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July 03, 2007



Good post, Tracy.

At Henbogle, we are 95% organic in the garden. With us, the exceptions are primarily around treating invasive non natives like Japanese Knotweed and Creeping purple bellflower and even then I feel the guilt!

The knotweed is a huge problem in Maine, where it is choking out vernal pools and small streams. It is really difficult to be rid of it, we've been working on it for 5 years now, finally resorting to Roundup last year with much better success.

I also very occasionally use chemical fertilizers, such as yesterday when I treated my new blueberry bushes to a dose of Miracid. The leaves were showing definite signs of lack of iron, so long term I'll work on the soil, but in the meantime, I want to keep the plant healthy.

My vegetable garden is 100% organic though, at least until the knotweed comes up in there.


Hi Tracy - good post. I use weedkiller in the gravel driveway and on weeds in the yard - like dandelions. But I don't use weedkiller in the flower or vegetable gardens ever. When I'm doing a large new garden space, I sometimes use Round-up - but if at all possible I cut the sod and use it somewhere else in the yard. Weedkillers by the lake are a huge no-no. I guess I don't feel guilty, but I'd really rather not have poisons in my soil.
(p.s. I FINALLY did the meme you tagged me for - I am really sorry it took me this long!)


Hi Tracy,
I just did a post the other night about weeding also. I have a small bottle of Round-Up concentrate that's been sitting unopened on the shelf in my garage for at least 3 years. After reading Laura Erickson's book, I'm pretty sure I will never use it now. I'm going to try some vinegar on particularly tough weeds in the asparagus and also some grass growing around my flower garden rock borders. For me, it's much easier to cut, pull, or ignore weeds than to deal with the guilt of using chemicals....the harm done by chemicals is never restricted to just weeds, as you well know.


I don't use weed killer, although I used to use scads of it and I feel guilty about that. Now, if there is something that absolutely has to go that I can't pull up I pour boiling water on it.


I was drawn to your blog because of all of the rocks used in your gardens. I LOVE rocks! I use chemicals to kill weeds growing in our gravel driveway, but it doesn't always work, they just come back. I also occasionally use it to edge the outside of my rock lined flower beds because it is so difficult to get to the base of the weeds when growing from under the rocks (how do they do that??!!). I don't like using it, and use it sparingly. Sometimes I will use boiling water instead, and have tried using vinegar also. Vinegar works well on some weeds, but not all.
We have a lot of creeping charlie and canadian thistle and burdock plants too. Also, Queen Anne's lace, which has a super strong root.


I've resorted to Round-Up a few times with something really persistent, but I find there's few weeds that will survive a combination of boiling water being poured on them or a dose of 20% strength vinegar. The Tree of Heaven that's sprouting up just ever-so-slightly off my property though..It got Round-Up.

I can't tell you how much I hate Creeping Charlie, it's in my lawn and very difficult to control. I say control, because I've never gotten rid of it. The smell of it turns my stomach. I hate, hate, hate it.


I know of more than one weed that goes by creeping Charlie. Is it the Glechoma or the Lysimachia? Or, something else? I've never found either to smell bad.

(I have been thinking a lot about that meme.)


I use Round Up for emergencies only, but lately have mostly resorted to a vinegar-based weed killer that seems to work quite well, especially on thistle. And I do a lot of pulling. For some reason, I think I can "wear out" the weeds if I keep pulling them. Hope springs eternal!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens


Ali: We don't have Japanese knotweed here (yet), but it sounds horrible. Like you, I don't use anything in the vegetable beds.

Kris: Like you, any chemicals near our pond are absolutely forbidden. That's why the buckthorn in that area has been so difficult to get rid of - it's all hand-digging.

RuthieJ: That's a very good attitude to have. Generally, I'm very good at ignoring weeds: see my Gratuitous Puppy Pictures post to see the state of our "lawn" - obviously, no weedkillers have been used there! I'll definitely have to try the vinegar, though, especially with the Canada thistle.

Angie: Thanks for visiting! Having gravel is difficult, isn't it? Most weeds pull easily after a rain, but creeping charlie seems to be engineered to survive specifically in gravel.

Steven: It sounds like you feel about creeping charlie the way I feel about dandelions. I actually like the creeping charlie in the lawn - it's green when nothing else is, attracts lots of bees and other pollinators when it blooms, and I don't mind the smell. But once it hits the beds or gravel paths, it's history.

Kathy: The creeping charlie I'm talking about Glechoma hederacea, aka ground ivy. I believe it's the same thing Steven is talking about, because it definitely has a smell. It's in the mint family, and you can smell the minty undertones when you walk over it. I actually don't mind the smell at all. My feelings on creeping charlie are very site specific. If it's in a garden bed (flower or vegetable) or in the gravel paths, it must go. But anywhere else, I let it live.

Carol: It's good to know that vinegar will work on thistle. I have more in a future garden bed, so I'll need to experiment this weekend.


I have a question. My dear husband just used weed killer on my bed I was going to use to plant carrots in. (!!!!!!) We have terrible bindweed that is practically impossible to get rid of, especially as its roots reach down 12-14 feet into the ground! That just tells me that the bindweed is full of the deepest nutrients, so we should just pull them and add them to the compost pile.

My question is, can I still grow my carrots? Should I dig up the bed itself and replace all the soil? Help!

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