Weeds that aren’t always there
Wrongly called “weeds” in common parlance, they are above all wild plants useful for biodiversity.
Also called weeds, these weeds are necessary for the balance of an organic garden. Some grasses provide food and shelter for auxiliary insects and pollinators.
Others make it possible to determine the nature of a soil, to balance it and to enrich the humus. For example:
- The red lamier and the chickweed, like other nitrophiles that absorb excess nitrogen in the soil.
- The ravenelles which take potash in the basement which cannot be assimilated by other plants and release it during their decomposition, thus enriching the soil.
If these herbs, sometimes too invasive, disturb your crops: there are natural tips to eliminate them. Indeed, an ecological weed killer made at home has effectiveness proven by generations of a gardener!
Ban chemical weedkillers
Among the important variety of chemical weed killers, the best known (unfortunately) is glyphosate. Dangerous, toxic, harmful to the environment and to humans, there is no shortage of qualifications for chemical weeding…
Many of these chemical herbicides are classified as “endocrine disrupters”. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) attached to the World Health Organization (WHO) also classifies this substance as “probable carcinogens”.
A poison that impacts everyone
The use of these chemicals represents both a danger for the locals and for domestic animals.
They also contribute to the disappearance of insects and micro-organisms present in the garden.
Among other dramatic consequences: we witness helplessly, the worrying decline of the little idlers of our cities and countryside.
The consequences on our health, environmental pollution, ecological impacts on soils and groundwater, make chemical weed killers real dangers.
To take care of your garden and eliminate unwanted weeds, there is no need for chemicals. Besides hand weeding or hot water weeding, there are other solutions for weeding your garden.
Homemade natural weedkiller for safe weeding
To eliminate the weeds that invade your vegetable patch, flower beds, driveway, courtyard or terrace, just a few common ingredients. Easy to use, these 8 natural weedkiller tips are available to everyone:
1. Pasta cooking water
This tip is ideal for eliminating weeds between the paving of aisles, terraces, yards, etc.
The still-hot cooking water of the pasta (salted or not) works perfectly against weeds and moss. In fact, the starch present in pasta is harmful to plants and the salt burns the roots of the unwanted.
- Pour lukewarm water at the bottom of the weeds, being careful not to pour it over other plants.
Beware of excess salt: if it is effective as a weedkiller, in large quantities it kills micro-biodiversity.
2. The cooking water of the potatoes
This tip is also very useful for eliminating weeds between the paving of aisles, terraces, yards, etc.
Very rich in starch, potato cooking water acts as a very effective natural weedkiller.
- Pour hot water on the unwanted, taking care not to pour on the other plants.
3. Angelica manure
This tip is useful for flower beds, vegetable gardens, etc.
Liquid manure, also called fermented extract, is a liquid preparation obtained from plants. Easy to prepare and economical, plant manure is ideal for replacing certain phytosanitary products used in the garden.
To prepare angelica manure, you need 1 kilo of angelica leaves and 10 L of water (collect rainwater, it’s more economical).
- Roughly chop the angelica leaves.
- Let them soak in the sun in 10 L of rainwater until no more bubbles form in the liquid (about 10 days).
- Filter and pour on your weeds to eliminate them. Once dry you can remove them by hand to extract the roots.
Angelica is easily grown in the garden, in a pot or in a planter.
4. White vinegar
Use it on terraces, driveways and other inert soils not intended for cultivation.
The acetic acid present in vinegar acts as a herbicide. White vinegar, sold commercially, is a dilution of acetic acid to about 10% in general. It is a contact weedkiller. In other words, it burns the aerial parts of the weeds, without attacking the roots.
Even if the vinegar is quickly biodegraded, it nevertheless risks acidifying the soil and attacking microbiological life. Be sure to use it sparingly in your beds and vegetable gardens.
Many recipes for natural vinegar weedkiller exist: they differ in their dosage, pure, diluted or even mixed with black soap:
White vinegar diluted with water:
- Start with a 50% dilution: one volume of vinegar for one volume of water.
- Spray your herbs or water them with this preparation preferably in the morning on a sunny day to accentuate the effect of the vinegar.
White vinegar and black soap:
To make the vinegar stick more to weeds, you can add black soap. The vinegar will thus be less washable in rainy weather.
- For 1 L of vinegar, add 2 tsp. to c. liquid black soap.
- Dilute in a sprayer and spray the weeds in the morning on a hot day.
The heat helps the vinegar residue to evaporate to keep the fertility of your soil intact.
5. Baking soda
Baking soda is an excellent natural weedkiller, which slows the regrowth of unwanted weeds.
Like many salts, bicarbonate is harmful to plants above 1% concentration. Prefer therefore its use on terraces, paths and other inert soils not intended for cultivation.
- 20 g (i.e. 4 teaspoons) is sufficient for 1 m².
- Sprinkle baking soda directly on the areas you want to weed.
- No need to water, rather let the dew do which will dissolve the baking grains. Repeat the operation in case of heavy rain.
- Repeat 1 or 2 times a year, ideally in spring and/or fall, this is more than enough.
6. Nettle manure
This tip is useful for flower beds, vegetable gardens, etc.
Nettle manure is a very good ecological weedkiller, just like angelica manure.
Nettle manure recipe
- 2 kg of nettles and 10 L of water (preferably rain).
- Cut the nettle leaves into thin strips and put them in the water.
- Macerate for 3 to 7 days until no more bubbles form in the liquid.
- Mix the mixture once a day.
- Filter the mixture.
- Pour it pure on your weeds to destroy them.
The maceration of nettle gives off a fairly strong odor. It is therefore preferable and even strongly advised to manufacture it as far as possible from the house.
>> Good to know: keep the nettle residue collected during filtration and add it to your compost. They will constitute a very good accelerator of decomposition of matter.
7. Green manure against weeds
To simplify the maintenance of flower beds, areas reserved for plants and shrubs, there are durable and effective solutions.
Some plants, called “green manures” are known to grow quickly and produce toxic substances against unwanted weeds.
- Phacelia, clover, mustard, etc. : these green manures grow quickly and produce a mass of foliage and roots which prevent the growth of weeds.
- Buckwheat: it is a green fertilizer called “cleaning” whose roots emit a substance inhibiting the emergence of weed seeds.
- Carnation, Indian roses, and marigolds: these plants produce toxic substances against quackgrass for example and other unwanted herbs.
Combining crops is one of the basic techniques of natural gardening, to preserve crops from weeds. Planting green manure ensures good soil cover and acts as a green manure.
Consider sowing green manure between your flower and shrub plants. The selection of the species will be based on the time of sowing.
To avoid weeds in your vegetable gardens or flower beds, the mulching technique is effective.
However, mulch should be applied to leveled soil that has been cleared of weeds beforehand. Mulching limits and stifles the growth of unwanted weeds.
Mulching vegetable and flower plants can be done in different ways:
- Organic mulch: straw, flax, grass clippings or plucked and dried grasses, hemp fibers, etc.
- Mulch with recycled materials: wood chips, terracotta shards, slates, tiles, etc.
Mulching is applied as soon as the soil is sufficiently warmed (early spring). In the middle of summer, make sure you never cover a piece of land without first watering it.
- After good hoeing, deposit a layer of 10 cm of mulch.
It is good to know that there are healthy and ecological alternatives to natural weed killer. It is true that it sometimes takes a little more time, but having a respected garden where healthy products grow is priceless!
Cultivate above ground to limit the workload…
Have you ever considered growing your vegetable garden above ground? You might find some interest in it. Indeed, the working position is much more comfortable for the back. Another advantage: as the plants are tighter, there is a little area left for weeds.