Natural Weedkiller & Gardening Hacks

Natural Weed Killer

I’m a freak! I love weeding. I find it very calming and I love seeing those clean beds when I’m finished. That said I do appreciate that some people want an alternative.  You’ll often see recipes for inexpensive natural weed killer made with everyday kitchen ingredients that are said to actually works. I’ve tried it and here’s what I found

  • 200ml of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 squeeze of washing up liquid

I test this last week and initially killed small weeds with one application and big weeds after a couple of applications but despite repeated applications it doesn’t perennial weeds, like dandelions. I’ve also since learned that even this homemade weedkiller affects microbes in the soil and isn’t advisable if you don’t want to kill insect life. So now I resort to using a fork to hand-weed out where I can, a hoe to cut the leaves off perennials growing on paths and the spray on weeds that I can neither hand-weed or hoe.

Even though I love gardening I don’t have a huge amount of time or money to devote to it so I’m a big fan of life-hacks that make it easier. Here is a list of short-cuts that help me stay on top of my gardening to-do list.

  • Hand-weed just after a rain shower, the ground is softer and it makes the whole job easier or use a hoe to weed when the ground is very dry.
  • If it hasn’t rained in a while water the ground an hour before you dig a hole to soften it up.
  • Buy smaller plants, they require less watering-in than larger plants.
  • Aim to plant new plants when you know you’re due a few days of rain showers. It’ll save you watering as much.
  • When making a new bed; dig over the soil but instead of breaking up the soil with the spade yourself allow snow and ice to break down soil over winter.
  • Sow green manure on soil that’s going to be bare for a season. It adds nutrients and cuts down on weeding. You can sow green manure in the autumn to cover ground over the winter or in the spring to cover ground over the summer.
  • When sowing seeds directly into beds do so in an obvious pattern, that way you know what’s weeds and what’s seedlings.
  • Plant bulbs in pots and when they’re in flower place them where you need them in the bed. You can also make the pot disappear by planting it into the soil. Not only does this allow you fill gaps in a new garden it saves you digging up bulbs accidentally when they’re dormant.
  • Use polystyrene packing peanuts or lightweight plastic pots in the bottom of large pots to reduce the amount of compost needed to fill them, making them lighter.
  • Sow tomato plants on their side to encourage a stronger root.
  • Don’t use multi-purpose compost for permanently planted pots. The compost will dry out too quickly and beasties can burrow through it too easily. Either mix compost with soil or buy compost with loam (fine soil) mixed with it.
  • If you don’t have a greenhouse and don’t fancy filling your house with seedtrays set up a seedling bed outside. Simply water the soil if it’s dry, sow the seeds and cover with a clear plastic or glass cloche to help keep the soil warm. Better still pick seeds that can be planted straight into the soil without protection.
  • Don’t have a wheelbarrow? Then use a sheet to move heavy objects across event ground. (Tip found on


PS – I leave tons of dandelions and daisies in my back garden for because they’re a great source of nectar early in the season.

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

5 thoughts on “Natural Weedkiller & Gardening Hacks

  1. Fantastic post and just in time. I’m not winning the battle of the weeds here. The driveway and two patios out the back were power cleaned, hand weeded and new sand brushed in 3 weeks ago. The dreaded weeds have found a way to pop up again. Was so proud that i didn’t resort to commercial weedkillers (thanks to your encouragement). I’m going to blast the feckers this weekend with the vinegar mix. Will let you know! Thanks E – as always a great post and blog.

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