There are plenty of good reasons for gardeners to make compost tea, but above all, it provides a natural alternative to enrich the soil without using chemical based fertilizers and damaging the environment. Making compost tea doesn’t need to be hard work and it costs you almost nothing.
Compost tea is easily made by soaking or steeping compost in water. The resulting compost tea is used for either a foliage application (sprayed on the leaves) or applied to the soil.
We all know that compost is a wonderful addition to soil and helps our gardens grow better. You and your garden plants can benefit even more by using compost tea.
You can use compost tea to replace chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, you can garden safer and be more protective of the environment. Here are the advantages of using compost tea:
- Increases plant growth
- Provides nutrients to plants and soil
- Provides beneficial organisms
- Helps to suppress diseases (especially those caused by nutrients deficiency)
- Replaces toxic garden chemicals and improves soil quality
- Two 5 gallon buckets
- One gallon mature compost
- One aquarium pump
- One gang valve (used to divide the air supply into several streams)
- Four gallons of water
- Three feet of aquarium tubing/hose
- Unsulfured molasses
Now let’s get to work!
Attach 3 separate pieces of hose at least 12” long to the gang valve.
Place the gang valve onto the bucket and make sure the hoses reach the bottom of the bucket.
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Add your finished compost and make sure the ends of the hoses are covered.
Add the water, filling the bucket to within 6 inches of the top. If you are using water from a public source, it is recommended to run the pump and bubble air through the water for at least an hour before adding the water to the compost. This will allow any chlorine to evaporate and it’s highly important for the success of your compost team. The chlorine contained in the water can kill beneficial organisms in the tea.
Add 1 ounce of unsulfured molasses to provide a food source for the beneficial microorganisms.
After brewing the mixture, you need to strain the tea. You can use a cheesecloth and strain the compost tea into another bucket. You can put the compost solids back into the compost pile or you can use them to fertilize your garden. Waste nothing!
The tea should smell sweet and earth. If it smells bad, do not use it on your plants, but rather dump the mixture back into the compost pile.
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Apply the compost tea to your flower and vegetable plants immediately since the beneficial microbes will begin to die shortly after the air source is removed.
You can sprinkle the compost tea onto the foliage and the soil around each plant. The tea will provide nutrients and an energy boost to your garden plants. It is recommended that you apply compost tea every two weeks to your garden if you are aiming for a successful gardening season.
By using compost tea you return organic matter to the soil in a usable form. Organic matter in the soil improves plant growth by helping to break up heavy clay soils and improving their structure, by adding water and nutrient-holding capacity to sandy soils, and by adding essential nutrients to any soil. Improving your soil is the first step toward improving the health of your plants.
Happy gardening and God Bless!
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