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Compost Tea can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to enrich your garden.
Making compost tea is simple and quick – and has three advantages for the garden. It’s a gentle tonic for plants. It encourages microbial activity in the soil, helps to break down organic matter and releases nutrients for plants, and some of those micro-organisms protect plants against disease. And thirdly, it continues a family tradition – my grandad really knew his onions!
My grandad, like most men of his generation, enjoyed a good cup of tea, and so did his garden – but his vegetables enjoyed a very different brew. At any time in his garden he would be making compost tea, using two things – either his own homemade compost or well-rotted cow manure. And it’s very simple to do.source: abc.net.au
What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a natural, nutritious plant fertilizer that is cost effective and low-strength. A major benefit is that it helps to promote plant health and suppresses fungal plant diseases.
The process of making compost tea extracts nutrients, beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes from aged compost – and suspends them in water. The resulting compost tea is in a form that makes the nutrients readily available to your plants as food.
It was discovered in Germany and became a practice to suppress foliar fungal diseases by nature of the bacterial competition, suppression, antibiosis on the leaf surface (phyllosphere).
It has also been used as a fertilizer although lab tests show it is very weak in nutrients with less than 100ppm of available nitrogen and potassium. Other salts present in the tea solution are sodium, chlorides and sulfates.
The extract is applied as a spray to non-edible plant parts such as seedlings, or as a soil-drench (root dip), or as a surface spray to reduce incidence of harmful phytopathogenic fungi in the phyllosphere. source: wikipedia.org
How To Make Compost Tea Fertilizer
There are different ways of making compost tea fertilizer. In this article I will be covering the simplest way of all – which doesn’t require any special equipment. Basically, you simple add your healthy compost to a bucket of water, let it sit for a few days, strain and use.
It is important to remember that E. coli can often be found in the raw ingredients of compost. If you are not sure of the origins of the compost you will be using, then you can invigorate it by adding some worm castings. If you have your own worm farm, then you have a great free resource that definitely contains viable, healthy micro-organisms.
Basic Compost Tea Recipe:
- Using the ratio of one part compost to 10 parts water – place aged compost and water in a bucket or barrel with a lid. Protect the barrel from cold and heat
- Stir the mix daily to aerate for 5 days
- After 5 days, strain the liquid off the compost using cheesecloth or burlap.
- Dilute the concentrate at a ratio of one part tea to four parts water
- Use the compost tea immediately
When you are making compost tea fertilizer, make sure that you only use well aged, earthy-smelling compost. If the compost smells sour or unpleasant, it may be anaerobic and there will not be many of the beneficial microbes you want living in it.
TIP! You may prefer to place your compost into a large open weave sack or bag, before putting it into the water. This will make it much easier when you go to separate the liquid tea from the compost – after brewing. You simply need to lift the compost bag out.
Making Compost Tea From Worm Castings
You can also make compost tea solely from your worm castings – using the exact same steps as described above.
Other Homemade Fertilizers:
If you do not have access to any compost, you can still make a very nutritious liquid fertilizer for your plants, easily. More on this method here: How To Make Plant Tea Fertilizer