Wilt Weeds, Wilt
A DIY Update
Wilt Weeds,Wilt! A DIY Update.
This spring we shared a recipe for a weed-killing alternative to using harmful synthetic chemicals on driveways, patios, and walkways. This recipe is meant for use on spaces you don't intend to plant:
1 gallon of horticultural or industrial strength vinegar (20-30% concentration)
1 cup of Epsom salts (purchase at your local garden center for a good price!)
Optional: 1 tsp natural soap
Apply with a sprayer or watering can. Applying early on a hot day will help with the effectiveness. Remember this is only for use in spaces where you don't intend to grow any plants or grass as essentially you are salting the earth. Wear gloves! Vinegar can burn your skin at higher concentrations.
Have a large space to conquer? Lay a tarp down. Not only will it block sun but will deprive weeds of water as well for quick elimination.
Here are our results on this easy, DIY mix, sans soap. Take a look at the amazing before and after photos just a few hours after application – not bad! Repeated use on an area will eventually acidify the soil and increase its effectiveness.
This weed-killing mixture did leave a little discoloration to our driveway gravel so patch testing is recommended, especially before using on sensitive paving or your expensive pool patio.
Give it a try – we would love to see your results! Share with us by tagging your results on Instagram or sharing to our Facebook @perfectearthproject
The Buzz on Biochar
The Buzz on Biochar
Biomass charcoal (biochar) has become a soil health buzz word, but what is it exactly? Biochar is a carbon-rich solid material left over when organic matter (like wood, dry leaves or grasses) are burned at an extremely high temperature in the absence of oxygen – a process called pyrolysis.
For use in gardens and landscapes, biochar should be added and mixed with your compost or potting soil before it is applied. The porous surface of biochar provides habitat for beneficial microbes that thrive in compost, protecting them from predation and drying while providing carbon for their energy needs. It also helps to retain soil moisture, minerals and nutrients for plant health and adds structure to sandy soils.
One great feature of biochar is that it remains in soil for hundreds and potentially thousands of years. Go ahead and add some biochar to your compost and soil mixes – it even helps sequester atmospheric carbon, PRFCT all around!
Loving that Summer Lobster?
Lobster is a summer time staple, especially along coastal areas but did you know that lobster populations have been declining in recent years?
Lobsters are arthropods, like spiders and all insects. Because of these biological similarities, lobsters, like insects, are susceptible to pesticides.
Almost anything that will kill an insect will kill a lobster. Laboratory testing has shown that lobsters are particularly sensitive to insecticides, even minuscule amounts.
While this is not the only factor in the decline of lobsters and other aquatic species, scientists, fishermen and the seafood industry have all voiced concern about the potential link between pesticides and the loss of a once healthy industry. Just another good reason to spray yourself, not your landscape.
Glow on, Flashy Friends
July Comet! Marsh Imp! Twilight Bush Baby! There are at least 170 different species of fireflies in the US, and they have great names.
Did you know that different species of fireflies have their own flash patterns?
Did you know that firefly larvae live in the ground and are voracious predators to slugs, snails and aphids – providing natural pest control.
Remember poking holes in jar lids and hunting for fireflies in a field swarming with them? Since 2010, scientists have been observing a steady decline of firefly populations and believe it is cased by habitat loss, light pollution from cities and vehicles, and of course, pesticide use.
How to help our flashy friends, and restore the population on your property? Provide habitat, like leave mulch, and a water source, like a bird bath. Turn your unnecessary lights off at night, and kick the toxic pesticide habit. Don't Spray.
A Brief History of the American Lawn
The word lawn comes from the Old English for an “open space." Both European and American aristocracy had estates with lawns, but working class people used their land to grow food.
A big change came for the American “lawnscape” in the 1950s in response to the trauma of WWII. In new, orderly housing developments such as Levittown, the first neighborhood lawn standards were adopted. Military uniformity prevailed with ready access to cheap, war-surplus chemicals that had been rebranded as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. Now a $60 billion per year industry, lawn grass is the cheapest landscape to plant and the most expensive to maintain.
In order to thrive, American lawns consume 20 trillion gallons of water, 90 million pounds of fertilizer, 78 million pounds of pesticides and 600 million gallons of fossil fuels per year. We now know so much more about how dangerous and unnecessary these chemicals are, and how many resources are drained maintaining on our yards.
The next generation of lawns will be less toxic and more environmentally friendly: smaller (think area rug instead of wall-to-wall), more biodiverse and chemical free.