Yes, it’s that time of year, when weeds arise and rise again. Even the most devout organic gardener might be tempted to pull out the evil chemicals at times — especially when it comes to those hard-to-weed places like cracks in between rocks and gravel walkways, where there’s no food growing that could be tainted by a toxic treatment. But now, thanks to the advice of an old friend of mine, Nancy Small, I have a new solution. A very simple, easy solution.

I use a teapot.

Yes, a teapot. It turns out that boiling water will kill weeds — especially little, profuse patches of weeds in gravel, walkways or rocky areas. I tried it and it works. At first, when you pour the boiling water over weeds they look, well, rather cooked. Blanched. Bright green and almost edible. Walk away and come back a few hours later and you will have a hard time finding evidence at all. Some larger weeds will need to be pulled, but they are a fragile carcass of their former selves and lift right out.

It may be a lot of trips back and forth from the kitchen to the yard, but water is free and clear of anything bad. If you live in an area where water is especially precious, you can use waste water from cleaning food or dishes — the boiling will kill any little bugs that might be in there.

I would hesitate to use this method on your garden soil, since good garden soil is alive with microbes and worms and we don’t want to hurt any of them so they can’t do their job to help your garden grow. (For little weeds in a veggie patch, there is nothing better than a good, sharp hoe!) But for those other areas, plain ol’ boiling water works wonders.

Try it and let me know if it works for you. And … please share! What other organic weeding secrets do you have?

This article was reprinted with permission. For more from Maria Rodale, go to