Wednesday, June 19, 2013

War on weeds

We have a very large yard, and a very large number of weeds that need to go. Weeding by hand is something I have neither the patience for nor the very many hours required. Wanting to get rid of the weeds in as an earth-friendly way possible led me to do some research into alternatives for the herbicide Roundup - the most well known glyphosate

Two main reasons for a safe alternative are that I wanted to remove the likelihood of any overspray into our vegetable garden, and I wanted no potential for chemical runoff from our weed-infested dry-creek bed / swale that manages overland flow through our yard. We are in the catchment for the much polluted Chesapeake - so every little bit helps! The areas I want (small seasonal) weeds removed are areas we will not be planting in as they are beds filled with a stone/pebble mulch. 

I came across a discussion and some alternative recipes for weed killers on this forum. I ended up using an amalgam recipe I found in this forum and through other discussions: 

1 gallon vinegar
1 cup salt 
1 tblsp liquid Dawn dish soap 

Mix together and spray on weeds on a hot day with no forecast rain. 

Paul bought me a large spray bottle with a battery-powered spray nozzle. Certainly avoids having to 'pump' the bottle regularly in order to pressurize the contents. 
above - weed just sprayed / below- one day after
Little Miss 4¾ came out to help me and I had no hesitation in letting her help spray the weeds, given the 'safe' ingredients. I must say, the smell made me feel a little like being in a fish 'n' chip shop!
above - healthy / below - not so healthy!
So far so good. I think I might need to repeat the application to some of the hardier weeds, but the amount of, and health of the weeds has significantly diminished after just two days. 

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