It’s no secret that herbicides are bad for you, and the environment. (I mean seriously, read the label that junk says you can’t walk on your lawn after applying it, um yuck? Do you really want your kids & pets on that?) Fortunately there are some super cheap, easy and environmentally friendly ways you can get rid of weeds in your garden!
Biodiversity is good! Weeds are only weeds because they aren’t “useful”. Well did you know that dandelions are edible from the roots to the leaves? Dandelion leaves make a great salad, and roasted dandelion roots make a delicious coffee like drink. They are also incredibly important food source for bees. So really, is it so bad having them there in your lawn? Overcome the monoculture myth and cheer on the native flora of your area! Clovers and other legumes give your ground valuable (and free) nitrogen. Acidic lawn? Let those clover take over and fix all the nitrogen! Repeat after me, biodiversity is good! Monocultures are bad! Having a lawn of only one type of grass leaves it more susceptible to disease and being killed by changes in environment. Our lawn has an assortment of grasses, clovers and weeds. While the summer burns out one particular type of grass, the rest of our lawn is green year round (unlike some of our neighbors who have a grass that turns yellow all fall/winter).
Vinegar is great isn’t it? You can use it to clean your house and you can also use it to kill weeds! I used it with great success to get rid of the wild onions that were literally taking over my yard. I asked around and everyone said nothing worked on them. Pulling them out was no good because they were in tiny bunches that made getting out their little ball roots difficult if not impossible. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but they were taking over, and I don’t want a yard of onions. So I got a spray bottle and filled it with vinegar. Spray on the offending weeds and wait a few days for them to turn brown and die. NOTE: This will kill off grass or anything else it touches, so be careful! But that does make it perfect if you want to get rid of the grass growing in the cracks of your driveway or walkways.
But wait, why don’t you add salt & soap like that popular weed killer recipe?
Well, you know what conquering armies used to do to screw over those they conquered? They salted the land so the people who lived there couldn’t grow food. Salt won’t help your soil. Most dish soaps (other than those like Seventh Generation* [affiliate link: if you purchase from this link I will receive a small bit of monetary compensation]) contain nasty chemicals you don’t want in the ground or more importantly in the water supply. Vinegar works just fine by itself to kill weeds, due to it’s high acidity.
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Yank out those suckers! Mostly this is best for flower beds where you really don’t want anything to kill off your flowers. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s fulfilling. Nothing like looking at your freshly weeded flowerbed and admiring all your effort.
Mulch won’t prevent weeds entirely, but it will help deter them as well as help keep moisture in the soil. After a time the mulch will also biodegrade and help build up the soil as well. So adding mulch to your flower beds not only makes them look nice, but helps your plants as well. Placing paper or weed shield underneath your mulch will also help to keep the weeds at bay.
Cutting your grass too short can lead to it burning out and generally not doing well. Sick grass leads to more opportunity for weeds. A healthy lawn will help prevent weeds from even growing. Pick grass types that are native to your area to ensure they will be able to cope with the climate well. Additionally test your soil ( usually your local agriculture extension will provide this service) and fertilize with organic fertilizers as needed. Never put more fertilizer down than needed and never fertilize frozen ground! Doing so will only cause your fertilizer to run off and pollute your local water sources (not to mention wastes your money and fertilizer).
Do you have any eco-friendly gardening tips? Or are you wondering how you can make your garden and lawn more “green” (see what I did there?) Let me know in the comments!