I know you mostly handle questions about growing, canning, and eating plants, but I need to know how to get rid of them for more than a few weeks. I have a gravel drive about 250 feet long that has big grass patches that look better than my lawn. I have tried everything to get rid of them. Vinegar, salt, combination of the two, pulling. Nothing seems to work. Any ideas?

New Deal, Texas

Unsightly weeds and grass can sure look ugly where they’re not wanted. And using strong chemicals such as Roundup are to be avoided if at all possible due to the effects it can have on your soil, leaching into adjoining soil and water. Vinegar would work IF it were strong enough. Unfortunately, table vinegar is not acidic enough to kill stubborn grass and if you put enough salt on it to kill it, the adjoining soil would be damaged and your drive would have ugly patches of bare ground along it.

There are several natural compounds that do work, however. One I’ve used with good results is BurnOut. I bought mine through ARBICO Organics. One thing I’ve found is that once you’ve used any natural treatment, you have to keep watch on the area for regrowth. When it starts, immediately treat again. A few thorough treatments and your problem is gone for good. — Jackie


I have an abundance of ramps this spring. I found recipes for pickling them, but it is only for refrigeration. Can I pickle and water bath them to preserve some? What about freezing? Love your articles and knowledge!

Lynette Czehut
Chesterland, Ohio

Ramps (wild leeks) are a wonderful wild food many folks collect each spring. Yes, you can pickle them. Simply bring your pickling brine up to boiling, add the ramps (bulb only), and bring back to just boiling. Place ramps in hot jars leaving ½” of headspace. Ladle on boiling brine, leaving ½” of headspace. Water bath for 10 minutes.

Ramps also freeze well but only freeze the bulbs with the roots snipped off. They also dehydrate very well by just snipping off the leaves and roots, then slicing the white bulb in narrow rings. Dry until they feel like paper and store in an airtight container.

Be sure to leave many ramp plants in the area you harvest as you don’t want to cause them to go extinct from over-harvesting. Luckily, ramps are, well … kind of rampant and often form large beds. — Jackie


  1. We have a similar issue with about 150 feet of driveway. We have to mow the middle, it’s bad. I am looking into a propane torch flamethrower type thing that burns them off. I figure if done enough it might work. We have animals and a kid so chemicals are pretty much out. Weed Dragon was the name of one. They are pretty spendy, but I think in the long run it might be worth it for us….plus it looks fun to use :)

  2. JC, thanks so much for the link to ARBICO…those folks sell some great stuff! I may have to call on their assassin bugs to check my bagworm population. You rock!


  3. Marc,

    Check your local hardware stores for a stronger vinegar. Many companies are now retailing “cleaning” vinegar which is much stronger than culinary vinegar. The ones I have seen in the hardware chains in my area are at 10% concentration or higher.

    There is also a product called Vinegar Plus manufactured by Simply Clean. It is a Canadian company in Guelph, Ontario that makes natural cleaning products that are also sold in the U.S. Vinegar Plus is about 5 times stronger than regular vinegar. It is recommended for descaling mineral buildup but can be used as a “herbicide”. It is a strong acid so caution is needed when using it.

  4. Zelda,

    I never even thought of buying ramp bulbs. Duh!!! We don’t have wild ones here and I know I sure will give it a try. Thanks. I know what you mean about hunting the wild asparagus. In New Mexico and Montana, spring wasn’t spring unless we hunted and harvested lots. Yum.

  5. If you Google where to buy ramp bulbs you’ll get a good number of returns. You can have your own ramp patch and eat as many as you want, but localized ramps of your own may not be as much fun as hunting them in the wild. I have my own asparagus bed and the taste is outstanding cooked or raw, but honestly it isn’t as much fun as the old days and hunting for “wild” asparagus along ditch banks.

  6. I too wish I knew an area where there are enough ramps to actually harvest some. I know one remote area where there are a few small patches of them but it is quite a hike to get there through posted private land. When I go to them I have on occasion taken a few to eat with lunch while I fish a mountain creek…. Love them. Rick

  7. Marc, I live in KS, and our Wal-mart carries 8% household vinegar in the cleaning aisle, I’m not sure if this would be strong enough for killing weeds or not, but if so, it might be a place to check for it. I like using it for household purposes. An added thought if you do, you might want to use a permanent marker on the bottle, and draw a poison symbol or something. There isn’t much difference in the labels of it and reg. white vinegar, if someone wasn’t paying much attention.
    Lynette, I am so envious, I have never been able to find a ramp patch to harvest in my area. I hope you have good luck preserving your bounty.

Comments are closed.