Friday, May 17, 2013

Dirt Cheap Yard Work

Another stop on my quest for a chemical free house.  Ok, I have to be honest - it also had a lot to do with money.  It turns out that DIY natural options tend to be much cheaper than the chemicals anyway!

A little background first.  We are currently renting so aside from not having a lot of extra cash right now, we don't really want to pour a bunch of money into someone else's yard.  There are two areas that are supposed to be rock and dirt but the weeds have taken over and it's looking kind of trashy.  Also, while the dandelions aren't horrible, there are more than I would like poking through our grass.

So here's the recipe:

Weed Spray

Vinegar - Enough to fill a spray bottle.  I used plain white vinegar but I'm told that pickling vinegar works even better.
Salt - 1/2 cup for a spray bottle  
Dish soap - just a squeeze

I used this spray bottle first but it was a lot of work for the size of area I needed to cover.  So I went to Ace to find a bigger jug. **Beware - if you spray this on dandelions in the yard, no matter how carefully, you will create brown spots in your grass!!**

At Ace they had a 2 gallon lawn sprayer on sale for 10 bucks.  Score!  A gallon of vinegar from Walmart was $2.48.  I had the salt and dish soap.  The area I needed to cover in the front and back took 3 gallons of vinegar.  My total weed killer cost: $17.48.  Zero toxic chemicals.  

All that green is supposed to be rock!  Also - the best part of chemical free is that the kids get to help!  My 2 an 3 year old thought the weed sprayer was awesome.

Try to do it on a day that the weeds will get lots of warm sunshine.  The hotter the better.  I saw results the very next day.  

Weed Prevention

Next I needed to make sure the weeds wouldn't come back.  This is only for areas where you do not want anything to grow.  Do not get it on your grass or near plants you want to keep.  It's simple.  Just spread baking soda over the area.  The salt is supposed to neutralize the ground so that nothing will grow there.  Time will tell if this works!  The kids had a blast helping me spread it around.

Pesky Dandelions

So far, the best cure for dandelions without chemicals... you might not like this... is to pull them.  Yup.  Super simple and I just take care of it while I'm outside watching the kids play.  There may be other options, but I don't want brown spots!

What are your favorite cheap yard tricks?

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