“I have to get rid of weeds growing through my brick patio. Can you help me find something that’s safe around my pets; both my dog and cat like to chew on the plants outside. Something that is easy for me to use besides hand weeding? The area is too big.” Weeds can be the bane of a homeowner’s landscaping existence, and the Newton Falls Public Library staff can understand our patron’s dilemma in trying to get rid of them without endangering the pets.
In The Truth About Organic Gardening: benefits, drawbacks, and the bottom line by Jeff Gillman, almost 10% of the book is focused on the topic of weed control. It is very helpful that for each suggestion, Gillman includes the benefits, the drawbacks, and the bottom line. Our patron wasn’t sure if his organic suggestions to flame the weeds (with extreme caution), cover the entire area with plastic, or apply corn gluten meal, vinegar, or salt were good for her.
We next examined Giant Book of Garden Solutions: 1,954 natural remedies to handle your toughest garden problems by Jerry Baker. In this book, the use of common household items is very interesting. Baker has a recipe for Brussels Sprouts Brush-Off Soup using the sprouts (can substitute cabbage leaves), dish soap and water [p. 329]. Another one that attracted our attention was Weed Wipeout, made from gin, vinegar, liquid dish soap, and water [p.289, 356].
The safest weed killer for use around pets was found in Great Garden Formulas: the ultimate book of mix-it-yourself concoctions for your garden. Slowly pour boiling water over the weeds and the soil around them and do not remove the dead weeds as they will serve as mulch, discouraging new growth [p. 154]. There is also a formula for a rubbing alcohol and water spray [p.156]. The final suggestion in their chapter, Formulas for Weed Control, was to carefully identify the weeds, ensure they haven’t been treated with chemicals, harvest and eat them. A Newton Falls Public Library staff member declared, “This is the ultimate revenge against weeds, along with a little pepper and olive oil!”