There is nothing better than seeing the beautiful bounty of a spring and summer garden. And is it even considered spring if you haven’t yet brought in a bouquet of freshly cut flowers? It’s a good thing flowers bring so much joy, because it isn’t always easy to keep your garden growing and free of weeds. In fact, weeds are the bane of many a gardener’s existence, especially when it comes to some more common Hoosier invaders.
“The difference between a weed and a flower is a judgment.” — Unknown
Dandelions, plantain, wild violet, thistle . . . the list goes on. Although all these plants are beautiful (some are even medicinal), they become a problem when allowed to grow unhindered and take over an entire garden bed or lawn. There are many ways to treat seasonal weeds. Chemical products abound. But toxifying our yards isn’t best for the planet, weeds or no weeds.
Believe it or not, you probably have all the ingredients you need right now to help free your yard from the woes of weeds. Not only is this a better choice for our environment, it also helps keep kids and pets safe as they play in your yard. Toxic chemicals aren’t good for anybody, so the more we reduce our use of them, the more we contribute to the overall health of our earth and ourselves.
Homemade weed killers
Vinegar-based weed killer
This weed killer is tried and true, so you must be careful about where you spray it. You may not want to add the salt if you are hoping to grow more plants in the same area; salt can change the pH balance of your soil and make it difficult to grow things in the future. You can find the recipe on this website or just combine 3 cups vinegar, 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid, and 1/4 cup salt (if using) in a spray bottle. Spray on young weeds in full sun, making sure not to spray your grass or other plants.
Boiling water and salt
This recipe is best used on those pesky weeds that poke up through your driveway and sidewalk. Simply sprinkle salt on the problem areas and then pour boiling water over the top. It is best to use a tea kettle because the spout allows you to aim the water. Remember to use caution and sprinkle salt only where you want plants to die. Don’t use this method in your yard!
Borax and water
This solution is great for weeds and ant infestations. Simply combine 1 cup of powdered borax with 2 gallons of water. You can use a spray bottle to spray weeds throughout your lawn or garden bed, making sure not to get the mixture onto any other plants. This mixture is especially effective on weeds like creeping Charlie and ground ivy.
Rubbing alcohol and water
Two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, when combined with about a quart of water, is an effective weed killer all on its own. Using a spray bottle, simply spray directly onto the leaves.
Lay down a layer of this fabric between plants and cover with mulch or straw to smother new growth and create a garden bed free of weeds. If you want to ditch the fabric, mulch is a great option all on its own. It won’t completely stop weeds from sprouting throughout the growing season, but it will keep them to a minimum.
Some other common pesticide-free ways to stop weeds from growing are to set your mower to leave taller grass behind, pull weeds using a trowel to get to the roots and plant ground cover. If you’re adventurous, turn lemons into lemonade by pulling edible weeds and consuming them (only if you haven’t sprayed your lawn or garden with pesticides). Dandelion flowers and wild violet are some common additions that add life and beautiful color to a salad. They are also beneficial for your health!
Take care of the planet this year by using natural methods to rid your lawn and garden of those pesky weeds. Not only will your wallet benefit from the changes, but you will also help ensure that the soil and environment remain free of toxic chemicals. Give it a try and see what natural weed killers can do for you this season.