Making the most of weeds and feeds - what I'm watching with my cuppa
For newbee gardeners who have just taken over a plot I wish I'd have watched these videos:
How to make fertiliser with weeds - Erica's Little Welsh Garden
Weeds improve your crops - Huw Richards
For first year and second year growers like me - you may find useful:
Charles Dowding what can go in hot compost
Huw's last video on making plant specific foods especially good to start now for next year particularly if you are gardening on a super tight budget.
For the total first timer with no knowledge watch Erica's video and Huw's first video here. If you have just taken over a plot that looks like this and are feeling a bit overwhelmed then you have a fantastic resource to start to grow your soil.
For cold composters (the Dalek or under 1m square types) try this - and get fertiliser for free.
What I really like about this is collecting weeds as you go in a bucket, harvesting the liquid as you need it and empty every 6 months or so. When I add to the compost I'll make sure there is plenty of stuff to cover it over with and lots of browns to soak up the stinky mush.
And I know I've shared this one before from Huw but as we are on a weed theme he takes it on to the next level.
A real revelation seeing weeds as a resource - law of return - following nature's rhythm of returning what has grown to the soil it came out of, and recognising the benefits of some weeds like nettles and comfrey and dandelions - not just for their wildlife (bees and other insects) but also with their deep roots bringing nutrients to the surface that regular plants can't reach. Kind of a Heineken effect. Also what I didn't know was that dandelions typically grow in places which have low calcium as when their leaves die back they have brought all that goodness to the surface. Unlike Huw I do allow some dandelions to grow in my beds (well on the edges really) as they are a really important first food for the bees. Now I'll be using them as a 'Chop and Drop' to feed my soil. So win win win for the bees, the soil and me.
For first and second year lottiers this is what Charles Dowding puts in his hot composters (minimum 1 meter square). Weeds - and lots of them: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/gVKmSO4LQ0Q
For any followers of Huw you will also have noticed him mentioning JLF - Jadam Liquid Fertiliser and here is his latest really accessible video on this:
For me there were a number of great take aways. It follows nature in just as a tree would drop its leaves and fruits which end up feeding itself so do all plants and that is what they do naturally. Jadam Liquid Fertiliser mimics that process by taking the whole plant and mixing it with water and soil biology (here he mentions leaf mould or super well composted compost) to make a plant specific feed. Now I don't think I'm going to go down the route of one for each plant but I do like the idea of making them for families of plants like brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc), but also some specific plants - see below.
I also really appreciate his opening on Is growing food affordable? Compost prices are going up along with everything else but also with the banning of use of peat next year. Here is something that first year gardeners can start saving now as relatively low cost - it only needs a container - and if you can reuse something then it is FREE!. It is a way of specifically feeding plants what they need particularly if you have poor soil and can't afford compost, and haven't made enough of your own - yet.
I particularly like the idea of using it when transplanting plants out, or for feeding heavy feeders like tomatoes and squash, and would have liked some for my peas where they were looking a bit lack lustre when they first went out.
The only downside I can see is they can be a bit smelly and I only have a half plot so where to put them might be a bit of an issue for me as they are aerobic - allowing air rather than anaerobic - sealed with no air. So we will see.
to the channels:
Happy lottie plotting and planting people.
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