Getting rid of weeds may be the most frustrating part of gardening. Sometimes, it seems that no matter what you do, these weeds just pop out of nowhere and steal the vital nutrients from your beloved plants.
Don't despair! Before you reach for the industrial strength chemical weed killer, try this all around household item: white vinegar! It's cheap, effective and just about every home has one in the pantry. The acidity of the vinegar will change the alkalinity of the soil, making it an inhospitable environment for plant life to grow.
Here's how to prevent weeds with natural non-toxic vinegar.
- Prepare your materials. You will only need about a tablespoon or two of distilled white vinegar, and a small spray bottle filled with tap water.
- Mix the vinegar with the water. Be sure to shake the bottle well.
- Protect the plants you want to keep by placing some type of barrier. You may use a coffee can or place paper plates to build a fence around your flowerbed.
- Now it's time to attack those weeds! Go to your garden or plant box and spray the vinegar solution directly on the weeds. Spray on the leaves and roots of the weed. Don't spray directly on the soil immediately surrounding other plants. You only want to eliminate the weeds, not burn off all your flowering plants.
- There is no need to repeat the process. Trust that the vinegar solution will work well. Give it a couple of days and you'll notice the weeds start to wilt. Once they wilt or are dried, you can rake it off. You may take out the top dark layer of soil that was affected by the vinegar.
- If you find that the home use vinegar is too mild, you may head out to the hardware store or a plant nursery and purchase a stronger concentration. Regular white vinegar is about 5%, whereas stronger solutions go up to 10%. Don't use a 20% vinegar concentration because it may be too strong for you and cause eye irritation and skin rash.
- To increase the potency of the vinegar solution, use hot water in your vinegar solution.
- For truly stubborn weeds, do not dilute the vinegar. If you use it in its concentrated form, use a small paintbrush to apply is directly to the weeds.
Voila! Vinegar is an all around wonder product for cooking, cleaning in the home, for softening fabrics and can now be used even in your garden. Keep in mind that in the short term, the soil where the vinegar was sprayed on may not be able to sustain plant life as well. For an added layer of protection, place around two to three inches of mulch on the ground. After the vinegar treatment, you can manually pull out any persistent weeds, but there should be a significant reduction in your weed growth.