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Drove my mother up to her summer house last week. The landscaper she hired to do a spring cleanup never showed and now come summer the yard was a mess. The one really ugly part was that the gravel driveway looked fuzzy with all of the weeds coming through.
The thought of trimming bushes and raking didn’t bother me, but that weedy driveway did. The house is over 100 feet from the road so that is too much bending over to pull all the weeds. It would have to be weedkiller. Roundup costs over $15 a gallon and there are lawsuits claiming it can cause cancer. I needed an effective but environmentally sound solution. My mother came through with a recipe she found on the internet (I still think she must have asked the grandkids for help working that “google-thing.”)
What we used was one gallon of distilled white vinegar, two cups of Epsom salt, and a couple squirts of Dawn dishwashing detergent. I mixed that up in our garden sprayer and sprayed on the weeds. The vinegar and salt both work to dehydrate the weeds (not sure what the soap does). It took three batches of this stuff to do the whole driveway. Considering vinegar costs less than $3.00 a gallon, and we already had an old bag of salt, this was much cheaper than Roundup. But did it work?
By the next morning, all of the weeds were brown and dead. Some that were in direct sunlight shriveled up in the first hour. In my experience, it worked better than the stuff I used to buy at the hardware store and for a fraction of the cost. So, it satisfied both my environmental side and my Scottish side.
Before applying I did weed whack everything. Long dead weeds are better than live ones, but it is best to have as little weed as possible, dead or alive. Also, vinegar smells like vinegar. Put down three gallons and it can have a strong odor for a day or two, maybe three.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the results. Years ago I remember listening to a guy on the radio who had a call-in show about gardening and lawn care. Every time someone explained their issue he would give them a quick homemade recipe with all sorts of odd ingredients. For instance, “OK, what you need is a can of beer, a cup of human urine, half cup of tobacco juice . . . “ I never tried any of his suggestions, but it was fun to listen to.
Anyway Ricochet, what homemade hacks do you have to replace expensive (and potentially toxic) store bought product?