Weeds

They choke out your garden. They reappear again and again in between the cracks in your sidewalks and driveway. They take over your flower beds. Those aggravating weeds just won’t stop! Even if you pull them up by their roots, more will just take their place. Like a never-ending weed army. What’s an organic gardener to do?

Instead of dousing them in chemical weed killers, get rid of weeds naturally. These five methods will keep those wild weeds restrained without harming the environment.

1. Mulch

Layering mulch on your garden soil will stifle those annoying weeds from growing. Watch out, though. Mulch will only slow the weeds down, not prevent them. You’ll still see some peek through the layers.

Packing an organic mulch around your plants will also give your garden something to munch on. As it breaks down, mulch will provide your plants with the nutrients they need to flourish. It will also help lock in moisture, to help your thirsty plants retain water.

2. White vinegar

This kitchen staple does everything else. It cleans counters, kills odors, makes a delicious homemade salad dressing…why not kill weeds too? Spritz white vinegar on unwanted weeds to get rid of them. It won’t work as quickly as chemical weed killers, but it won’t mess with the environment either. When you spray the weeds, make sure the vinegar gets down in the roots, not just on the plant. Just avoid spraying your garden plants, as it will kill them too.

3. Boiling water

Fill up that kettle. Plain old H20 is an effective weed killer. Pouring boiling water on weeds will essentially burn them, as morbid as it sounds. You may only want to use this method to get rid of weeds on your sidewalks and driveways, though. Boiling water won’t distinguish between a “good” and “bad” plant in your garden.

4. Salt water

Salt water works as an effective weed killer. It will dehydrate the weeds by releasing their nutrients into the soil and preventing them from absorbing water. Unfortunately, salt water may also damage the soil surrounding the weeds and any other plants’ underground roots nearby.

A pinch of salt diluted in a lot of water may not do too much damage, but it may not be worth risking your carefully-cultivated organic veggies, herbs and flowers. Instead, use this method on weeds growing in driveways and sidewalks and on any surrounding plant life that you don’t want coming back any time soon.

5. Corn meal

Prevent weeds from sprouting in the first place using corn meal. Corn gluten acts as a pre-emergent, meaning it kills seedlings before they appear above ground. You can sprinkle corn meal over a garden or flowerbed to prevent more weeds from growing.

It won’t kill already growing plants, but keep in mind it won’t kill already growing weeds either. Sprinkling corn meal in soil that you plan on planting transplants or more fully mature plants is also a good plan to save your back from constant weed pulling. Plus, when corn meal breaks down it will provide your plants with much needed nitrogen, an often lacking soil nutrient.

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image: AlishaV