Homemade Weed Killer|Space Gardening

Strong chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can end up polluting our drinking water, our groundwater, and surface water, so it’s important to consider the longer term effects of using them, and to instead make the choice to use a gentler herbicide, which won’t contribute to the larger issue of water contamination.

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The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds is to pull them up, dig out the roots, let them dry in the sun, and then add them to a compost or mulch pile. However, that method can also take quite a bit of time, so if you’re looking for a quicker way to effectively get rid of weeds, one of these homemade herbicides might be the way to go.

Drench with boiling Di-hydrogen monoxide:

This homemade herbicide is by far the simplest to prepare, and unless you happen to spill boiling water on yourself, is also the least harmful to both people and the environment. Simply bring a big pot of dihydrogen monoxide (that’s a fancy way of saying water) to boil on your stove, and then pour it over the leaves and stems of the weeds you wish to get rid of. Using boiling water is an effective method for killing weeds in places such as sidewalk or driveway cracks, or over a larger area that you’d like to replant after the weeds are gone, as it doesn’t leave any residue or have any harmful long-term effects. As with all of these homemade herbicides, it’s still important to only apply it to the plants you wish to get rid of, as they can easily also kill your flowers or vegetable plants.

Light ’em up with fire:

The application of direct heat to the foliage of weeds will cause the plants to immediately wilt, and repeated applications will kill any leaves that may resprout from the roots. A flame-weeder tool is available from home and garden stores, which allows you to apply flame and heat directly to the weeds without catching the whole neighborhood on fire. In fire-prone areas, weeding with flame needs to be done with some extra precautions, as dried weeds and grasses can easily catch fire and get away from you.

Douse with sodium chloride:

Sodium chloride, or common table salt, is an effective herbicide, and has some historical notoriety for possibly being used to lay waste to the soils of conquered peoples (salting the fields prevents plants from growing there). Because salt can have a detrimental effect in the soil, it’s important to only apply it directly to the leaves of the weeds, and to not soak the soil, especially in garden beds with other, more desirable, plants. Dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts hot water (it can be made stronger, up to 1 part salt to 3 parts water), add a small amount of liquid dish soap (to help it adhere to the leaf surfaces), and pour into a spray bottle. To apply, cover or tie back any nearby plants you don’t want to kill, then spray the leaves of the weeds with the solution. Be careful to not soak the soil, and keep this mixture away from cement sidewalks or driveways (it may discolor them). Multiple applications may be necessary.

Pickle ’em with vinegar:

OK, so it’s not exactly pickling, but by applying this common household item, white vinegar, to weed leaves, they’ll die off and make room in your yard for more desirable plants. The white vinegar sold in grocery stores is about 5% acetic acid, which is usually strong enough for most weeds, although a more industrial strength version (up to 20% acetic acid, which can be harmful to skin, eyes, or lungs) is available in many garden supply stores. The vinegar can be applied by spraying full strength onto the leaves of the weeds, being careful to minimize any overspray on garden plants and nearby soil. Repeated applications may be necessary, and the addition of a little liquid dish detergent may improve the effectiveness of this homemade herbicide.

Season them like chips:

Another common homemade herbicide recipe calls for combining table salt or rock salt with white vinegar (1 cup salt to 1 gallon vinegar), and then spraying this mixture on the foliage of weed plants. Adding liquid soap is said to help the efficacy of this weedkiller, as is the addition of certain oils, such as citrus or clove oil.

Harness up the 20 mule team:

Borax, which is sold as a laundry and cleaning product in many grocery stores, might not actually get transported by a 20 mule team anymore, but it could help lend a hand in the yard as an herbicide. Add 10 ounces of powdered borax to 2.5 gallons of water, mix thoroughly, and use a sprayer to coat the leaves of unwanted weeds in your yard. Keep overspray off of any plants you want to keep, avoid saturating the soil with the solution, and avoid contact with bare skin.

How to make Compost Tea|Space Gardening

 

Compost tea is an excellent fertilizer that helps increase the ecological diversity and vigor of soil. The tea provides nutrients directly to the plants because it is absorbed through their roots. It’s even been suggested that the flavor and nutrition of the food grown using tea is improved. The tea is also effective at preventing and treating disease.

The ideal compost to use comprises 25 percent high-nitrogen waste (fresh lawn clippings, alfalfa, peas), 45 percent green materials (kitchen scraps, old lawn clippings), and 30 percent woody matter (sawdust, newspaper, wood chips, old leaves).

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Once you’ve got the right material in your compost pile, here’s what you need to start brewing:

  • 2 5-gallon buckets
  • 1 gallon of mature compost
  • 1 aquarium pump and gang valve
  • 4 gallons of chlorine-free water
  • Aquarium hose, about 4 feet
  • 2 aquarium bubblers
  • 1 oz. unsulfured molasses (organic is best)
  • 1 pillow case, pair of stockings, or cheesecloth—something you’re okay with throwing out afterward, as it’ll be used for straining

The key ingredient in this entire process is oxygen, and that’s where the aeration equipment such as the pump comes in. Without a constant supply of oxygen, the microorganisms will die and produce a bad odor. Anaerobic (without oxygen) tea also contains alcohol, which is harmful to plants.

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How to Make Compost Tea

1. Attach one end of hose to the aquarium pump, and connect the other end to the gang valve.

2. Secure the gang valve to the side of the bucket, and attach a smaller section of hose to each port on the valve. The hose must be long enough to reach the bottom of the bucket. Attach the aeration bubblers to the end of the hoses.

3. Place the mature compost inside the bucket, making sure to cover up the ends of the hoses. Do not pack the compost; it must remain loose to help the aeration process.

4. Add water. If you are using water from a well or rain barrel you can simply add it to the bucket, but if it’s city water you need to get the chlorine out first, because it will kill the microorganisms. Evaporate the chlorine by pouring the water into the bucket before the compost and running the pump for about an hour.

5. Mix in the molasses. The sugar is a source of food and energy for the organisms living in the compost.

6. Turn on the pump and allow the mixture to brew for a maximum of three days. Stir it vigorously a few times per day, but make sure the hoses remain firmly attached to the valve and submerged. Brewing for longer than three days will exhaust the energy supplied by the molasses. (Add more molasses if you want to continue brewing.)

7. Use the pillowcase or old pair of stockings to strain the liquid into the second bucket. The leftover solids can be added to the soil or dumped back into your composting bin. This process should create about 2 gallons of compost tea. You can also place the compost inside the pillow case or stockings and hang it from the side of the bucket like a tea bag inside a mug—that way, when the tea is complete, you have less compost to strain out of the liquid.

8. Use the mixture within a day or two, because once the pump is off, the organisms inside the tea will consume the oxygen and begin to die. If it smells foul right away, don’t use it—something may have gone wrong during the process. It should smell sweet and earthy.

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How to Use Your Tea

Compost tea can be applied to the soil surrounding plants (about a quart per plant) using a spray bottle or watering can. Spray the tea as soon as you plant to control disease and reapply every two weeks throughout the growing season, ideally before 10 am and after 3 pm, because the intense sunshine of noontime hours will kill the microorganisms. Rain will also wash away the tea, so spray on clear days.

Protecting Plants|Space Gardening

Chicken wire, also known as poultry netting, is galvanized-steel fencing material originally used to secure poultry coops and enclosures. When you need an inexpensive material to protect your vegetables or ornamental trees in the garden, chicken wire can play an important role in several plant-protection projects. It is easy to work with and safe around children if you bend back the cut ends of fencing to prevent scratches from the sharp wire. Here are some ideas on how to use wires for plant protection:

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1. Cages: Hungry animals such as deer will eat practically any plant in sight, but the tender foliage of young trees and shrubs is like a delicacy. Without protecting new plants, deer might eat all the leaves, strip away the bark and kill the plants. A chicken wire cage installed around the plant blocks animals’ access, giving young plants a fighting chance at survival. The thin, flexible wire can be trampled easily if you build a free-standing cage, so drive a few stakes spaced evenly around the plant. The stakes form a more rigid frame to support the chicken wire, which you can attach to the stakes using wire fence ties, plastic zip ties or wood staples.

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2. Fencing: An entire flower bed or garden might require a fence made from stakes and chicken wire to protect the plants, particularly if you have trouble with burrowing animals, such as rabbits and groundhogs. The fence should measure about 36 inches tall, but use 1-inch mesh chicken wire that measures about 18 inches longer so you can bury a portion of the fencing to prevent the animals from burrowing under the fence. For the best defense against burrowing animals, dig a 12-inch-wide, 6-inch-deep trench so you can bury 6 inches of the fence vertically and bend the bottom of the fencing horizontally so persistent animals can’t burrow under the fence.

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3. Crop Cover: Whether you grow in raised beds or directly in the soil, young plants can benefit from a chicken wire crop cover to keep birds and other animals away and protect the plants from foot traffic. If you have a raised bed with sides that are taller than the plants, you can simply stretch the chicken wire across the plants and staple it to the sides of the raised bed. As an alternative, you can assemble a box frame from thin pieces of wood and staple chicken wire to the frame. When individual plants or a bed require protection, simply place the box over the plants and remove it when plants reach 6 to 12 inches tall.

 

Books for Beginners|Space Gardening

Many of us have the desire to make our own garden. It is very much fun to collect and cook vegetables from the garden yard. But sometime it becomes difficult to grow veges for beginners who does not know much about gardening. The production of vegetables remains insufficient and many problem  arises. These problems require attention so that ornamental garden plants, fruit and vegetable plants are not damaged, made unsightly or reduced in growth or yield, and nuisance pests like ants need to be controlled in the home .

  • Weeds compete for water, space and nutrients within lawns and borders.
  • Moss can submerge lawn grasses.
  • Plants can be destroyed by insects and diseases.
  • Nuisance pests like mice and ants can infest the home

Here I am sharing some beginners guide book on gardening for you to grow your own vegetable garden with huge production.

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1.Garden Manual

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2. Beginners Herb Garden

Composting For Plant|Space Gardening

Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make and good for the environment. It is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming.

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Composting Benefits:

Soil conditioner: With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

Recycles kitchen and yard waste: Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.

Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil:
Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.

Good for the environment: Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Reduces landfill waste: Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.

How to compost:

1. Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.

2. Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.

3. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.

4. Add manure, green manure ( clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
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5. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.

6. Cover with anything you have – wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.

7. Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material, like straw.

Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.