If I could find a way to rid my life of pesticides I would. In one way or another I have used chemicals for all of my working life; even in the days of the dreaded Chlordane for work control and of rabbits using the lethal Cymag powder.
Even when at school I worked at Whitehill Motors as a car cleaner and I can still remember being locked in a Volvo on a cold and wet day spraying silicone all over the leather and plastic to make is shine. The thick fog of silicone could hardly let the light through so heavens knows what my lungs were thinking...I digress.
I purchased a pressured hand held steam cleaner at a Vide Grenier (car boot sale) a couple of weekends ago. (try to image Del Boy speaking here) They usually retail at €39.00 but I picked it up, brand spanking new, for €9.00. I have always wanted to try one because I feel that there could be so many uses for it.
Immediately I returned home I tried it on the wheels of our car and the door jams and it loosened the grease but didn't really wash it away. I think it needed high pressure water and detergent - when we were car cleaning we had a large machine that had an internal boiler and constant water supply with detergent reservoir and boy did it clean cars and engines so they looked like new... I digress again.
I have just walked around the gite and the pool and tested it on the weeds by steaming the foliage at close quarters and firing the steam into the crown of the weed. The advantages (should this work properly) are obvious; both in a cost sense but more importantly from an environmental viewpoint.
There are practicality issues if you have a garden and the reservoir of this particular appliance is only 170ml and it is best to stay plugged in so that the temperature and pressure are always maximised.
It has just taken me about twelve minutes to treat the weeds that have germinated since I treated with Roundup about six weeks ago.
Can you imagine using steam around the greenhouse too? No residual chemical build-up and not only that you can inject steam into the extremely small areas where fungal spores, disease and insects can overwinter. You can also sterilise plant pots and trays, pruning knives and secateurs etc in seconds. No spraying with chemicals or soaking overnight.
I will report on how the weeds react in the next day or so but I can tell you that as little as half an hour later there is droopiness in the leaves as I assume the plant cells have been destroyed.