I am not fond of yard work. Or at least I haven’t been in the past. It had been about 10 years since I pulled a weed from any yard of any home we have lived in since being married. We have always had yard help because it’s not my thing. I didn’t enjoy it. Honestly, I would rather be inside doing laundry or housework. Until recently. The week before Easter I stopped our lawn guy while we were passing one another on my street. I asked him about having our mulch and weeds taken care of before Easter. You see, I host an annual Easter Egg hunt and this year it was scheduled on Saturday, the day before Easter. I had assumed it would be done before the Holiday weekend. I was wrong. It was my own fault. I should have asked weeks prior, rather than the week of Easter.
A couple days passed after I spoke to our lawn guy and then one night while we were in the backyard I took a good look around. Something I usually don’t do, because my lawn company does a good job and I rarely notice any problems. This time however, I realized the mulch was depleted and weeds had sprouted up everywhere since it had just recently warmed up. Our yard looked bad. It was our own fault since we hire our lawn care company to do mulch, weeding, and flowers À la cart. We failed to hire them prior to Easter. Now I had two choices, leave the yard the way it was and pretend my guests wouldn’t notice or I could do the work myself.
I surprised myself and decided we should do it ourselves. Thank goodness for a husband who is willing and able to help when I decide to take on such a project last minute. We ended up weeding all the flower beds, spreading 80 bags of mulch, and planted about $250 of fresh seasonal flowers over the course of three days. It was a lot of work. However , I enjoyed a great deal of it! I was shocked! It also helped that I listened to a good book on Audible while I worked alone. We did work as a family for at least 10 hours on the yard for those few days. The kids helped a lot! I was proud of how hard they worked.
I am not saying that I will be taking over my own lawn care, but I do feel much more confident in my ability to care for my yard and make it look beautiful. Now, when I get compliments on the yard, I can say “thank you” instead of “I can’t take any credit because I didn’t do any of it”.
I didn’t take before photos, because I never imagined I would be blogging about doing yard work. However, I did take some photos the evening after we finished planting the flowers and and spreading the mulch.
What I have realized in this process is that I now notice how the yard looks! This included the weeds and flaws! I don’t want my work to have been done for an Easter Egg hunt alone. I worked hard so I want it to continue looking beautiful. I now check for weeds every time I am outside. I have become that neighbor that is always outside pulling weeds at random hours like 6am or 8pm, when I have time to get to it and the kids aren’t needing me. Weeds are not fun. They have been thriving in our flower beds with all of the recent rain. We didn’t have our lawn company use weed killer, since they usually do that when they mulch and plant the seasonal flowers. Well, we did that work. That now means I have to take care of the weeds. We could have called our lawn guy and had him do it after the fact, but I thought about Round Up and the chemicals used and decided to take a different route and handle it myself.
My Dad had told me about a more natural weed killer that is homemade. He said he uses it in his yard and it works great! Now was the time to use that recipe and make my own weed killer. I am happy to report that it works amazingly well!!! If it just worked ok I wouldn’t be sharing it. However, this week killer works great, is much safer on the environment (and people), and is cheap compared to the cost of traditional weed killers.
Here is the simple recipe:
1 gallon of white vinegar
1 cup of salt or 1 cup of Borax
1 tablespoon of Dawn soap
I opted for the Borax. I used the Borax because it has longer lasting effects to prevent anything from growing in soil where it has been sprayed. Yet it is considered to be a safe product, since it’s active ingredient is a naturally occurring crystal substance called sodium borate.
Use caution when utilizing this spray. It doesn’t know the difference between a weed and a flower. You should only spray it on weeds and avoid getting close to plants and grass you don’t want to kill. I mostly used the stream feature on my sprayer, so that I sprayed exactly where I wanted and nowhere else.
Use the spray when it is sunny outside. It is activated by the sunshine and works best in sunny conditions.
You can buy a sprayer at any home and garden store. I picked mine up at Walmart for $10.
It held a full gallon and the additional ingredients with plenty of room to spare. It works by simple hand pump action. I had my kids do the pumping. We realized it needs less pumping than we thought. I had to use the release valve to let out some of the pressure because they pumped too many times. One gallon covered a lot of square feet. I was thinking I would need to refill during my first application to our yard, but I was actually able to use this one gallon for 2 applications on our half acre, a week apart. If I missed them the first round, by golly I got them the second time! It kills the weeds all the way to their roots and they pull out easily. I sprayed one day and waited 24 hours to pull them. That way the sun was able to do its job and really kill the weeds making it easy to pull all the dead weeds.
I took photos of the weeds after they had been sprayed and left for the sun to do it’s work over a 24 hour period. You can clearly see the weeds have turned brown and shriveled. Which made the pulling very easy.
Below you can see my before and after photos. I am so happy this homemade and more natural weed killer works. No more Round Up at this house!