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A Simple Trick for Eliminating Difficult Weeds

Boiling away weeds -

Although weeds can be frustrating, I try to remember that they are basically just lonely plants that have set up shop in the wrong place. They got there by wind or birds or other act of nature and they can’t help where they end up.

Sometimes I even welcome some of these surprise plants in my garden. But when that happens and they appear in the “right” place, their name magically changes to “volunteer plant” instead of “weed”. Ha!

However, most weeds are unwanted.

I can usually make quick work of unwanted weeds by simply yanking them out. They end up in the compost or I toss them to the chickens as a snack.

But sometimes, those weeds can get deep, down in the tiny nooks and crannies of my bricks or sidewalks.

Well..THOSE are even more frustrating.

They just don’t come out easily and the crack is too narrow to use a tool.

But I have a trick.

Boiling Weeds - organic weed control:

Boil Away Your Troubles:

You see, we have a brick walkway leading to our house. When weeds take root there, it is next to impossible to pull them out from between those cracks.

Naturally, I refuse to use Round-Up or other herbicide on them because that is not organic, I have food growing in the area and I don’t want to support the companies that make those poisons.

So instead, I boil those hard to reach weeds.

Yep. You read that right.

I just pour boiling water on the pesky weed and it kills it dead, instantly.

No herbicide. No residue.

Boiling weeds - Organic weed control:


Now here in Los Angeles we are in a drought. So I am not suggesting that anyone goes out and pours gallons and gallons of water all over the sidewalk.

But for a couple of weeds, a few cups of boiling water works beautifully. And if you can use recycled water, rather than fresh, drinkable water, all the better. (see below)

Before the drought, I would use my giant coffee urn to heat the water and then carry it to the front porch. There, I would refill a small pan and run around hitting the various weeds with the hot water.

But now because of the drought, I do it differently.

Gray Water:

I save my leftover cooking water from making pasta, etc. and I also use the leftover boiling water from canning.

Whenever I have stockpot of leftover water from any cooking project, I just reheat it and carry the whole pot outside to “water the weeds”.

If I don’t need it all for weeds, I save any leftover water, let it cool and then water my potted plants with it the next day.

That way, the water serves double duty.

I know it may sound like going to all this trouble is just a drop in the bucket (pun intended) to the huge drought issue we have here. But I feel better doing that rather than pouring the left over water down the drain.

For another tip on smothering weeds, read my recent post on using cardboard against weeds.

Do you have any other tips for getting rid of weeds organically?

Tell me in the comments! 

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.