In addition to our awesome backyard, we also have a really big front yard. We started getting rid of some of the grass last summer, putting down weed blocking fabric and using a wheelbarrow to spread out existing areas of gravel (happily, the former owners had ordered more than they needed when they put in gravel, and it was 18 inches deep in some areas). This year, we planted a bunch of tiny trees out front, and we’re babying them along right now. Hopefully one day we’ll just have a little forest out there, which will provide shade, wind protection, and minimize the amount of watering and mowing that needs to be done.
There is a vast amount of gravel in front of our house (don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have the gravel than grass, since it doesn’t need to be watered or mowed). It doesn’t seem as vast until you start trying to pull all the weeds out of it. Over the years, dust has blown into the gravel and made it a great spot for weeds to sprout, and the former owners were pretty much oblivious to them. We have been pulling weeds all summer out there (our son knows that whenever we go out to get them mail, we have to pull 20 weeds first, and he says “weeds, first” whenever we go out front). I spent two hours doing nothing but weeding a couple days ago, and I made it through about 1/10 of the gravel.
So I went searching for another solution. I refuse to buy any sort of commercial herbicide – our property is strictly organic and staying that way. But I found several articles about vinegar working as an herbicide. I use vinegar to clean our whole house, so I buy it in gallon jugs at Costco and always have several on hand. It’s inexpensive, but most importantly, I don’t have to worry about harmful effects – to us or the environment – from using it. Our son went out with me to help me spray it, which definitely wouldn’t have been possible if we’d been using something created in a lab at Monsanto.
We started with a small patch to see how well it would work. That was yesterday morning, and when I checked this morning, all the weeds in that area are completely dead. The weather here has been really hot (nearly 100), sunny, and dry, which is supposed to be the best weather for using vinegar to kill weeds. Obviously I’m very happy with the results, and will be spraying all the gravel with vinegar over the next few days. I’ll pull out the bigger weeds that are easy to grab, and spray the small ones. Hopefully my vinegar herbicide will continue to be successful!