There are several ways to make compost tea, ranging from a bucket full of dried weeds covered and steeped in rain water, to expensive compost tea ‘brewers’ with special aeration devices.
I prefer to keep it simple, and cheap.
Here’s what my system of making compost tea entails:
Use a dark container, not a clear one - light can cause algae to grow.
Always cover your container, both to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs, and also to prevent curious squirrels or other creatures from drowning in the tea.
Be prepared for the fermenting liquid to smell, sometimes quite strongly.
Stirring vigorously to add air to the mixture will help prevent this.
Other ingredients for compost tea include molasses, which is thought to attract the spores of local yeasts.
Yeast provides Vitamin B compounds which are important nutrients for many plants, as well as to feed the micro herd.
I make compost tea to feed pretty much everything in my garden.
Growing vegetables, especially those that like a richer soil and higher nutrition like tomatoes and squash do really well with a regular sprinkling of compost tea made with either chicken manure compost or that made with kitchen scraps.
A cupful in the planting hole of most crops will give them a head start.
You can feed the soil, or feed the crops with a foliar spray, as they can absorb the nutrients right through their leaves.
Many gardeners swear that their crops are more disease resistant and healthier than crops grown with just soil borne fertilizers.
Don’t forget to feed your mulch.
If you’ve got a little patch of buckwheat, ryegrass or other green plants that you cut for mulching, it will benefit from the occasional sprinkle with compost tea too, plus release those valuable nutrients into the soil when they're cut for mulch.
Mulching or top dressing with either a leguminous green manure or alfalfa pellets scattered around the base of the plant is a safer way of fertilizing those plants that are fruiting – it’s not as crucial to provide a high nitrogen source at that stage of growth, mostly irrigation.
There will still be nutrients left behind.
So, what’s stopping you from making a batch of compost tea?
Start today, and in a couple of weeks you’ll have a rich source of nutrients, yeasts and bacteria specially customized to your conditions.
Compost tea - if it is the liquid accumulated at the bottom of the compost heap, can it be used directly on plants? I forgot the lid off my compost bin, which does not have drainage holes. It filled with rain water. Is that compost tea?
Dilute this 1 part concentrate to 10 parts water and test it on a plant that you don't care about first. If it improves the health of the plant, congratulations - you've developed an easier way yet!
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