Compost tea is a low strength, natural and an effective fertilizer mainly used for seedlings and garden plants. In most cases it is usually in the form of a liquid gold fertilizer and is usually used as either soil drench or foliar spray depending on the needs of the plants.
Compost tea can be easily made at home using fresh well finished compost and just as its name suggests it is made simply by steeping well finished compost in water.
Most gardeners know that compost works wonders since it nourishes the soil as well as their plants. Most of these gardeners however lack sufficient knowledge on how to brew compost tea from the comfort of their homes.
Commercial compost tea brewing machines tend to make the brewing process easy since they tend to provide compost, equipment as well as the instructions to be followed during the brewing process. However one can still make compost tea using materials purchased from a pet or hobby shop or even the home prepared manure.
This article therefore provides a brief overview of simple steps to follow in making homemade brewed compost tea.
Steps to brew homemade compost tea
- Good quality well finished compost.
- A stick to stir.
- Cheese cloth or other porous material.
- Fill a bucket 1/3 full with quality well finished compost manure.
- Fill the bucket with water to the top. Use un chlorinated water or any other good water.
- Add molasses to the compost. About 1 ounce of molasses will do.
- Leave the mixture to steep for about 3-5 days. Stir the mixture continuously from time to time using a stick.
- Strain the mixture using a cheese cloth or any other porous fabric. The remaining solids should then be added in to the garden or to a compost bin.
- For the other liquid remaining in the bucket, dilute it with water so that it’s the color of weak tea. Here use the ratio of 10:1 that is the ratio of water to tea.
- Use the tea immediately for optimal absorption by the plants. Leaving the tea unused within 12 hours may result in to death of aerobic microbes without the benefit of aeration.
Once you make compost tea make sure that it has a sweet and earthy smell. Foul smell from the brewed compost tea may be an indication that the tea contains harmful microbes and should therefore not be used for plants. One can also have the brewed compost tested at labs that offer this service to be sure that it is free from harmful pathogens.
The above simple steps in combination with the following factors will help determine the quality of compost tea that a gardener makes.
Factors that improve the quality of compost tea.
1. Mature well finished compost.
Compost that is not mature may contain harmful pathogens that may interfere with the quality of the tea while too old manure may be deficient of some nutrients. Therefore gardeners should be keen in using mature and well finished compost in brewing compost tea.
2. Aeration and a sugar source.
For the sugar source, unsulphered, molasses works better and results in to good quality compost tea.
Aeration is important for the formation of bacteria that are beneficial since they are used in the fermentation process.
3. Supplements such as powdered seaweed and fish emulsion.
This helps improving the nutrition content of the compost tea making it a well-balanced liquid gold organic fertilizer.
Some people may wonder why we have to go an extra mile to brew compost into compost tea rather than just applying compost into the soil.
Here are the reasons behind the tedious brewing and straining of the compost.
- When sprayed directly on the leaves, the compost tea helps suppress foliar diseases.
- It increases plant growth by providing them with a wide range of minerals and nutrients.
- Helps replace toxic garden chemicals resulting from the use of chemical based fertilizers.
- Brewed compost tea is easy to transport and apply to the plants as compared to the compost itself which tends to be heavy and bulky to transport and spread.
Compost tea can be used in the form of a root drench or as a foliar spray depending on the needs of the plants.
Gardeners should try and follow the above simple instructions to prepare brewed compost tea and apply it to their plants. The results are definitely amazing!