Weeds. Who doesn’t have these sometimes friends, sometimes foes, in their garden? My kids and I had spent an afternoon weeding. Instead of throwing these into the compost, I decided to give making weed tea a go.
The reason why I decided to make weed tea is that there were a lot of weeds. Normally, I will throw a bucket full into the compost and be OK with that. I don’t have a hot compost pile so the temperature will never get hot enough to kill any weed seeds. But this time, I had two wheelbarrows full of weeds. So I thought why not get some benefit out of these weeds?
Over the years, I had read or seen other gardeners making their own weed tea. As I was standing there in the garden with the big weed pile, I thought I’m just going to throw the weeds in a black plastic bin, pop the weeds in and fill it with water. Then cover with a lid. I couldn’t remember if there was a better way to make weed tea but it had been a long afternoon. I thought if it doesn’t work out, the weeds will have been submerged long enough to kill them and go into the compost pile.
This bin sat in the back corner of my garden for a long time. To be honest with you, I had forgotten about it! The start of year goal of keeping a garden journal had fallen by the wayside. So I didn’t know exactly how long it had been brewing by the time I had gotten round to using it. But it had been at least two months!
What was in there when I opened the lid?
The water had turned green. The weeds had shrunk. There was no real strong smell. I had heard that weed tea could be stinky so I had braced myself when I opened the lid.
I was aware that I needed to dilute the weed tea. So, I used my compost fork to lift the shrunken weeds out of the bucket and dumped them on to the compost pile. There were still little bits of debris floating in the liquid. I strained what I needed through an old window screen. (I knew these would come in handy one day!)
Using it on the Garden
The strained liquid was added to my watering can until it was half full. It was then topped with water. This was to be used on a garden bed that I had weeded and was planning to plant in spring. It was to be fertilised with weed tea and cow manure. Then topped with mulch. My plan was to plant in this garden bed come spring.
My weed tea experiment was one that was simple and provided me with a fertiliser that was made using something that is usually in some part of my garden!
Have you brewed weed tea – What are your tips? We would love to hear them. Please feel free to share in the comments below!
Like to read more about Weed Tea? Then check out Compost, Worm and Weed Teas by Sustainable Gardening Australia.