Simply put, weeds are the bane of my existence. They surround our building -- peeking up from cracks in the concrete, mocking me as they brazenly poke their haughty heads through the weed-proof layer beneath the mulch. I hate weeds!
Luckily for me, living in a highly-urbanized downtown area doesn't leave much space for weeds to grow, which keeps my weed stressing at a tolerable level. I can't imagine how crazy I'd be if I had a real yard, with real grass, and lots and lots of real weeds. Suffice it to say, weeds and I don't get along, and I'm always on the look out for new, ingenious ways to kill them.
The most obvious way to kill weeds is to buy some name-brand chemicals from your local hardware store, and spray those suckers till they shrivel up and die. Over the years, however, there have been allegations made that certain weed killers are harmful to the environment (beyond the weeds) and wildlife. So what's the best way to get rid of weeds using safer, less expensive ingredients? The three most common DIY weed killers are:
Vinegar- Supposedly the high acidity kills weeds. It's cheap, fairly benign to the environment, but smells like... well, vinegar.
Bleach- Bleach isn't much better for the environment than store-bough weed killer, but I heard if used in small amounts, it will kill weeds and dissipate rather quickly.
Salt- Ever heard the saying, "salting the earth." Apparently salt makes the ground inhabitable to weeds, or any other plant for that matter.
So, how well did these DIY solutions stand up to the name-brand weed killer? As you can see in the video, none of them were quite as effective as the expensive weed killer I bought from the store (although the bleach came close). The biggest problem with simple, DIY weed killers is that they're not systemic -- they only kill what they touch, which leaves the weed wounded, but far from dead. A good weed killer gets inside the weed, destroying the root system and devouring the cells like a virus from a cool sci-fi movie.
Still, the most environmentally-friendly AND cost-effective way I've found to remove weeds is by simply using a little elbow grease and pulling those suckers out by hand (roots and all). Sure it takes a lot longer, and isn't nearly as easy as spraying them with dangerous chemicals, but it gets the job done while having the least impact on your surrounding environment, and in the end, that's all that matters.
NOTE: No matter how tempting it may seem, do not mix the bleach and vinegar together to make a super weed killer like this person did. The combination will create toxic chloride gas, which is not a good thing.