Compost Tea – Organic Liquid Gold
Every time I talk about compost tea, I think about liquid gold, which then makes me think of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song. I feel like I’m starting the “If you give a mouse a cookie” thing, but I digress. Compost tea is by far one of the best things you can make for your garden, and it’s super simple and inexpensive to do.
Compost tea is basically a liquid fertilizer for your plants, and one of my favorite things to do is use it to fertilize the lawn. Let’s just say True Green hasn’t been by in a while. Our front lawn looks almost as good as the treated yards, but without all of the nasty chemicals.
What Compost Tea Does for Me
There are several benefits to using compost tea in the garden, on the lawn, or even with seedlings.
It increases plant growth.
Liquid fertilizer, need we say more?
It provides nutrients.
Nutrients from the compost are extracted into the liquid and are multiplied during the steeping process.
It provides beneficial organisms.
The beneficial bacteria also multiply during the steeping process as they are extracted from the compost.
By using compost, you are essentially recycling waste that would normally go into the landfill and are instead keeping your plants healthy and strong. Your compost tea is as good as the compost you use. We always recommend using an organic compost.
Compost tea has been shown to suppresses diseases.
Studies have shown that compost tea applied as a fertilizer can suppress various plant diseases. It makes sense, really. You are cultivating good bacteria in the soil which help to control the bad bacteria. Just like your doctor may tell you to eat a yogurt or take a probiotic to keep your gut health in check, your compost tea is doing the same for your soil.
Replaces toxic chemicals
Like we mentioned before, True Green has not been to our home in quite some time. Chemical fertilizers runoff into lakes and streams. Compost tea is organic with no harmful chemicals or pesticides.
Now for the good stuff. How do you make compost tea?
Imagine going to the grocery store and walking down the tea aisle. There are so many teas to choose from with different flavors and different benefits. The same is true when you’re making compost tea. We’ll show you a basic recipe first and show you some different ways to amend it.
- 5 gallon bucket
- cheesecloth or burlap
- air pump and air stones *optional*
1. Fill your 5 gallon bucket about 1/4-1/3 of the way with compost. Your compost should be fully cooked and appear coarse and crumbly. This can either be compost you’ve cooked yourself or even good quality store-bought compost.
2. Top the bucket off with water.
3. Let the mixture steep for 3-5 days, stirring at least once daily.
4. This is the optional step. After you initially mix the compost and water, you can add the air pump and air stones to aerate the mixture. Aerating adds oxygen which will increase the aerobic bacteria in the compost tea. (more oxygen = more organisms)
5. Strain the mixture through the cheesecloth/burlap.
You can either use the compost mixture straight, or if you are using it as a folier spray or on seedlings, you will want to dilute the mixture to about 10:1 with additional water.
Some extra tips
We also use organic concentrated fertilizers to make our compost tea. Traditionally, we will use a highly concentrated bat guano with extra nitrogen content in our tea. You can also use organic alfalfa pellets (cow feed) to add extra nitrogen. We’ve also used earthworm castings in our tea for extra nutrients.
Typically, compost tea is made without the extra aeration, however new studies are showing huge benefits to having the extra oxygen. By aerating, you add additional microbes by supplying the appropriate media for them to grow in. Once the oxygen is depleted, you are left with the anaerobic bacteria.
Aside from oxygen, you can also add a little molasses to jump start bacterial growth. Bacteria love sugar! A few recipes we’ve seen also recommend adding corn syrup. Once again, we only recommend using organic materials. You will also want to make sure your sprayer doesn’t have any pesticide residue.
Have any of you ever used or made compost tea? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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This article was re-posted from: bulletstobeans.com