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Thu Mar 2, 2017, 01:41 AM

DIY Miracle Grow and Roundup

I think I'm going to try making my own Miracle Grow. Most recipes call for epsom salt, baking soda, and ammonia mixed with water. My question is, should I put in the ammonia if I already have sufficient nitrogen in my soil? Probably too much, because I added too much horse manure last year.

I'm torn about using Roundup. I have tried the vinegar, salt, DW liquid homemade weed killer, without much success. I have read some articles that say regular household vinegar isn't strong enough--that you have to get 20%, and it's much more dangerous than Roundup. Plus it doesn't kill the roots, so the weed comes right back. And there's always the Roundup argument about how safe it is for people and environment. Even though I have a huge flower garden, I originally did the lasagna route by getting tons of cardboard boxes from the local Amish stores. But now, that's all breaking down--like its supposed to, and the weeds are popping thru. I pull them in the beds themselves, but my paths are already under siege, even mulched.

Opinions on both are appreciated.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply DIY Miracle Grow and Roundup (Original post)
Bayard Mar 2017 OP
msongs Mar 2017 #1
Warpy Mar 2017 #2
Bayard Mar 2017 #6
Warpy Mar 2017 #7
Bayard Mar 2017 #8
mopinko Mar 2017 #9
Nwgirl503 Mar 2017 #3
Dr Hobbitstein Mar 2017 #4
Major Nikon Mar 2017 #5
Duppers Jul 2017 #10
Post removed Dec 2019 #11

Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 01:52 AM

1. google search kill weeds 20% vinegar turned up the following (as well as others)

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 02:24 AM

2. Leave out the ammonia if you're used horse shit

Otherwise you'll get plenty of leaves and no flowers or fruit. I honestly don't think the other ingredients are either necessary or will work. What you need are sources of phosphorus and potassium, which neither epsom salts nor baking soda provide.

The only alternatives to Roundup are hand weeding, using a hoe, and using thick mulch. My favorite mulch was straw, about 6 inches thick. It did break down over time and it was supposed to, adding plant material back to the soil. Be sure to use straw and not hay, hay has the grass seeds in it. My second favorite was eel grass collected along the beach. It was my second favorite because it took so long to collect and transport without a truck.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 08:34 PM

6. Hay 'vs' Straw

It depends on what part of the country you're in, and what goes into both bales. I took all of the straw out of my chicken coops last year and put on the flower beds. Then had to rake it all back up and pull out everything that hatched! Tons of seeds. The hay I feed is an orchard grass mix, and have not had a problem with sprouts.

I'm also lucky to have big pine trees in our woods, so can get pine straw mixed with leaves. Had one of those big suckers go down last week in high winds. Pulled right out of the ground. The soil left under it looks YUMMY!

I also get mulch from the sawmill up the road. But its pretty fine. It disintegrates nicely into the soil, just have to keep putting more and more on. I may have to break down and actually buy some of the big bagged chips this year, at least for my paths.

Thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like the vinegar is a bad idea. Roundup it is. Same for ammonia.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 10:09 PM

7. Chicken poop could have seeded the straw

Straw is typically the inedible stuff left over from harvesting a grain crop. People used to use it for everything from rope to roofing material.

I never had any problem using it as mulch.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 3, 2017, 02:00 PM

8. I think it was oat or rye straw

As soon as the old guy that works for us occasionally saw what I'd done, he said---you know you're going to regret that. I'd used straw before in other gardens and never had a problem either. Who knew?

This winter, I bedded chickens and ducks down in grass hay. That will probably go into the vege garden.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 11, 2017, 02:11 PM

9. i use mostly shredded paper for my chix.

i add a little pine shavings once in a while, but mostly paper.
it composts up quickly w all the chicken poop, usually before it leaves the coop. obviously doesnt sprout.

never had trouble w straw. i use it for potatoes every year.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 05:04 AM

3. White vinegar is essentially topical

It will kill what's on the surface, and works best with direct sunlight. It's definitely not a long term solution. It will kill pretty much all plant material. As for how safe it is....it's better that your animals lick a little bit of it up over Roundup, but neither of them do you want animals feasting on. There's no surefire way to get rid of weeds or keep them at bay than regular maintenance.

As for Miracle grow...there are soil testing kits you can get at probably a local nursery that will tell you what your soil needs. IDK if they have them at big box stores, but if you go someplace local and talk to their Master Gardner, they'll tell you what you need and walk you through the test results.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 10:03 AM

4. I use RoundUp a week before I plant.

 

Gives it time to dissipate. I never use MiracleGrow, as it affects the taste. I use bone meal and blood meal with good success.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Thu Mar 2, 2017, 02:18 PM

5. Vinegar is far worse than Roundup in virtually every way

Vinegar is often promoted as an alternative to Roundup, but this is a very bad idea. 20% vinegar is highly corrosive, almost twice as toxic, very dangerous to use, more harmful to the environment, and not nearly as effective.

Note the MSDS of 20% vinegar, marketed as a "natural" alternative and compare it to the MSDS for Roundup. Most of the "DANGER" and environmental warnings on the former speak for themselves. Also of note is the toxicity, expressed in LD50 (median lethal dose), is almost half that for Roundup, meaning it's almost twice as toxic.

I don't recommend trying to use 20% vinegar at home unless you have appropriate gloves, respirator, very good eye protection, and an eye wash station. You can buy all sorts of chemicals for home use that have no business being used for home use.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Tue Jul 4, 2017, 11:58 PM

10. I'm killing crabgrass right and left with vinegar.

That's all.


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