Could my home-made weed tea be evil?

rross(NSW Aust)April 20, 2014

For a few years now I've been putting fresh weeds and grass in old fruit juice and milk bottles, filling these to the brim with water and capping them tightly. I leave them for a couple of months so the weeds rot into the water, and then I dilute the very pungent tea in water and put it on the soil around my plants. Lately I've been reading about aerobic vs anaerobic micro-organisms, and now I'm worried I'm actually brewing some substance that's as lethal (e-coli?) as it smells. If I have to alienate the neighbours, I'd rather not do it by spreading plague.

Could anyone advise me on this?

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You are definitely getting anaerobic decomposition ... E. coli is NOT an anaerobe, but any tetanus or botulism spores that happened to be on the weeds would be happy to grow there.

Where did you get the information on making this tea? And what was the rationale behind it?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:38AM
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rross(NSW Aust)

Thank you for your reply. On a tv gardening program, they suggested using a container with a lid. As I didn't have a big one, I used lots of small ones. How do I make weed tea the right way? I don't think using a big container with a lid would make any difference.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:05PM
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I guess this is a variant of the tradition of using kvas as a fertilizer. It seems to be based on the same theory as homeopathy.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:23AM
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    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:57AM
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Unless the plants have one of those disease pathogens, common in manures, there would not be anyway for them to be introduced to this "tea". For many years there was a school of thought that said the stinkier something you applied to the garden was the better it was for the garden. Today we know better. Rather then expend your time and energy making this tea why not simply add those plants to your garden, or make compost, which will do the same thing without that odor?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:26AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I could see rotting the weeds in order to rot the seeds if you didn't have a compost pile that could properly cook them. But that is about it. Better to burn them or bin them though IMO. That sounds like too much work for too little benefit.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:29AM
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The nutrients that those plants we call "weeds" are often greater then those in the more desirable plants. Putting them back into the soil they extracted those nutrients from is much better than throwing them away.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:35AM
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How about just burying them in the dirt instead of doing an anaerobic decomposition? Or making compost and applying the compost?

It's the whole "tea" thing I don't understand. It's one thing to make a dilution of a concentrated fertilizer that's going to kill the plants if applied straight, but why ferment and dilute plant material?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:34AM
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