Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green Thumb

I don't have one. I can kill just about anything in record speed. This year when we moved to our new (old) house, I thought I would try and keep flowers alive. Surprisingly, I didn't kill the flowers. I also didn't kill the weeds that pretty much overtook them. So, in the spirit of trying harder to have a green-er thumb, here are a few gardening tips/tricks I thought I would share:
  • Vinegar: Kill weeds dead with a good shot of vinegar. For best results, don’t dilute with water and choose a time to spray weeds when there’s no sign of rain. Household vinegar is around 5% acetic acid concentration which will do the trick for baby weeds. If you can find a stronger vinegar (like pickling which is about 9%), that will give better results for more mature (and stubborn) weeds.
  • Salt: This is an effective weed killer, but keep in mind that significant amounts will cause damage to surrounding soil as well. Salt should only be used in places where you want no plant growth (like driveways, sidewalk cracks, underneath decks and patio blocks, around the foundation of the house, etc.). To use, a ratio of 1 part salt to 2 parts water should do it. You can also drizzle salt directly over weeds.
  • Salt & Vinegar Recipe: (read note above first). Combine 1 1/4 cups of table salt with 1 gallon of household vinegar. Spray where needed.
  • Vinegar & Dish Detergent: Fill a spray bottle with pickling vinegar and add a squirt or two of liquid dish detergent. Spray on weeds during the hottest part of the day.
  • Liquid Dish Detergent: Make a soap solution of 1 part liquid dish detergent to 10 parts water. Soak weeds with this mix.
  • Boiling Water: Plug in the kettle, bring it to a boil then pour the hot water over weeds (you’re basically cooking the weed to death).
  • Lemon Juice: Either use straight lemon juice or try 1/2 cup lemon juice mixed with 1 quart household vinegar. This works much the same way as straight vinegar, but lemon juice is more expensive.
  • Common Weed Killer Recipe: 1 quart household vinegar, 1/4 cup salt, 2 teaspoons liquid dish detergent (only use a detergent that contains no bleach). Mix together and spray on weeds.

Tips For Weed Control:

Many natural remedies and weed killer products will not only kill weeds dead, but they may also kill surrounding grass, plants and flowers. When using a recipe, make sure to apply to the weed only (keep in mind that liquids will saturate and seep into the ground where roots from favored plants may be able to reach).

Use weed killers when there’s no sign of rain for at least a day or two, hot sunny weather will give you best results.

For weed control in gardens and flower beds, consider laying newspapers and mulch in and around your plants–the weeds will have a difficult time rooting and spreading.

Weed growth is greatly reduced when using the “No Dig” method of gardening. The idea is to make a foundation of compost/mulch then only use soil where you plant (make a hole in the mulch, stick a handful or two of dirt inside then plant the seedling).

I realize the time for gardening is quickly fading, but I thought I would need the entire fall and winter seasons to study up on how not to kill things!!