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what to do with weeds

 
Posts: 14
Location: Texas hilll country
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I have a neighbor i've been gardening with for a few seasons. every time she sees a weed she wants to break out the weedkiller and douse them. So i got a picture of her concern. It's a thistle about 6 inches across. I have the same weed in my yard about 3 feet across. i cut mine before they go to seed. chop them into a bucket and ferment them for a week. Then dump them in my compost to work there for a month. She likes it when i bring my compost to her garden. Says it's the best in the neighborhood. It has really improved her poor soil.

I get excited when giant thistles show up in my yard. Other people though get upset and resort to poison. In my picture of my 'big weed' turns out the deer got to it before i could get it into the ferment bucket. I took the picture anyways.

I'm really wondering what everyone else does with their weeds?
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Posts: 135
Location: KY
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About 5 years ago I just started letting the weeds takeover any area I wasn't actively involved in landscaping/planting/gardening/keeping a grass patch mowed.  I went from mowing, trimming and hand weeding my entire yard every week for more than 3/4 of the year, to just periodic spotty upkeep.

The best thing I found was to just pile on the mulch (wood chips is my fav, but straw or the weeds themselves make good mulch too if you give them enough time and have enough to chop/drop) everywhere to cover up weedy areas if they get out of hand.

It got a little stressful for me to deal with neighbors/family members not approving aesthetically of my style, so I moved to a rural area to begin doing it my own way. The main thing I noticed was the "life" that letting the weeds grow brought to the yard...increase in EVERYTHING especially birds. Nothing better than seeing a Goldfinch land sideways on, and bend over a "weed" stalk you let grow to get some seeds...where otherwise might be a poison patch :)

 
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R Draft said, "She likes it when i bring my compost to her garden. Says it's the best in the neighborhood. It has really improved her poor soil.



I feel you have a great idea.  Have you explained to your neighbor about making her own compost tea so it will be easier for her to get the benefits of those weeds?

I wish my deer like thistle as I have both sow thistle and bull thistle.  They do have pretty flowers.
 
pollinator
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From what I've learned when talking to others, one of the biggest reasons people spray is that it's less work than removing the weeds by hand. But why would you need to remove them by hand?

The solution that I like to suggest is something like this, combined with a normal compost pile or an anaerobic barrel. One of our neighbors often runs around their yard with their weeder and tries to collect as many as they can - it always brings a smile to my face to see that instead of the hazmat suit crew!
 
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There's a section of our property around the house that we mow. If there's a weed there, it gets mowed. If it's in a garden bed, it probably gets pulled. If it's a large thistle, I set a flag-stone on it for a month and then it's gone. If it's on a trail in the woods, it gets mowed or hand-snipped. In all those places, if it's something I know is desirable, it might get left alone if it's easy to do and not harming anything else. On most of the property, whatever can grow, may.
 
R Draft
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Location: Texas hilll country
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Anne Miller...
The neighbor has started at least gathering all the leaves from the yard and put them in large bins around the garden.
She doesn't have time to fuss with much extra garden processes. That's why i've started helping out there.
I make large (about a cubic yard) compost piles . I have a process that works pretty well now.
My next challenge there is to figure out a way for all those leaves to break down in time for spring spreading and planting.
We have such a short winter here. Just a few weeks. I recently read about how to quickly make soil amendments.
I just have to put the puzzle pieces together and make it work.
... also i think i read that thistles are bio accumulators pulling nutrients up and making them available in their 'remains'.
 
Anne Miller
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Maybe recommending corn gluten might help get her away from the bad stuff:

https://permies.com/t/173681/Corn-Gluten-Pre-Emergent-Herbicide#1367070
 
pollinator
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Vinegar is also a great spot weed killer.
Its virtually free to make, a handful of raisins or an old piece of fruit with 1/2 gallon of water ,  about a month on top of fridge....
 
Anne Miller
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Ralph Sluder wrote:Vinegar is also a great spot weed killer.
Its virtually free to make, a handful of raisins or an old piece of fruit with 1/2 gallon of water ,  about a month on top of fridge....



I also have heard that pickling vinegar will kill weeds.  

I use a lot of vinegar in the garden and so far I have not killed any plants.

I presently used a solution of vinegar and salt on baby thistle without any success.

Is homemade vinegar stronger or strong enough?  
 
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Location: Southwestern NM
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Boiling water worked best for me, when I was trying to kill them. But there is only a small area in the front that I try to keep weed free, now, and I'm letting most of the yard run wild,  in a managed sort of way.  It looks awful,  but I'm growing my own weed mulch, as it's hard to get enough mulch here,  otherwise.  (I envy all of you who have access to wood chips!)  My alternative is a lot of bare soil,  and if I go that route, this little patch of mine will forever be rock and dirt, but no soil.  So the weeds have their place, for sure.  And since my beneficial insects need a safe place to call home,  the weeds stay.  

A lot of my weeds are grasses, and I'm always back and forth on whether I should let them come or try to get rid of them.  At this point, I'm leaving them and figuring other things will eventually shade them out.  Weeds are part of the whole scheme of succession,  right? I need them if I'm going to move forward. I am definitely going to try making some of that weed tea, though!

Oh, and some of the weeds are really useful! My favorites are mullein and purslane.  Love em!
 
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Cole Tyler wrote:About 5 years ago I just started letting the weeds takeover any area I wasn't actively involved in landscaping/planting/gardening/keeping a grass patch mowed.  I went from mowing, trimming and hand weeding my entire yard every week for more than 3/4 of the year, to just periodic spotty upkeep.

The best thing I found was to just pile on the mulch (wood chips is my fav, but straw or the weeds themselves make good mulch too if you give them enough time and have enough to chop/drop) everywhere to cover up weedy areas if they get out of hand.

It got a little stressful for me to deal with neighbors/family members not approving aesthetically of my style, so I moved to a rural area to begin doing it my own way. The main thing I noticed was the "life" that letting the weeds grow brought to the yard...increase in EVERYTHING especially birds. Nothing better than seeing a Goldfinch land sideways on, and bend over a "weed" stalk you let grow to get some seeds...where otherwise might be a poison patch :)



I love this post so much. I keep the same philosophy, mostly.  In the last 2 years, however, poison hemlock has crept into our beautiful field. Last year we didn't mow at all, but being that we have a creek in that field that runs out to the River, I feel like it's my duty to take care of it. I'm still not sure what to do with it, because I refuse to use poison, it's in rocky and seedy terrain around the creek and it's too much to hand cut.
 
Anne Miller
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[heather said, " I'm still not sure what to do with it, because I refuse to use poison, it's in rocky and seedy terrain around the creek and it's too much to hand cut.

Have you considered using the corn gluten?
 
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Anne Miller wrote:Is homemade vinegar stronger or strong enough?  


No, you need a higher concentration.

Another option would be a flame weeder. I know the OP's question seemed more about how to use weeds than to get rid of them, but in response to the people who are dealing with lots of small weeds, such as a market garden, or want a non toxic (at least the results, I'm sure there was some when making everything) option, try fire. There are different styles, but pretty much you hook it up to a propane tank and use the flame to heat the cells enough that they burst. You don't actually need to literally burn it. This is a very effective method, though I would not suggest it in a dry climate. It works great to clear a row just before seeding or just before the seeds should germinate. It can also work great for the spot weeding in a field, yard, or in and around the driveway.
 
Anne Miller
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Thank you, Matt, that was what I was thinking.

Flame throwers do work well but sometimes can or might be an expensive option.  I am not sure how a 20 lb bottle of propane is compared to something like corn gluten.  Do you know?

Our hunters recently used a flame thrower on just the bur clover around their RV and this used a whole bottle of propane.
 
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