Weeds are Killing Me!

Let’s face it, as a beekeeper I struggle every year with what to apply to help keep weeds at bay. This is especially difficult since I do not want to use the commercially available weed killers. Last year I gave up completely and the farm looked like that Husqvarna commercial – “Taming the Wild”.

weed spray search results

Without those name-brand weed killers, what’s a girl to do?

This year I was bound and determined to find a way to deal with the ever-present “Wild” in my garden and around the farm, and so began my internet quest.  For the record, I did look at the weed torches available and decided that fire was probably NOT the right way to go for me. So I continued my search  and it didn’t take me long to find several recipes for homemade weed spray. Click HERE, HERE, and HERE for some options. All three offer some different information (although the recipes all contain vinegar) so check them out if you’ve got the time. The guy in the following video gives you a 9-minute tour of him killing weeds.

 

The gallon sprayer in my feature photo contains 1 gallon of white vinegar, about 1/4 cup Dawn Blue dish detergent, and about 1/2 cup of epsom salt. I did my spraying about 1 pm, it was day with about 80 degree temperatures and low humidity.  On a side note, Lowes Home Improvement apparently sells 64 oz. containers of cleaning vinegar for $1.79 (according to their website – it’s in the cleaning section) I paid $2.48 p/gal. at Walmart (better deal) for 5% acidity white vinegar. Click HERE for the difference between regular vinegar and cleaning vinegar.

weeds after being sprayed with vinegar

A little less than 24 hours after spraying.

A little less than 24 hours later. The solution worked very well on “grasses” and light-weight weeds. I sprayed the solution on some chocolate mint and it barely turned the edges of the leaves brown. I may have to spend a bit more time on plants like the mint – making sure I really cover them. Maybe adding some of the essential oils mentioned in the recipe links above might be the answer. I am not sure at this point. I will report back when I have a better idea what will work on the mint.

some weeds not affected by vinegar solution.

After 24 hours, works on some weeds, but not all.

The mint is in the top left edge of this garden, you would hardly know it received any solution. Maybe it will take a little longer for it to work on the mint but as you can see, the grass has started to die but there is still a lot of green around my butterfly and lilac bushes where the mint has invaded the space. Verdict: this homemade spray might be an acceptable garden weed killer to use in place of anything commercially available. I don’t mind spraying every week if I can avoid having to use the toxic chemicals.

What do you do to combat weeds in your garden if you don’t want to use the toxic chemicals? Please let me know your favorite recipe.