PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval carries a lot of weight for people.
Recently, the magazine released a list of 13 homemade weed killers that work.
KDKA-TV’s Rick Dayton went to a local expert and asked him for his thoughts on the list and then asked him to add a few of his own.
“Some gardeners that I talk to actually find weed pulling therapeutic. I am not one of those. I can’t stand pulling weeds,” Tribune-Review Home & Garden Editor Doug Oster said.
But, Oster said you don’t have to break your back to keep the weeds away.
“I am more about smothering them using mulches to cover them up, and one of the tricks is having a lot of mulch on hand. So you do your mulching at first and then in two or three weeks, you are going to have a spot that something is going to pop up – just throw some mulch over that,” he said.
Oster likes straw for a variety of reasons.
“It is a great mulch, not only is it a weed preventer, but it also will keep the soil evenly moist which is what all plants like,” he said.
One old fashioned and rather inexpensive tool also does the trick.
“Grandpa’s old half-moon edger — that’s what I use. Just cutting that edge in there, grass can’t jump into the bed. Grass roots won’t grow into air and so you are making an edge just by that and it looks great,” he said.
Other suggestions to kill unwanted garden visitors include, boiling water, salt and vinegar.
“That will kill anything. The thing is when you pour vinegar on some area, yes you are killing the weeds but you can’t grow anything else there. The same is true with salt, especially,” Oster said.
Next suggestion: If you can’t beat them, eat them.
“There’s a bunch of weeds out there that are edible. I make a garlic mustard pesto for people and garlic mustard is an invasive weed you see everywhere and it’s actually edible,” Oster said.
There’s an old saying among gardeners that weeds are just misplaced flowers. For example, a dandelion. A lot of people are using them on salads. It is a little bit bitter, but it really is something that you can eat.
“I know a guy who grows a lot of greens for a lot of the fancy restaurants in Pittsburgh, and 30 percent of the mix is dandelion,” Oster said.
We’ve saved the best for last and Oster swears by it.
“Putting seven to 10 layers of newspaper down over some compost, some good soil, wetting it down to keep it in place and then putting mulch on top of that,” Oster said.
It will last all year and leave nothing behind. It is safe as can be as long as you use the right section of the paper.
“It will just decompose into the soil over the year. The only thing we don’t use are the shiny inserts from Sunday’s paper. That could have some heavy metals in it,” he said.