The vinegar + salt + soap weedkiller that was so enthusiastically talked about online was a total bust for the weeds I was trying to kill. The thistles merely laughed, and I suspect the vinegar made them tougher. The broadleaf grasses browned, a little bit, and then continued to grow. We knocked down the broad leafs in the tiller activity over the weekend, but I know they'll come up just as fast and just as strong.
I am more than willing to suggest that operator error had something to do with this failure. Did we wait too long and the weeds were simply too large and established? Did I not spray enough? Did the dew on the grass affect the strength of the vinegar? Was there not enough sun? There are simply too many variables to identify the problem, but I still have a lot of grass and thistles to deal with.
I am convening a meeting of our garden leadership this week to talk about our options. One of our gardeners is working on some solutions, but I've just about had it with the thistles in our paths. We have sheet mulched and wood chipped our paths for three years, and the thistles just keep on coming. We have spent hours and hours manually digging them in both spring and autumn and the turned up soil just seems to yield more thistles.
I have threatened, jokingly, but now I'm starting to get more serious, of hitting the paths with a one-time application of RoundUp. This is specifically and strictly forbidden by our garden bylaws; we are an organic garden. But I simply don't know what else to do.
Does anyone have any suggestions?