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in Problem solving
For anyone plagued by mare's tail in their garden, I have learned from a new friend in a local gardening club that it can be put to good use if you pull it up and dry it out then make a concoction.
Place 250g of the dried weed in 10 litres of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes and then leave to infuse for one night. Strain, then dilute 1:5 in water and spray on plants susceptible to rust, scab, mildew and some viruses. It's also supposed to be full of minerals so a good fertiliser and growth booster for young plants.
I haven't tried it myself but all this rain means I do have a whole new infestation in one of my beds and, since it can't go on the compost heap for fear of it spreading to other beds, I will be putting it to the test instead of putting it in the bin.
I think a lot of perennial weeds that have deep rootstocks bring up nutrients from deeper in the soil (up to 6ft) Nettles and comfrey are known for it. Probably bindweed, and docks are high in nutrients as well. I would be loathe to use them though because the tiniest bit of root will spread the weed, and I have spent too much time forking out noxious weeds to want to risk further spread. Boiling mares tails should kill it though. I saw a healthy stand of comfrey tonight, driving back from work. It reminded me I need to harvest a load to make tomato feed.
I leave a barrel of water standing on my allotment and throw in any mares tail, bindweed, dandylion etc that I pull up. at the end of the year I empty the barrel of all vegetable matter an put it on the compost heap (making sure I haven't put anything in the barrel for six weeks). The liquid left in the barrel is high grade plant food.
Only drawback is it whiffs a bit
That's really interesting obelixx. We think of these things as a real pest but it just shows they all have their place.
I suppose if you're getting really good plant food Ian - the pong's worth it!