Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weed Tea - Creating Fertiliser from Green Waste.

Compost Bays 4 and 5 - make black gold.
I have posted a little bit before our compost down at WBCG, but I also wanted to let you know about 'weed tea', another feature of our composting set up at the garden.

Although with a distinctly suspicious name, weed tea is a fantastic and spectacularly easy addition to your garden and soil cultivation.

What is weed tea? It's a liquid fertiliser made from literally making a 'tea' from all those obnoxious weeds that you can't put in your compost for fear of them seeding through your newly-mulched veggie patch. These sort of weeds - running and grassy weeds, usually just end up in your council green bin.

Create your own Weed tea: Get a container (anything with a lid will do, like a common plastic bin, see photo) - anything form 50L to 80L is a great start - but it depends on how many weeds you have. Fill the container with weeds: even dandelion, oxalis, sorrel, couch grass. Fill the bin with water - ensuring to cover the weeds submerge the weeds – It’s called death by drowning! You can weigh down the weeds with a brick too, if you wish.

Immature tea.
Then, simply leave the tea to 'steep' for about 6 weeks (for a fast but weaker solution) to 3 months. By that time, a beautiful, brown-green bubble sludge appears and the weeds are completely dead. This is your tea concentrate.

Use. Drain the tea from your bin, or extract the dead weeds with a pitch fork. Dilute your concentrate with water in a watering can until it look the colour of a weak cup of tea (about 10:1 parts water : weeds concentrate). Use the tea as a liquid fertiliser. You can also put it on the compost heap, so the nutrients accelerate the composting process and make it happen faster.

Refuse: Put the weed debris into the compost heap so that it continues to break down. The weeds are now totally benign and dead.

Making weed tea is really a win-win situation. It’s possible to get rid of a green waste and from that create a rich, liquid fertiliser for use in the garden. Permaculture in action folks!

Happy garden.

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We're working together for a vibrant, sustainable network of community gardening locations in Moreland.

Our a 100% volunteer-based non-profit community group currently manages two community gardens in West Brunswick and Pentridge a food forest (also in West Brunswick).

Stop and think for 1 minute and you'll come up with at least one good reason for having community gardens all over the place. In case you don't have a minute or need some help, here are our top five!
  1. To bring people together.
  2. To hold on to Moreland's character and gardening knowledge.
  3. To provide somewhere where people can do some physical activity, relax and enjoy themselves
  4. To encourage sustainable gardening
  5. To make it easy for people to get hold of healthy locally grown food