Super Easy Weed Killer

April 29th, 2014 by Karen


One of the hazards of having a lot of rain and then beautiful sunny weather is that all the things that I don’t want taking over my garden suddenly grow like…well…weeds. You see all the lovely weeds in the picture above? That’s only two days worth of growth. Two. Days. Today is Tuesday and my husband mowed them down on Saturday. And before you protest that the weeds look too tall to have been mowed just a scant two days ago, I’d like to point out that the tall stuff is an insidious invasive plant called Johnson Grass. It can grow to 8 ft tall and a single plant can produce more than 80,000 seeds. Oh, and it also grows back from the smallest piece of root and can grow several inches OVERNIGHT. Evil.

Now, I know that one of the options I have to kill all the weeds is RoundUp. But, I’ve kinda become a Monsanto hater (yeah, they make RoundUp, pest resistant plants that kill livestock, aspartame (that’s in NutraSweet, fyi), and in the past? They were the parent company that made this incredibly effective herbicide called Agent Orange.), so I’m not too interested in putting that stuff anywhere my family is hanging out and certainly not near the food I’m planning on eating. So, I’ve been looking for a better solution.

Enter Pinterest.

I came across a pin that took me to the amazing blog A Garden for the House with a fantastic post about how to keep your garden weeds down without the use of all the nasty toxic stuff. Bonus? I already had it in my house!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve started to use vinegar more and more for cleaning and disinfecting. Microwave a mess? Heat up vinegar and water and steam the caked on gunk off. Washing machine funky in a bad way? Add vinegar to your next load. There are so many great uses for simple things like vinegar, salt, baking soda and lemon juice that I’ve found that I’ve stopped using some of the more harmful things that I used to use. So I was definitely happy to find a weed solution that was vinegar based.

Essentially, the post calls for you spray your weeds with straight vinegar. That’s it. Now, I’m pretty sure that this would do a fantastic job on the crabgrass and other odds and ends weeds infesting my garden, but that Johnson Grass is a beast. So I did a little more searching and ended up using the following:

  • 1 gallon white vinegar (5% acid)
  • 1/2 Cup salt (I don’t want anything growing back, so I don’t care if I salt the ground…if you’re just killing weeds to plant something else DO NOT ADD SALT)
  • 1/4 Cup dishsoap

I mixed it all up in my watering can, watered the offending area at 8am this morning and here’s what it looked like at 4pm this afternoon:

Garden after using vinegar, salt and soap mixture to kill weeds

I can’t wait to see what it looks like by tomorrow!

Posted in Gardening | 3 Comments

3 Responses to ' Super Easy Weed Killer '

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  1. grandpa said,
    on May 5th, 2014 at 9:21 am

    interesting idea on vinegar. however, my battle isn’t with a grass, it’s with snails.

    here’s a link that lists interesting plant varieties that monsanto now owns, because they bought a major seed producer’s patent portfolio: it includes Early Girl tomatoes, which is particularly painful because Early Girl does excellently when “dry farmed” in this area, producing smaller, intensely flavored fruit that i have been eating and canning for years.

    another note, if you haven’t yet filled your tomato quota: one of the local Grocery Outlet stores is selling 1 gal “MightyMato” grafted tomato plants for $6 or so. grafted tomato plants are supposed to be more disease resistant and yield a lot better than non-grafted (i heard that directly from the woman running The Love Apple farm, who we’ve been buying tomato seedlings form for years). they cost $10-12 in most nurseries, and these ones are quite over-grown (2′ high) and too mature for their pots, which explains why GrosOut has them. they weren’t very well treated (soil was totally dry), but most seemed in a good shape. so we bought one and found a spot for it. it looks as large as the plants we’ve had in the garden for 5-6 weeks.

  2. Karen said,
    on May 5th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    That’s a great list to have on hand! I went out to the garden and double checked every plant we have in the ground. Luckily all of our current plants are from Bonnie and though they seem to by seeds from Seminis (which is Monsanto owned, *sigh*), they are at least non-GMO. I’ll have to check out our local Grocery Outlet and see if they have any of the grafted tomato plants. A few more couldn’t hurt. 🙂

    Have you experimented at all with saving seeds? We’ve been discussing giving it a go this next year and I’ve just started looking for information.

    We don’t seem to have a snail problem, but I’ve noticed a growing number of slugs so I think I’m going to try a few things to see which works the best. I’ve seen a solution involving beer, another with eggshells, and a third with cornmeal. I have three raised beds, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

  3. grandpa said,
    on May 5th, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    saving seeds: yes, with limited success. we’ve been having good luck with Aji Cristal and Rooster Spoor peppers over several years and with some cucumbers and squashes. no great luck with anything else. one particular failure was the Cherry Bomb pepper, that was excellently spicy when grown from a seedling we bought from the Master Gardeners sale, but had nearly zero heat when we grew it from the saved seed.

    this year we have had a whole lot of tomatoes come up on their own where last year we had an exceptionally tasty cherry tomato plant. we’ll see if that works out.

    on slugs: beer sort of works, if there is enough for them to drown in. sluggo (iron phosphate + slug & snail bait) works quite well and degrades into fertilizer, but is pricey. copper foil works _if_ you have a continuous barrier and the slug is forced to reach it from the wet soil — the galvanic reaction shocks it and the slug hopefully crawls off to destroy someone else’s garden.

    one other thing i haven’t tried recently: diatomaceous earth, the filtration medium used for pools. sprinkle it on the ground around the plants. the diatom shells are sharp and spiky at the microscopic levels, and slugs don’t like that. here’s a link you might find interesting:

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