Friday, July 20, 2012

Gardening blues

After spending two months overseas- I went scuba diving in Dayang, Layang Layang (Sabah), Moal Boal/Oslob (Cebu, Philipines) and a couple of days in Phuket getting massaged to death - I had to fly back home. Got an email from my brother-in-law back in mid-June telling me my mum suffered a stroke on the weekend (funny, I was praying about her when the event occurred) and I rushed back sans diving gear.

Anyway the old dear seems alright - but the doctors found some scar tissues in the brain which has to get checked out later on.

Meanwhile my garden looked alright. The dude I hired to come did his job. Well, he didn't do the top garden bed. But at least he did some serious work as opposed to the other jokers I hired the previous times.

Unfortunately the damn clover oxalis are still back in force despite repeated treatments of herbicides and weeding.

I hate the weeds so much. They suck up so much nutrients and to prevent regeneration you are advised to throw them away. What a waste.

I've been conducting an experiment. Rather than throwing them away, I am placing the oxalis into 140l wheelie bins and make weed tea.

 I buy them from Australian Waste Management which supplies them around $50 - $70. There is a $35 delivery charge per delivery so you save if buy more.

Click here to go there:

I chose the 140litre because the size is just right for me and my garden. The larger ones are just too big to man handle around - plus the bigger they are they harder it will be to scoop out the gunk.

Alright, weed tea is basically weeds in a container filled with water. Leave it alone for a week and they start to decompose and stink. Really stink. After about a month, the tea will stink so badly that any residue that gets onto you will make you only attractive to drunk skunks.

It will take ages for you to get the odor off you if you get it on your skin. Be warned.

But hey, on the bright side - all that awful oxalis and weeds -  is IN that infernal solution. Think about that!!!

So I leave the weeds in that solution for a long while. About 1 year. Earlier  on I may scoop out the stinky "tea" and pour it onto my lawn or open compost box. If any of the seeds regenerate at least on the lawn or open compost bin they would be easily identified and chemically destroyed in safety away from my precious real plants.

I try and not pour it onto my garden beds in case its contaminated with live grass seeds. If possible I keep it all in for as long as possible to totally eradicate the oxalis bulbs.

Actually come to think of it - I need to conduct an experiment - get oxalis bulbs, grass seeds and put them in three small containers filled with water and leave it there to rot for 3, 6, 12 months. And then try and plant the mix in pots to see whether the damn things grow back.

At the moment I don't know how long it will take before the oxalis bulbs gets disintegrated in weed tea.

But I've bought 2 wheelie bins and I'm buying another two more.

The contents of the first 2 wheelie bins have practically liquified. They were stuffed full of weeds and covered in water for over a year. Most of the weeds have been totally disintegrated but some of the more fibrous ones (uncut rye and kikuyu grass) are still in fiberous intact states, still dead but just one yucky spaghetti lump. I should have emptied out the contents ages ago rather than recontaminating it by throwing in more newer weeds. But 2 bins were never enough for my garden.

(postscript note: after about 2 years, it looks like most of the oxalis bulbs are dead. I emptied 80% of the content out already and it looks like they have all disintegrated. There might be some weed seeds hidden in the sludge at the bottom of the bin. But it looks like the experiement is going well. Having said that, its hard to say until after about a year or so after I've poured out the stuff. If my garden gets mightily reinfested with weeds I'll certainly let you know).

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