ORGANIC WEED CONTROL FOR DOG FRIENDLY YARDS
Weeds can easily overtake an outdoor space, turning any landscape from beautiful to horrific in a single growing season. Weed-infested flower beds and gardens are an eyesore, make you unpopular with your neighbors, and create optimum habitats for fleas and other pests. Do what’s right for the health of your pet and the environment, by practicing organic weed control. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to toxic outdoor chemicals.
By far the most important step is early weed prevention. Start by catching problem spots early and remove weeds before they bloom. When you let weeds flower and produce seed, you compromise weed control for the rest of the year.
Take these steps to prevent weed growth in your garden:
1. Avoid large areas of exposed soil – Try to cover 100 percent of your backyard space with grass, landscape plants, mulch, and hardscapes. By removing the areas where opportunistic weeds can put down roots, you lessen the chances for them to get established.
2. Use only reliable soil sources – Soil from sources other than landscape suppliers may be riddled with weed seeds that set a lawn and garden up for years’ worth of tough and laborious maintenance.
3. Kill roots before composting – Never throw weeds directly into your compost heap after you’ve pulled them. Allow them to dry in the sun first, thereby killing roots that could redevelop into weeds after you’ve spread the compost the following year.
4. Mulch your beds – Putting down mulch after weeds have been pulled helps smother future weeds, preventing them from germinating. It also preserves soil moisture by defusing sunlight and keeping the ground cooler around your plants. Another great benefit: it adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Note: Never use cocoa mulch or coconut husk mulch as they can be harmful to your pet. They can both be deadly if consumed by your dog.
Vinegar is a great organic homemade weed killer – both the white and cider vinegar work well. The acetic acid in the vinegar works to kill the leaves on the plant. (best when used in direct sun on a hot day)
Recipe for Homemade Weed Killer: Mix 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup table salt, and 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid together and spray on weeds. To do so, remove approximately 2 cups of vinegar from the jug, pour in the salt and dishwashing liquid, then return the 2 cups of vinegar to the jug. Close the lid and shake to mix. Transfer to a spray bottle (after shaking to mix the ingredients) as needed. Be careful when applying, it will kill whatever plant you spray it on!
Benefits of Organic Weed Control
Remember, no yard controlled naturally can boast a 100 percent weed and pest-free zone. If your goal is getting green with your yard and making room to live in safety and harmony with your dog, you need to lighten up a bit and learn to tolerate a less than perfect lawn, flower garden or vegetables … it took me awhile, but I’m glad I did!
Dandelions are more than a pesky weed in your lawn. You can actually eat dandelions that grow wild in your yard! But remember, avoid any dandelions that have been sprayed with fertilizer or any other toxic sprays. Also, don’t pick dandelions for eating from an area used by pets for their “bathroom”.
Consuming dandelion is generally very safe, although some people may be allergic to the plant, and patients with gall-bladder conditions and gallstones should talk to a doctor before ingesting it. For the vast majority of people, dandelions are a highly nutritious and beneficial addition to the diet.
Just like other dark leafy greens, dandelions are rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin A. Simply pick young greens (older ones are more bitter) and add them to a tossed salad. While you can make a salad out of just the dandelion greens, it tends to be too bitter for many people, especially kids.
Cooking dandelions eliminates some of the bitterness. First boil the greens for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a pan with hot olive oil and garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes. Eat as is or add to other dishes like pasta or scrambled eggs.
Did You Know ... Dandelion is probably one of the most common and recognizable varieties of edible weeds. It's also very versatile. The yellow petals from the dandelion flower and the leaves can be eaten in salad, and the leaves can also be cooked and eaten like spinach.