I keep getting asked for a glyphosate alternative. Below I will list four alternatives including a vinegar herbicide recipe, however the true alternative involves a much bigger transformation than a simple change of product.
Glyphosate is used widely in gardening and agriculture. It has been found in almost all tested samples of rainwater, breast milk and honey and our aquifers are full of it. We are literally drowning in this poison.
I am not going to bore you with how exactly it is killing us all slowly, research on that is very simple if you want to know, but I will ask you to take a walk with me here.
Why are we using this poison?
In agriculture, we are using it to prop up an insane practice of growing vast monoculture deserts of indigestible food, food that is making us sick, depressed and obese as a result of eating the genetically modified crops, eating the animals fed on these crops and eating the residual glyphosate and the surfactants in the ‘fresh’ vegetables and grains drenched regularly with it throughout their lifespan. These practices are killing the earth. That includes us.
In gardening, we are using glyphosate to control the land. To make it stay neat, immobile and inanimate. Land and gardens are not still life paintings for us to sculpt and control. We can’t get away with that anymore. Unless we learn to live in harmony with the land we live on, we are basically screwed.
Stop forcing the land to be something it doesn’t want to be. You are your lands guardian. If you treated a child this way, told it to dress in the clothes you decide on, told it to speak only when spoken to, look pretty and good when the neighbours visit, how could you call that a loving or healthy relationship? The way we treat land can at best be called a missed opportunity. By allowing the ‘Child’ to become what it wants to become, to support the land to express the truth of what it wants to be, we are supporting a harmonious balance to arrive that has no place for glyphosate!!!
Most land we live on wants to become woodland. Even in a small space you can grow at least one tree and layer the plants underneath this tree in the way a forest would naturally develop. Canopy, sub-canopy, shrub, herbaceous, ground cover, root layer, climber. It is not that difficult. A living ecosystem requires no control. It is self – regulating.
Forest gardening and permaculture offer a gentle solution for the future of how we work with the land and produce our food. if we are lucky enough to have a future. Our political ‘leaders’ are not willing or able to protect us, or the land they were elected to safeguard. Instead they are only willing to protect big corporate interests and their own well – lined pockets.
The repetitive argument that trees block light in a garden holds no ground with me. A garden that is sunny yet flat and controlled is not what I would call a bright space.
Light comes in more forms than one.
Four relatively fast herbicide alternatives.
A. The vinegar method.
*5 litres 10% acidity white vinegar made from grain alcohol. Better than any herbicide and much cheaper. If you can’t get it, just buy big wholesale containers of simple household white distilled vinegar (5% strength), which needs three, undiluted applications (see below). *You must wear gloves & other covering as needed as any vinegar over 9% can burn your skin and eyes.
*1 tablespoon of Castille soap.
*1 cup of Salt
*Back-pack sprayer or spray bottle.
This kills any plants you spray and does not poison the land or upset the balance. The difference between vinegar and chemical herbicides is that with vinegar you need to apply the above recipe three times in 24 hours. The liquid soap acts as a surfactant and makes the vinegar stick to the leaves.
Spray the plants on a dry sunny day during the growing seasons.
Soak the plant and re spray three times in twenty-four hours. Try it. It works. As simple as that. And no soil microlife, butterfly, bee, bird deaths, autism or cancer as a side effect (to name a few).
B. The colloquial Irish “Get up off your arse” method
(If you are able-bodied and willing).
Gardening gloves perhaps.
Knee pads / old cushion
Hand fork or long handled hoe.
Do you ever consider hand weeding? It’s amazing to me that most people seem to have forgotten that this is an option for smaller areas! After it rains it is much easier to remove plants from the soil as the roots give way easier. Quite relaxing in fact.
C. Sheet mulching.
Cover the “weed” areas with heavy cardboard, heavy black plastic or something similar to block light. Over time the weeds will die. (May take a few years for heavy invaders like Japanese knot weed.)
D. Fill in the gaps.
Nature hates bare soil. If we cut our skin, a scab forms over it to heal the wound. Similarly, weeds are natures ‘scab’. If we start encouraging the soil to be completely covered in, fill in the gaps intelligently and sensitively with plants, a community of plants will form that support and nourish each other, bringing the natural predators back into the system and removing the need for herbicides completely. In the absence of plants, mulch everything heavily with multiple textures such as garden prunings, grass mowing clippings, organic straw etc. A good deep mulch protects and nourishes the soil, represses weed growth and even causes trees to grow literally twice as fast in the first ten years.
I cant see glyphosate claiming to have that effect can you?