Updated: Jan 24, 2022
It is true, you can make a organic home-made fertilizer tea from the weeds you pick out of your garden. Although there is little scientific evidence around this, many gardeners regularly use this technique to feed their plants and make use of their weeds at no cost to them with positive results. In addition to nutrients, weed tea can also benefit plants and soil by the microorganisms it contains, which assist in breaking down organic materials in the soil into plant food. Some chose to spray this tea onto the leaves of plants with the idea that it makes them stronger and more resistant to disease or pests. To make weed tea, weeds are placed in a 5 gallon bucket and covered in rain water. In anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks the water is separated from the weeds and used to fertilize plants.
The main nutrients in plant fertilizer you purchase include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (or potash). Nitrogen encourages leaf growth, phosphorus promotes root growth and potassium is great for encouraging your plants to blossom and to produce fruit. Other nutrients required by plants include calcium, sulfer, zinc, manganese, boron and iron.
When choosing weeds for your fertilizer tea be sure to select weeds that have not yet begun going to seed. You don't want to be planting more weeds in your garden through this process! For organic fertilizer ensure the weeds have not been sprayed with chemicals.
Below are some common zone 3 weeds that make a nutritious base for your fertilizer tea.
Alfalfa is high in nitrogen, potassium and calcium as well as vitamin A, folic acid and trace minerals.
Chickweed is rich in phosphorus, potassium and manganese. This weed is identified by its vining, low to the ground growth and its small rounded leaves.