Gardeners and Their Tea – 2
Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20
As l briefly discussed in Gardeners and Their Tea – 1# there are many different types of ‘gardening tea’ you can make that can enrich your garden equally as there are teas that can act as fertilisers and pest controls – today’s Tea Episode is a short post on the subject of ‘Weed Tea’. By this l don’t mean ‘Cannabis Tea’, l mean ‘Garden Weed Tea!’
Weed Tea is a great little fertiliser for your gardens, which you can use on both your vegetables and herbs as well as on your flowers. Weed teas are rich in nutrients and microbes which in turn boost the overall healthy productivity of your plants and award them a unique resilience to pests and disease.
Weeds are quite often not even thrown into many gardener’s compost heaps, and for the first 15 months of my own novice composting, l too didn’t include them, however once l realised that hot composting would kill off most weeds, l ended up throwing weeds direct into the heap here. But weeds are a gardener’s friend rather than the foe many believe them to be, and if discarded, well in my eyes it’s a valuable resource being lost.
Now, there are many uses of weeds from the garden, more than most folks might think and believe – weeds serve a purpose – and as l like to say many a time, they’re not weeds, they are just wild flowers in the wrong location!
There are many ways you can make ‘weed tea’, however l will just give you the quickest and most efficient. That is ‘fermenting or steeping’ them in cold water. I pack them into containers/plastic bins and then cover them with water and then put the lid onto the container. Don’t make it air tight – because this mixture will be fermenting and it will build up gasses of carbon dioxide and the last thing you need is this ….
All weeds can be used, although l know many favour nettles – but they make nettle tea – which we will discuss in episode 3 – but to make a quick tea for your garden you are going to need a 5 – 7 gallon container with a lid that can be secured and made firm, water and weeds. That’s it.
As to the weeds you can use?
I use any weeds – weeds that are not going into the compost heap or the compost tea bio bin – so just throw anything in there that is a weed in your eyes. Some weeds are really good especially when you include their roots like docks and dandelions – because deep rooted weeds hold lots of rich nutrients but as said any weeds [including nettles] can be used plantains, chickweeds, ribworts, thistles, sow thistles, moss, etc.
Although you 1] need to understand your weeds and 2] need to use the right weeds on the right plants as in ‘friendly weeds’ use on vegetables and herbs and toxic weeds used on non edibles.
You need to leave these weed bombs of yours somewhere safe but out of the way of sensitive noses, because they are prone to seriously bad scent release – in short they stink!
Once the fermenting process is over, strain your mixture through some fine gause, old stockings or just a piece of cloth so as to NOT disperse weed seeds and not clog up your watering can.
Be very aware! This stuff stinks and the scent is like that of a skunk spray, so wear gloves when preparing this mixture. It is also a scent that lasts so make sure that you are wearing clothing that is only used for gardening.
The dilution ratio is reflective upon the batch you have produced but a good starting point is 1:10 – 1 part weed tea to ten parts water. Ideally, the colour needs to look like a nice cup of stinky herbal tea! If in doubt, over dilute – as this mixture can prove harmful if not lethal to some plants and younger plants. If in doubt – 1:15 or 1:20 dilute.
My advice is to NOT use it on edibles that are about to be harvested for the table ….unless you are not adverse eating vegetables that taste of skunk spray.
I have read that if you add potash this can dilute the smell, and as it contains potassium will not do any harm whatsoever to the overall mixture.
Check out the videos below:
Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …