The weeds are growing on the allotment faster than I can deal with them. But every cloud has a silver lining, and I've used some of this fabulous green manure to make a huge drum of weed tea. No, it's not an accompaniment to cannabis cookies, it's home-made plant food. Much cheaper than buying tomato food from the shops, and another example of the law of return - never take anything away from the land unless you can put something of equal value back.
Weed tea is easy to make. Fill a container (we used a huge plastic drum that was left on the allotment when we took it over) with weeds - leaves, roots and all. I used a bunch of big dock roots and couch grass roots, as well as a trug full of leafy weeds such as cleavers, good king henry, bindweed and dandelions. Then I added as much comfrey as I could gather. Comfrey is fantastic stuff, and I always make sure I leave a clump somewhere on purpose (that's what I tell people anyway. The truth is it's a bugger to eradicate even if you wanted to). It has a deep root system and draws up nutrients from deep in the soil. As a result it is rich in the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) nutrients that plants need. It is a great addition to your compost heap, you can lay the leaves around seedlings as a mulch and feed combined, or you can use it to make cheap top-quality plant food like this. I'll also bring some chicken manure from home to add to the tea next time I go to the allotment. You could add nettles, manure (sheep, cow or horse - not cat, dog or human). You can put in grass clippings, seaweed, even perennial weeds like horsetails, bindweed, even japanese knotweed! Anything you've got a lot of, heave it all in, and cover it with water.
Now you need to cover it tightly because once it begins to ferment it will smell like the devil belched. Leave it a few weeks, then put on gloves and a gas mask (I pull my jersey over my nose and mouth) and ladle some into a watering can. Dilute it with clean water until it's about the colour of tea, and feed it to your plants. Tomatoes love it, so do courgettes and pumpkins, cucumbers, all those hungry crops that take a lot out of the soil. I'm told it's also good for flowers, and I'm prepared to believe it. The stuff is liquid gold and every gardener should have some on the go at all times. What's your excuse? Haven't you got enough weeds?
When you've used it all up, tip the foul black gunge that's left over on the compost heap and start another batch. See, even weeds have their uses!