Weeds are an inevitable part of gardening. Whether they get blown in from a neighbour’s yard, don’t get properly destroyed in the compost pile, or get tracked in another way, we’ve got several suggestions on how you can naturally get rid of your weeds.
Salt works by drawing water out of the cell walls and can be an effective weed control especially in rocky areas and on driveways. However, we don’t suggest using salt as a primary or even secondary weed control method as it also kills important bacteria. It also does not biodegrade, and can build up in the soil, spread to a neighbours garden, and even poison surrounding ground water.
Vinegar is another effective natural weed control product. Using acetic acid, it draws water out of the surrounding plants. Vinegar can be diluted or used full strength in a spray bottle. Because it does not discriminate and draws moisture out of whatever plant material it touches, be careful not to spray too close to your vegetable garden.
Boiling water can be effectively used to get rid of weeds in the cracks of sidewalks, the driveway, and other similar areas. Boiling water will scald the plant (and any surrounding microorganisms) so use care when applying.
For the poison ivy patch or other noxious weeds, mix 3 parts water with 1 part vodka into a spray bottle. A drop of dish soap can also be added if desired. Spray desired area over the next several days (best on a sunny day) and the vodka will work to dehydrate the leaves and kill the plant.
If you a field or large patch overrun with weeds, a thick layer of newspaper can be an effective way to smother them and prepare the area for next year’s gardening season. Simply lay a thick layer (at least 8 sheets thick) of newspaper over the area and secure the newspaper using rocks, ground staples, or other suitable objects.
After a rainfall, pull out any offending weeds by hand. They should be loose and easier to pull.
In an earlier tip, we talked about common Toronto weeds. Many of these weeds are actually edible, so before killing them off with the methods described above, why not give them a try and see how they taste?
Cover Image by Tony Alter, used under its Creative Commons license.[Got a Tip?] If you have a tip to share with your fellow urban farmers, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want More Tips? Browse our Tips Archive for more.