Grow Your Own Magazine

Navbar button growfruitandveg.co.uk Logo
Forum Navigation

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Storm's Avatar
    Storm is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Leicester
    Posts
    132

    Default Making compost (as silage) from weeds

    Has anyone ever tried making compost/mulch from weeds?? does it work well?

    We have been clearing our plot of the pernicious weeds (nettles, snitch, docks etc.) that had over run it for the last decage as it lay untended.

    The amount of weed material is staggering with a couple of 1.5 x 5m beds yielding full dustbin bags that number into double figures. our plot is 22 x 14m so there will be far more to come!!

    Rather than just burn the weeds, I was wondering if it were possible to leave them to convert to "silage" in the bags and then stick them on the compost heap or directly on the ground in autumn? Storage space on such a big plot is not a problem but there are insufficient water resources/large containers to drown them in first.

    My main concern is that the weeds are thorougly killed by the process.

    Has anyone ever tried this? How long were the weeds left to decompose? Were there any problems with weeds surviving/spreading when the compost was used?

    This is the first year with this plot so we have nothing for compost for next year and it seems a shame to burn/dump what could be a valuable organic resource....

    Any help appreciated!!
    Last edited by Storm; 30-04-2008 at 10:34 AM.
    Vegetable Rights And Peace!

  2. #2
    snuffer is offline Tuber
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edingley, A small village in Nottinghamshire near Southwell
    Posts
    935

    Default Composting Weeds

    I'm not sure if this will be of any help but here goes.

    Most of the above ground stuff can be composted (but not seed heads) the problem comes from the roots of perenial weeds. It is not something I do myself but I know of one guy on our allotment site who spreads out the roots thinly on top of polythene and cooks them in the sun until they are bone dry and desicated. He then adds them to his heap. Seems to work for him but how long you'd have to store them in the bin bags before we get the kind of weather that might dry them out is anyones guess.

    Raining again here in Edingley and it looks like there's more to come.

    I have no doubt that someone else, more kowledgable, will come along and give you valid reasons why this should not be done. I am only reporting what I have seen others do but have never tried it myself.

  3. #3
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    windy east coast, sandy soil
    Posts
    31,000

    Default

    I have done all this, and it all works:
    • dry them in the sun/open air until brown & crispy. Then add to compost
    • drown them in a water butt until stinky & no green shoots are showing
    • cover with carpet in situ for 6 months to a year. Virtually all weeds will be gone
    • leave weeds in black bags until rotted (6 months+)
    • burn them, add ash to compost

    It all depends on how much space and time you have
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  4. #4
    Storm's Avatar
    Storm is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Leicester
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snuffer View Post
    Most of the above ground stuff can be composted (but not seed heads) the problem comes from the roots of perenial weeds. It is not something I do myself but I know of one guy on our allotment site who spreads out the roots thinly on top of polythene and cooks them in the sun until they are bone dry and desicated. .
    Quote Originally Posted by Two_Sheds View Post
    I have done all this, and it all works:
    • dry them in the sun/open air until brown & crispy. Then add to compost
    • drown them in a water butt until stinky & no green shoots are showing
    • cover with carpet in situ for 6 months to a year. Virtually all weeds will be gone
    • leave weeds in black bags until rotted (6 months+)
    • burn them, add ash to compost

    It all depends on how much space and time you have
    thanks for the suggestions! Snuffer and Two_sheds!

    we don't have seed heads as all weeds were cut in winter and burned. these are the roots and new spring shoots that, as Snuffer said, will spread again if put back in the ground with any life in them. our lottie is *very* windy and dry - i think the former would probably scatter the weeds again and we don't have water enough to drown the quantity of weeds that have come up.

    i think that we will have to go down the route of leaving the weeds in plastic bags for 6 months - we're in the process of putting weedtex down and planting things through holes... but there are already weeds squeezing through with our fruit bushes....Grrrrrrr!!!!
    Vegetable Rights And Peace!

  5. #5
    Sue
    Sue is offline Cropper
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tunbridge Wells, Kent
    Posts
    1,591

    Default

    Storm
    When I took over my allotment it was the usual dense weedfilled area and I'm on heavy clay and with the rain or as I started in the drought year, there's very little time when the ground is ideal for digging. So my weeds, couch, bindweed, docks etc all came up with clods of earth ie mud. This has filled 6 compost bins. I've left them for two years and am now in the process of sieving them out. The earth is workable and I'm reclaiming all that was once mud and clods, Currently reclaimed 200 litres of soil to go back on the allotment, stones for the path to my shed and the weed roots that are left like couch and bindweed are going in the waterbutt to rot down. So that's gradually getting rid of the problem.
    Hope that helps
    Sue

Similar Threads

  1. Weeds growing through compost
    By Bmac in forum Allotment Advice
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-08-2009, 07:33 AM
  2. Making compost
    By ukmastiff in forum New Shoots
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-03-2009, 11:41 AM
  3. making a pallet compost bin
    By Two_Sheds in forum Allotment Advice
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 12-03-2008, 09:05 PM
  4. making good compost
    By Tigerella in forum Digging Around
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 22-05-2007, 10:15 AM
  5. Weeds on the compost... silly question?
    By WiZeR in forum Allotment Advice
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 09-12-2005, 06:05 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts