With gardening weather right around the corner, I am starting to think about the garden. But nothing makes me crazier than seeing my neighbors break out the pesticides and start spraying every weed in sight in the spring. ICK. Since so much of my business is about flowers (my Petal People cards are made entirely from pressed botanicals) and seeds (I make plantable paper for a living), I thought this would be a useful post about killing weeds without introducing poisonous, toxic pesticides to our environment and water table. Also — and I know I have talked a lot about bees lately — not using pesticides will also make our lovely bees much happier and healthier.
I found a really neat article by Bob Villa about natural ways to fight off weeds. These were the surprising weed-fighting techniques that I didn't know about:
Did you know that corn gluten meal is birth control for seeds? Sprinkle it on your garden and it will keep weed seeds from germinating and growing into plants. Of course, corn gluten meal will keep any seed from germinating, so don’t try this on your vegetable garden until your plants are established and you’ve ﬁnished planting seeds.
Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer, or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning, when there’s little wind, to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic.
Scald those pesky weeds with boiling water. Just grab your kettle off the stove and bring it to the garden. Pour a stream of water carefully on the crown of each unwanted plant. Tough perennial weeds with long tap roots may take two or three applications, but will eventually stop coming back.
I actually don't care much about weeds. I pluck the ones that really bother me or threaten my flowering plants, and I figure the rest are green and blend in with the grass making it look fuller!