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Weed Tea - Turning weeds into friends

If you've followed the saga of my weed problem, and how I'm trying to turn the weed (I'll call it Trans for short,(we are on close terms)) to my advantage. You will know that I had to rely on others, much to my embarrassment, it should be acknowledged, to identify what it is that has been causing me such angst. 

I found that drowning the bugger in a sealed drum for over six weeks took care of it and produced brown lifeless mulch for the garden. The remaining brown liquid, we'll call it weed tea, was left behind but due to it being produced in an anaerobic way, according to Dr Elaine Ingram, it would be problematic to use it like that on the garden. So I've been applying myself to the task of introducing oxygen to the liquid. Elaine Ingram advises that I should pump oxygen into the drum via a fish tank type of pump, which we all know pumps bubbles of air in at the bottom and this then percolates it's way upward from there. She also states that the smell of an anaerobic drum of liquid will be very strong, but as my nose is about as reliable as my weed identification skills, I couldn't tell whether the liquid was indeed "off" or not. So the above photo shows my solution. What you see is the top of my 44 gallon drum, an old pump is spraying liquid from the bottom of the barrel onto the water at the top. You can see the white foam being created.

My questions to you all is, "will this introduce air (oxygen) to the mix", and if it does how long do you reckon I will need to keep this going for? At this point I need to acknowledge that it was my wife Brenda who's idea it was to turn the sprinkler upside down, I had constructed something on top, but once again I was wrong, (ouch).

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Comment by Rob Walter on June 21, 2015 at 20:57

They're much sturdier than I expected from your description. I once had a pumpkin get to full size before the possums decided to have a nibble and spoil the whole thing. It was still a long way from being ripe, so it was very bland. So disappointing!

Comment by Roger Clark on June 21, 2015 at 15:27

Rob, 3 photos of cages made to keep SFA's out of my veges. All of these are timber with the 10 mm mesh. This keeps out even mice and moths, but not fruit fly. I drape vege net over the cage to keep them out, and shade cloth to lessen the impact of the sun. Bunnings sell the mesh but it isn't cheap, small bird wire would be almost as good, but not as strong.

Comment by Rob Walter on June 21, 2015 at 11:20

Thanks Roger, it sounds like a work in progress, as most of our gardens are.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 21, 2015 at 9:39

Rob, Re the mesh, I am lucky enough to have been given some if it, but have also bought some from Bunnings. The best is smallish squares, about 10mm, they are a light gauge but quite strong and help to hold the frames together. My frames are timber, about 15mm square screwed at the corners. I will take some photos and post soon. My largest frame is covered with shade cloth /vege net, due to the cost of covering it with mesh. As it is so large it is also very fragile and definitely a two person job to move. I should have used chicken mesh as well to give it a bit more strength, but the vege net / shade cloth can also be used for shading and fruit fly protection. I am going to buy some light gauge steel, and weld together my next version as this will last a lot longer than the timber.

Comment by Rob Walter on June 19, 2015 at 7:36

I know we've drifted off topic (or are we very on topic, given that we're talking about stewing problematic organisms?), but have a look at my blog posts for my electric solution.

Where do you get your mesh from, Roger?

Comment by Roger Clark on June 19, 2015 at 5:45

Oop's in my quest to be responsive to Andrew's sensitivities regarding SFA's I've called him Rob. Sorry Possums,(a la Dame Edna). Oops.

Comment by Roger Clark on June 19, 2015 at 5:40

Rob, You are not alone in your non appreciation of those smallish furry animals that have sharp claws, either brush or ring tails and which have regularly raided my vege garden without invitation. I have had to build timber framed, steel mesh lined "cages" to put atop my baths /raised gardens to keep them out. I need to keep making more as at the moment they are mostly protecting my pumpkins which are sprawling over the ground. If I don't protect them the SFA's 's will take a nibble from them just after they have formed, usually just enough to make them rot and fall off. This leaves all my other veges unprotected, so I have to juggle what I can and can't grow and it's always a guessing game as to when to begin planting out. E.g. will I be able to start my broccoli before the pumpkins are ripe?, or will the SFA's discover them while they are still young and unprotected? Sorry to be speaking in code but you are obviously a little sensitive right now.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 18, 2015 at 22:49

Specially fed on your organic veges, Andy!

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on June 18, 2015 at 20:22

Could I recommend nobody mention the word possum in my presence ever again.  Despite my best endeavours, the damn thing ate every new plant in the aquaponics bed.  The possum is making Percy the Bush Turkey look good right now.  And I know from all my NADOC days that they are damn well edible!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 18, 2015 at 17:45

Or living in cloud cuckoo land ;-)

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