Cool Gardening Ideas: Weeding out fact or fiction

By Betty Harris

Recently a local gardener learned a technique of a safe and beneficial means of killing weeds and with significantly less costs to her pocket book and the environment. This involves smothering the plant matter with layers of cardboard covered with mulch.  Depending on where this is done one can cover with leaf mulch (which one should wet to keep from blowing off) or wood chips.   This should be done during the growing season.  This method has the additional effect of being food for worms which also improves soil without the addition of lots of compost later.  When the grass or weeds are dead – about 3-4 months – one can plant without tilling by cutting a hole in the cardboard where you want to plant a bush or tree and planting, then put the mulch back around the new plant.

The above mentioned local gardener visited a local nursery and decided to discuss this technique with a  worker and asked if this should be done in the winter or in the growing season.  She was told that the cardboard technique would NOT work and that RoundUp should be used instead.  She proceeded to give the gardener instructions on how to use the product while telling her also that the CSU extension recommends the use of this herbicide.

Since the gardener in question is also a bee keeper she wasn’t about to use this herbicide to kill weeds or grass in her yard so she told the clerk that she wasn’t ready to do this yet and left without buying any product.   She is relatively new to CO so was not that familiar with the CSU extension but went online and found that CSU doesn’t recommend RoundUp but rather provides info on line about how to kill weeds and grass without using it.

The gardener’s mail the next day brought a mailer from Heifer International and looking through the pamphlet she discovered that they use the same method at their facilities and teach this to people they are trying to help raise food around the world.

Should the gardener take this information and go back to the nursery and educate the worker?  She thinks so.  Maybe she should also provide the information to the owner or manager of this place.

Meanwhile speaking of glyphosate, it has recently been reported that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were tested last month for levels of this chemical in their urine. Forty-eight MEPs from 13 different EU countries volunteered for the urine tests. Accordingly all showed this chemical in their urine. “On average, the MEPs had 1.7 micrograms/liter of glyphosate in their urine, 17 times higher than the European drinking water norm (0.1 microgram/litre). This means that everyone we tested was way above the limit for residues of pesticides in drinking water. “   These tests showed also which countries appear to have the higher concentrations in the urine of participants tested. Read more information here –

Since this kind of results were reported for humans our beekeeper – gardener is likely to be justified in worrying about the small bees in her hives. Her love of country, a part of the same globe, drives her to care for all its creatures including bees. She extends this love and concern to fellow humans too.

Want to learn more about the chemical free means of murdering your lawn and growing more food for humans, insects and animals?  Contact the author below to find the next scheduled free class.


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