Now that spring is finally here, the planting and gardening season has begun. Today we have many products to take care of most jobs required to maintain a garden. Chemical products can be quite effective, but can also be harmful to parts of the environment. Fertilizers and weed killers are the most commonly used in maintaining a garden.

Compost
Chemical fertilizers work great for feeding plant life, but can be harmful to animal life if it gets into water sources. Organic materials, such as leftovers from meals and lawn clippings are a wonderful substitute for chemicals. They provide enough nutrients for plants and are less harmful on the environment. You can start a compost now simply by collecting any or all organic materials you do not use. Place these materials in a pile or container and let them set to work of the heat. While the compost sets turn it over regularly until it becomes dark and smells of fresh earth. When it is completed dig out the compost and mix it into your garden’s soil.

Weed Killers
Today’s weed killer products are very effective, and can be expensive as well. Here are a few organic solutions to help save a little money and is much easier on the environment too.

1. Weed Pulling:
Some weeds can be tougher to pull than others, dandelions and other weeds of the taproot variety have a mighty grip when you go to pull them. Watering the area directly around the weed or pulling weeds after a rainstorm is a good way to pull taproot plants. Also you can inserting a knife blade, screwdriver, or dandelion puller alongside the deep root and pry it loose before pulling.

2. Boiling Water:
When you boil potatoes or pasta during the gardening season, you can re-purpose the boiling water. Pour the hot water directly onto the weeds that like to invade your backyard herb garden and patio.

3. Smothering:
Cover low-growing weeds like clover and crabgrass with several layers of newspaper, the lack of sunlight will exterminate them. Similarly, putting down layers of newspaper and then covering it with mulch is an effective way of keeping weeds from sprouting up in the first place.

4. Salt
Rock salt sprinkled on a gravel garden path keeps weeds from coming up in the spring (pool salt or regular table salt works as well, but it’s more expensive). Salt can also make a good weed barrier along the edge of a lawn and other places you can’t reach with a lawn mower. Apply it carefully, since it will erode concrete surfaces and can leave the ground barren for an extended period of time. Don’t use in gardens.

5. Vinegar
Douse the weeds with vinegar or a mixture of half water/half vinegar and they’ll be dead a few days later. You can use the leftover vinegar from a jar of pickles also. This is another good method for exterminating weeds with long taproots.

6. Fire
You don’t actually need to set the weeds on fire to kill them; quickly running a flame over them will cause them to wilt and die within days. You can use a propane torch  but be careful though not to torch any poison ivy, since coming in contact with its smoke can trigger an allergic reaction just like touching it.

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