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How To Make Compost Tea Easily: Check This Out!

Looking for a way to give your precious plants a little oomph? How about a good dose of homemade compost tea, a brew made from water and finished compost? 

Using this magic elixir in your garden, especially if you have hebes, is one of the best ways to get some beneficial organisms to the root zone of your plants.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to make compost tea!

A watering can beside a tiered planter

Compost Tea: Pros And Cons

While there are many people who love compost tea for its amazing benefits for the plants in their garden, there appear to be quite a few people who are certain that it just doesn’t work. 

So, before we hop into the actual recipes and methods, let’s go through some of the benefits of compost tea and some of its drawbacks.

Pros

  • Compost tea is quite cost-effective and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to make.
  • Even beginner gardeners can easily make it because it’s so simple.
  • It improves the nutrients in soil and water retention, even in sandy soil.
  • It fights against harsh chemicals in herbicides and pesticides, which harm beneficial microorganisms.
  • It can be tweaked to suit the specific needs of your plants and regional weather conditions.
  • It stimulates plant growth, particularly at the root.

Cons

  • There isn’t much scientific proof indicating its efficacy.
  • It can be quite time-consuming because there’s a long waiting period involved before you can actually use it.
  • The results may differ depending on the types of plants you use it on, so you won’t really be able to determine what kind of result you’ll achieve throughout your garden.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the recipes and methods!

How To Make Compost Tea – The Original Method

compost soaked in water

Most compost tea brewers follow this basic recipe and method. This simple method is tried and tested and used by many to promote healthy plants all around the world, no matter what their condition.  

What You Need

  • 4 gallons of non-chlorinated water
  • 1-2 cups of inoculant (see below)
  • 4 cups of organic matter such as manure or organic compost (Don’t forget you can make your own compost out of shredded leaves)
  • ¼ – ½ cup of food source for bacteria or fungi
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Porous fabric or a burlap bag
  • A piece of string or rope
  • A plastic watering can or sprayer

You can use rainwater as your water source, but if you’re unable to collect some, you can also leave tap water out to sit for 24 hours before making your compost tea. 

Inoculant is essentially bacteria that possess living microbes which promote the growth and development of plants. The inoculant you use could be worm castings  or high-quality compost – they work equally as well when making compost tea! A highly recommended one is Charlie’s Compost , which is lauded for its use in compost tea.

In terms of the food, you use for bacteria or fungi, you’re going to want to keep in mind that they both thrive on different food. Bacteria require simple sugars and protein, while fungi require more complex sugars. To create a good environment for both bacteria and fungi, you should use a combination of the foods that they thrive on.

For bacteria, you could use something like unsulphured molasses , and for fungi, you could use humic acid . Fish hydrolysate and kelp/seaweed are also options to consider.

Steps

  1. Add water (non-chlorinated rainwater) to your bucket.


  2. Add in your inoculant and food source. If you’re using worm castings and/or molasses, add them straight into the bucket. If you’re adding compost, add your compost to a piece of porous fabric and tie it to resemble the shape of a bag.


  3. Tie a piece of string or rope to your bag so that you can remove it easily.

  4. Let it sit in the bucket of water and inoculant for 24 hours.

  5. Once the 24 hours are up, remove the compost tea bag.


    Image credit: flickr.com

  6. Add the mixture to a plastic watering can or sprayer.

  7. Apply your finished compost tea to the area you wish to target, making sure you use it within 4 hours after it’s ready because it’ll lose its potency if left out for too long.

How To Make A Chemical-Free Compost Tea

Not a fan of using chemicals to treat the plants in your garden? Then this compost tea recipe is for you! This chemical-free compost tea recipe is easy peasy and it’s the next best thing to the original one. 

What You Need

  • 4 gallons of non-chlorinated tap water 
  • 2 cupsorganic compost 
  • 1 tablespoon liquid kelp fertilizer 
  • 1 teaspoon liquid fish fertilizer
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Porous fabric or a nylon stocking 
  • A piece of string or rope
  • A plastic watering can or sprayer

Steps

  1. Fill up your bucket with water.
    a basin of water
  2. Add in the liquid kelp fertilizer , liquid fish fertilizer and unsulphured blackstrap molasses.Kellogg Garden Organics 32 oz. Fish and Kelp Liquid Fertilizer
  3. Place your organic compost , in the center of a piece of porous fabric and tie it into a bag.
    a bag of compost
  4. Tie a piece of string or rope to your bag so that you can remove it easily. A nearby hook, like seen in this picture, can also help suspend the bag above water to make it easier to remove.
    a knotted piece of string
  5. Let it steep for 24 hours.
  6. Once the 24 hours are up, remove the compost-pile filled bag.
  7. Add the mixture to a plastic watering can or sprayer and apply it to the soil surrounding the plants in your garden area you wish to treat.

How To Make An Aerated Compost Tea

Aerated compost bin tea is considered to have the greatest concentration of microbial life of all compost teas. This method of brewing compost tea involves the use of oxygen and reduces the risk of pathogens that your plants will be exposed to. Aerating the mixture promotes the growth of the organisms present in it.

The trick to making this compost tea as yummy as possible is to make sure you use high-quality compost. Good compost doesn’t have any harmful pathogens that could endanger the plants in your garden, so it’s definitely the best choice of compost for making tea.

To maintain the most diverse number of aerobic organisms, make sure you use the mixture within 4 hours after it has been aerated, as it will lose its potency if left around for longer than that.

What You Need 

  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • 4 gallons of non-chlorinated water
  • 2 tablespoons of soluble nutrients, such as soluble kelp powder, humic acid, or liquid fish fertilizer
  • 4 cups of compost 
  • A 400-micron filter bag
  • An aquarium or air pump
  • 2 airstones (aquarium bubbler)
  • A sprayer or watering can

Steps

  1. Fill your bucket with water.

    a bucket of clear water
    Image credit: flickr.com
  2. Aerate the non-chlorinated water in the bucket using an aquarium or air pump connected to 2 air stones.NICREW UFO Aquarium Air Pump, Ultra Silent Air Aerator Pump for Fish Tank, Oxygen Pump with Dual Outlets, Accessories Included, 2.5W

  3. Add the compost to the filter bag and place it into the water.

    compost tea bags being soaked in water
    Image credit: flickr.com
  4. Add in your chosen nutrient source.
  5. Steep the above for 24 to 36 hours.
  6. When it is ready, you should get a sweet, earthy smell and see a bubble-covered surface.
  7. Dilute in some water or apply it full strength if your plants are doing poorly. You can apply it to the soil or foliage within 4 hours of completion.

    a plant being watered

Think you’d like to try your hand at making compost? How about getting some help in the form of a Garden Tower 2? Check out this amazing review to find out how this wonderful garden tool can help you make some compost at home! 

Useful Videos: Watch These Methods In Action

Making Compost Tea Using The Original Method

Making Aerated Compost Tea

Making Tea Out Of Compost – General Guidelines

Temperature

You should try to steep your compost tea in an environment that is between 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that exceed this range will limit the diversity of microbes in your tea and possibly kill them. Temperatures lower than 60 degrees will also limit the diversity of microbes and slow down activity.

If you’re unable to reach an adequate temperature, you could use a small submersible aquarium heater .

Applying Compost Tea

If your plants have edible leaves, make sure not to spray the compost tea onto the leaves just in case it contains traces of harmful microbes. Direct the tea onto the base and soil around it so that it can penetrate into the root zone of the plant. 

Improving Results

So you’ve tried it out and the results weren’t as good as you expected? How about giving it one more try? To improve the potency of your compost tea, let it steep for a couple more hours than you did on your first try.

Don’t forget that the longer you leave it out after brewing, the less potent it will be. So it’s best used immediately after it’s done brewing.

Mix, Mix, Mix

When you add your burlap or porous fabric-enclosed compost, make sure you stir it into the water thoroughly for at least 2 minutes. This will ensure that the compost is soaked into the water, allowing for the nutrients to steep in it properly.

Frequency Of Application

You should apply your concoction once every 14 to 30 days during the growing season for optimal results. It should also be applied in the morning to avoid contact with harmful UV rays, thereby protecting against microbial damage.

Shelf Life

Compost tea has a very short shelf life and should ideally be used within 4 hours after it’s ready. The only instance where you could leave it to brew a little longer is if you’ve tried out the original recipe and it didn’t give you great results. Brewing it longer will give it some more time to steep in that compost and inoculant goodness.

FAQs

Does Compost Tea Really Work?

Compost tea really works. The nutrients in compost tea are diluted, making it easier for the plants to absorb them. It helps the soil retain water, reduces fertilizer usage and improves soil pH levels. It also suppresses foliar diseases and speeds up the breakdown of toxins.

Is Compost Tea A Fertilizer?

Compost tea is not a fertilizer. It is made by steeping compost into the water that is used to brew the tea. It can sometimes be referred to as a weak fertilizer, but it cannot be regarded as a traditional fertilizer.

Can I Make Compost Tea With Unfinished Compost?

You should not make compost tea with unfinished compost. This is because immature compost may contain harmful pathogens that could damage your plants.

Ready To Brew A Batch Of Compost Tea?

Compost tea is one of the most inexpensive and easy-to-make concoctions that can be used on plants to help them thrive. This tea is raved about by many! From encouraging moisture and nutrient uptake to speeding up the breakdown of toxins, compost tea is sure to give you healthy plants. 

While compost tea has numerous benefits, it’s recommended that you use it in conjunction with other plant care products, as opposed to relying solely on it, for the best results possible. 

There may not be many studies that prove the efficacy of compost tea, but thousands of gardeners across the globe swear by this miracle plant drink for optimized plant resilience.

Are you ready? Now you know how to brew compost tea to give your plants a healthy boost? I hope you found this article to be helpful! Please let us know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Last update on 2022-05-22 at 00:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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