Salt: Weed Warfare

I have a lovely patio, with perfect cracks between the stones for growing weeds.

The people who owned this house before us would use Round-Up to keep the weeds down. However, I don’t want poisons in my yard, where my children play and where we breathe in fumes (while spraying). Yes, I understand that the makers of these weed neurotoxins state that they are harmless to humans, and that they disintegrate after a few hours of exposure to sun/air. I also know that Round-Up is chemically very, very close to a human neurotoxin which destroyed the dopamine center of the brain in the unfortunate people who took it (as a street drug), clinically launching them into complete paralysis as in endstage Parkinson’s Disease.

When it comes down to it, I just try to avoid poisons of all kinds.

And that’s why my patio looked like it did in the picture above. Terrible. Some of the weeds were as high as my knee.

Of course we had to pull them out; no easy spraying method here. And of course, some of the plants had tap roots that wouldn’t come up/got broken off (probably old roots which broke off last year).

A month ago, I pulled weeds all around the deck, where it comes down to the patio, and then used regular table salt in the cracks. To date, it is keeping down all the weeds in this one area.

I got this idea as I remembered something about the Romans sewing fields with salt in lands that they conquered. I looked this up on Wiki, and it seems that there are as many myths about this as anything, although salting fields was used at other times in history as a punishment for crimes.

Whatever. I know that for our backyard, we won’t be poisoned by salt, and that nothing will grow in salty cracks.

This week, we tackled the whole patio, big weeds and all. Here are my weeding helpers. Many hands make light(er) work!

The salt I used is the cheapest on the grocery store shelf, and I want to make clear that we DO NOT use this type of refined, bleached, iodized salt for eating. I had it on hand for making playdough.

If you are just switching over to healthy, unrefined salt with all the wonderful minerals in it (which your body is craving . . . so salt away!), then weed abatement might be the perfect use for the salt that was previously in your shaker.

Remember: wherever you put salt, it is likely that NOTHING will grow there for a very long time, so you obviously can’t salt areas of your yard where you have plantings, grass, etc.

We were careful not to put so much salt on that it would run off onto the lawn when wet.

Wow, look at those weeds!

Once we had finished pulling and salting, I ran water over the salt to melt it into the cracks, and then I sprayed off the whole patio.

Now it looks so lovely, we ate dinner out there last night and breakfast this morning!

Grilled Pineapple Slices

We just had friends over for a BBQ, and discovered a new favorite for the grill: Pineapple. We called them Pineapple Planks.

This is all that was left by the time I could grab the camera. The blackened parts are not as yummy as the rest; these were the ones that got a little overdone.

What we did:

  1. Cut off the top, bottom, and all the scaly sides of the pineapple.
  2. Sliced it into 1/2 inch or less slices. The one we had was still a little green, which helped it hold together better on the grill than if it had been super ripe.
  3. Laid them strait on a hot grill…we had just finished our meal of grilled meats and veggies.
  4. Once the slices began to soften as they cooked, they got flipped, and spread with a small amount of pure maple syrup.
  5. Cooked another 2 minutes with the syrup soaking in, then taken off and enjoyed hot!

“Uncured” and Nitrites

Here’s an article from Applegate Farms about the confusion surrounding the terms “uncured” and “no nitrites” on packages of luncheon meats and hot dogs. http://www.applegatefarms.com/inthenews/response.aspx

The take aways for me:

  • Naturally preserved lunch meats/hot dogs (those labeled “uncured” or “no nitrites”) ARE cured (often with celery juice or powder), and DO have nitrites, sometimes in greater amounts than their conventional counterparts. In other words, they are are “safe” from spoilage as the others, but if you thought you were not eating nitrites, think again.
  • Some people think a nitrite is the same as any other nitrite, but Applegate describes the difference between the synthetic and natural nitrites in this way:
    “Synthetic sodium nitrite is created by the absorption of nitrogen oxides (derived from ammonia compounds) in a liquid solution of either sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide.  The resulting slurry is dried and pink dye is added to distinguish it from table salt.  According to the Food Chemical Codex (3rd addition, National Academy of Sciences), industrial sodium nitrite is allowed to contain residual heavy metals, arsenic and lead. While some may say, “nitrites are nitrites,” those derived from celery juice and sea salt are clearly different, and the USDA agrees, hence the different labeling requirements for products cured this way.”
  • TheFDA has to date not allowed the natural meat industry to clarify the actual ingredients/process on their packaging.

For my part, I feel far more comfortable feeding my family what is naturally occurring in celery, than a synthetic version with residual heavy metals of arsenic and lead.

Organic Grassfed Hot Dogs

It’s hot dog season, so I was thrilled to find the delicious Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Grassfed Hot Dogs at my local Trader Joes for the great price of $4.99. Sign up for their newsletter, and then you can print off the coupon for $1 off 2 packages of hot dogs, making it $4.49 apiece when you buy two.

The ingredients are: organic grass-fed beef, water, sea salt, celery powder, organic onion powder, organic spices, organic paprika.