I’m sitting at Cafe Sia in Gawler, writing this post. I thought I’d spend more time in the community and support local businesses a bit more too.
Bringing home the goodness
Lots of folks spend much of their gardening time removing weeds. Many even remove them from their property – via the green bin!
At Ligaya Garden, we often bring IN weeds! Many weeds are super nutritious for both us and the garden. Even those that we use for the garden provide nutrition for us eventually through the vegetables that we eat from our block.
Nettles and Thistles are classic examples of plants that are reviled by some gardeners but loved by us! They’re so rich in so many things that are good for the microbes and soil fauna in the front garden and the microbes in the aquaponics that we just love bringing them home.The chooks love them too, so whatever we don’t turn into beautiful, potent, liquid fertiliser goes to them and is eventually converted to eggs and chook poo. This week we also scored a big box of potassium rich banana skins too!
One day, at the end of Winter, I went to harvest both Nettles and Thistles from Greg’s Shared Garden where they abound in unsprayed glory! I harvested about 3 kg of fine, young specimens for drying and tincturing for their direct health benefits. Another 10 – 12 kg came home to be added to the Compost Tea Presses (see pic below - markdown isn't letting me add captions today. It sure is a clunky thing!) to make my potent extract for the garden and aquaponics. Over one or two more bumper weed harvests, this provided enough concentrated liquid compost tea for half of the year.
That should be enough for the next 12 months when blended with a Comfrey extract made in the same manner. My Nettle and Thistle extract, when blended with a Comfrey extract gives a massive boost to flowering, fruit set and retention in the right season. It makes Tomatoes go crazy!
This year, I also made a Nettle tea the traditional way by fermenting it in a bucket for several months. It really is a stinky brew by comparison.
Collecting weeds also has further ecological ramifications. By collecting them, we are reducing the amount of seeds out there and reducing their spread. This helps land owners manage their infestation problems with less or no use of herbicides. That makes it a win win situation that, in this area benefits the health of our rivers too!
Our chooks benefit too! They get to eat the trimmings, the leftover sludge and convert it into eggs and ...more fertilizer!