A garden without chemicals
There weren't any on our land when we bought it. It had been meticulously sprayed with a cocktail of herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers that banished everything but pasture grass for the sheep that were grazing on it, and I have to say it looked great.
Never having managed anything larger than a postage-stamp sized courtyard in the city, we were inclined towards a more natural approach to living on the land and were determined to not use 'nasty' chemicals in our home or in our garden.
We really didn't notice the first few weeds that came to live here as the pasture appeared to be in such good condition. But as soon as we started to disturb the soil to plant our native gardens it was like being overrun by a weed tsunami. Almost every day we saw a weed we had never seen before, cheekily claiming its place in our garden.
For almost 20 years, on hands and knees we laboriously hand pulled the weeds in the hope of getting every part of its root so that it didn't return. But no matter how careful we were, they came back - and brought their friends with them!
Going on holiday was a nightmare for us. As soon as we turned our backs they invaded every vacant space and we would come home to knee-high weeds.
But we think we've found a great solution and I'm so excited I want to share it! A friend, who grows olives and makes award-winning olive oil. recently posted on Facebook a recipe for a simple non-toxic weedkiller, which I immediately made and ... I can'tbelieve it ... it's brilliant! We have tried this recipe on all types of weed, from capeweed and thistles to small weeds whose roots travel long distances underground, and it works.
Some weeds start to die before your very eyes, while others seem to take from 24-48 hours to start looking sick. And, to our very best knowledge, there are no unintended consequences to the soil, the soil's inhabitants or any other living thing.
So, here's the recipe.
4 litres cheap white vinegar
2 cups magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salt)
1/4 cup dishwashing detergent
That's it. It's so easy, so inexpensive and so effective and non-toxic I don't know why we didn't know about it before. Forget RoundUp ... this recipe is the gardener's new best friend.