry. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a highly alkaline substance, which means it counteracts acidity — something tomatoes have a lot of by nature. By sprinkling baking soda around the base of your plants during the growing season lowers the soil's acidity and impacts the nutrients being absorbed. As a result, the tomatoes produced by plants in the alkaline soil will have less acidity and taste sweeter, making them an excellent addition to salads or, if you are growing a smaller variety, for munching on like table grapes.

In addition to sweeter tomatoes, sprinkling some on the soil is great for warding off harmful insects, fungi, and even small weeds, so it's really a win-win. Just be careful to keep the baking soda in the dirt and not on the plants themselves to avoid damage or changing the soil chemistry for plants that prefer the acid, like peppers, carrots, and berries.