While most people who have a garden enjoy working in it and growing things, most of us dislike the weeds that pop up with monotonous frequency. They seem to come up all over the place, especially where we do not want them!
Grass is a particularly annoying thing to deal with, particularly when it comes up in your vegetable patch or flower bed. Grass can be very difficult to simply pull out as its roots are very long. It sometimes seems as if the grass just comes up again in a different area.
While many people resort to chemicals to remove the grass, there are people who would prefer to attack the grass in a way that will not harm the insects which also live in the garden. Using an organic weed killer may be an option.
There are several natural weed killers that you can make yourself at home and while you may never kill 100% of the weeds you can certainly get them under control using an organic weed killer.
As a precaution you should cover the plants you do not want to kill with some sort of fabric. On a hot sunny day spraying vinegar around may see some of it land on your plants. The sun, in addition to the vinegar, will leave your plants burned and possibly dying.
Large weeds such as thistles and gorse will react better if they are trimmed back first. Cut down as much of the weed as you can. Using a strimmer for this is a good idea. Once the weeds are ground level you can go ahead and spray them with your homemade solution.
Many plants have long roots. These include dandelions and dock so you will find that you need more than one application to keep them under control.
Make sure you choose a calm day to attack the weeds and be sure to spray only the weeds and not the soil. Aim to spray the centre of the plant, right at the growing tip for best results.
Some organic ways to kill weeds
The idea is to keep the soil as still as possible and leave it undisturbed. This is because there are weed seeds that will spring to life as soon as you dig them up. Use organic mulch which can include paper, compost and leaves and lay it down.
Another way to smother weeds in the vegetable garden is to plant other smaller plants between your rows of veggies. Strawberries or vines can be grown between other plants to prevent the weeds from popping up.
Vinegar is known for being one of the best organic weed killers. It may take several applications, but you will see results with this method.
You can even use regular household vinegar as long as it contains 5% acetic acid. A stronger acetic acid percentage will work faster.
The acetic acid burns the leaves and draws out the plant moisture so that the weed starts to die.
Boil the weeds
This works well on small weeds that come up. Simply boil the kettle and pour the boiled water over them. Make sure that there are no kids and animals in the area as they may get splashed.
Flame the weeds
You can buy special propane torches which will scorch the weeds. This is suitable for small weeds. The high heat raises the temperature of the water in the weeds and makes then burst and die. The best time to do this is early in the morning when the weeds are wet from dew. A quick sweep with the burner is all that it takes, there is no need to set them on fire.
Cheap vegetable oils will work well to strip the leaves of the weeds and then leave them to dehydrate and die. Canola and sunflower oils are biodegradable and can be broken down by the soil. Simply mix the oil with some vinegar and spray the weeds.
To sum up
With so many methods of attacking the weeds in the garden in a natural way, there is no reason why this method should not be the place to start. Keeping your garden weed-free will be a good reward for not damaging the environment.
— Featured photo by Flickr user joejungmann, Creative Commons