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Nutrients from pulled weeds?  RSS feed

 
Dustin Talley
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I keep my soil covered with burlap sacks (free from the local coffee roasters) which does a great job limiting competition, but some weeds do come through and they get huge fast. I read an article recently that said that cut grass could provide nutrients back to your plants if you soaked the cut grass in water for a few days and strained it first. Would this apply to weeds as well? I would love to return some of the nutrients they have stolen...
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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How to do it depends on the weed and tools at your disposal. You don't want the weeds to re root, effectively propagating them!

Hot composting is probably the surest method. Soaking doesn't work with most weeds.
 
Bill Puckett
Posts: 130
Location: the meadows, hawk's prairie, Oly, wa
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I'd cut, rip or pull the weed and put it under the sack it came through. Limit your work, keep your nutrient, keep your moisture, build mulch.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I find most things here don't re-root, so I just pull em and drop em on the ground wherever it needs some mulch, off to the side of the cardboard that covers paths/unplanted soil.

The nastier stuff gets treated on a case by case basis. Cooch grass and morning glory go to the municipal recycling bin. Ditto for diseased plants. Blackberry gets to sit atop some cardboard til it's very dead, likewise thistles. Jury is still out on cleavers, which seems to be the latest challenger.

Hot composting is great, as long as you have enough material to do it right!
 
Galadriel Freden
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I make nettle "tea" in the summer sometimes, to feed my potted plants. I also make one with fresh chicken manure that I've raked off my lawn. I pack as much as I can gather into a bucket (preferrably a lidded bucket), fill it up with water, then let it brew for a week or two. When it's brown and really smelly, it's ready. I dilute it by with about 5-10 parts water and feed it to my plants every couple of days. I think some people let it brew less, and it can be stirred during this time to speed up the process.

I don't see why you couldn't use other weeds, or plants. Comfrey tea is another well known one. Just make sure there are no seeds in the tea--they'll probably survive the brewing process.
 
Jim Gagnepain
Posts: 71
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Galadriel Freden wrote:I make nettle "tea" in the summer sometimes, to feed my potted plants. I also make one with fresh chicken manure that I've raked off my lawn. I pack as much as I can gather into a bucket (preferrably a lidded bucket), fill it up with water, then let it brew for a week or two. When it's brown and really smelly, it's ready. I dilute it by with about 5-10 parts water and feed it to my plants every couple of days. I think some people let it brew less, and it can be stirred during this time to speed up the process.

I don't see why you couldn't use other weeds, or plants. Comfrey tea is another well known one. Just make sure there are no seeds in the tea--they'll probably survive the brewing process.


This reminds me of my grandfather, who was a farmer. After his wife died, he developed some strange habits. My mom went over one day and said, "What's that smell?" He had put manure on all his indoor plants. I hope you don't use your chicken manure tea indoors...
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 125
Location: Elgin, IL
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Whoa, "stolen"? Not sure you have a proper appreciation of so called "weeds".

Weeds cover the soil to prevent soil erosion and mine the soil for nutrients that other plants can't reach, pulling those nutrients into their biomass, which they then return to your top soil when they die back every year. Unless you pull them out and relocate them, that is. Who's stealing now? Weed roots also put organic material back into the soil and flowering varieties provide food and sometimes housing for beneficial insects.

Also, weeds are signs of poor soil; they show up where there's a job to do. If you don't like weeds, then make sure your soil is nutrient laden, full of compost, and properly covered with a protective layer of leaves, straw, or mulch.

I'm sure you could soak weeds for nutrients, but I doubt you're going to get a lot of soluble nutrients from a whole weed. Compost them first to make their nutrients available to your plants, and then make a decent ACT (aerated compost tea).
 
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