Compost tea is the perfect way to boost your plants growth and obtain higher yields – NATURALLY. Better yet, you can make it for free using your own compost! We keep our garden productive year after year by following a simple and organic three prong approach. We use compost (composting 101) and cover crops (planting cover crops) for building great soil structure and vitality – AND we boost plants during the growing season with a simple homemade natural liquid fertilizer on our plants called compost tea.
Compost Tea takes full advantage of the rich fertile nutrients in compost.
All you need to make your own compost tea is a couple of shove fulls of compost, A 5 gallon bucket and water
Compost tea or “black liquid gold” is the all organic “miracle-growing” solution to fertilizing the garden – minus the chemicals and high salt content that commercial fertilizers add to your soil. It works its magic in two ways – feeding your plants through the roots (soil zones around plants) and the leaves (foliar zones). Unlike synthetic fertilizers, it won’t build up chemicals and salt levels that can slowly destroy your soil structure. Instead, adding nutrients that build it!
If you follow along with our blog, you know how important compost is in building healthy soil. We add large amounts of compost to all of our planting beds each year, as well as a good shovel full in every single planting hole. Well, that compost, made from our decomposed vegetable scraps, chicken manure, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and more – is teeming with all-natural, plant-boosting nutrients. By converting those nutrients into a liquid form – we can utilize those nutrients as an organic fertilizer to naturally boost plants growth through the growing season.
How we use it:
Compost tea provides vital nutrients for strong, healthy plants like this tangerine orange pepper plant in our garden.
Compost tea works through absorption via the leaves and soil
Compost Tea can be applied about every two weeks to your garden plants once plants and transplants have become established. By established, we simply mean that they have been in the ground 7 to 10 days and are over the initial shock of transplant.
We apply ours with a watering can or a simple garden sprayer – soaking the area around the root base and the leaves of each plant with the solution. The minerals and nutrients are then absorbed through the leaves (foliar absorption) as well as through the root zone – doubling the effect. As with watering, it is best to apply early in the day before the sun is too hot and the tea can burn the leaves of plants.
We repeat the compost tea applications every two weeks until about mid July. Why stop? Too much of a good thing can also be bad. You want plants to develop strong roots and stems – but too much and the plant will spend all of its energy creating thick foliage and not much fruit. We have found that 4 to 6 total applications seem to be the perfect mix for giving plants the boost they need for good higher yields. The best part – its 100% natural, with no fear of having to use any chemicals in your garden.
How we make it:
There are many ways to make compost tea – but we have found this method to be easy, effective, and most importantly, simple!
BASIC COMPOST TEA RECIPE:
- Start by filling a clean bucket 1/3 full of compost
- Next, fill the bucket to within a few inches of the top and stir thoroughly.
- Let the mixture steep for 5 to 7 days, stirring a few times each day.
- Strain the mixture through a strainer or cloth after 5 to 7 days.
You can get a little more fancy in your compost tea making if you desire. It has been shown that adding a simple aquarium pump to the bucket and letting it run to percolate the mixture will increase the potency of the finished mixture, and can be completed in as little as 2 days. Others also add molasses or sugar to the mixture to increase the absorption of the water and organisms.
However, for us, the simple bucket and stirring method has certainly worked wonders for our garden. Besides, the extra few days we let ours steep in the water is worth not having to go through the trouble of setting up a pump, wires, etc. For us, keeping it simple is the key!
Although not appetizing to drink -compost tea is great for your plants!
So how about trying your own liquid gold this year and get those plants growing big and strong!
About our guest…
We are simply two individuals committed to a more simple approach to life, who want to be responsible for a majority of the food we eat, and conserve the resources we consume. We both came from great families who gardened, and both have fond childhood memories of working alongside our parents in the garden and kitchen. We remember homegrown meals, and great winter dishes made from the food we grew and canned in the summer. We both loved it, and strive to once again create a household that embraces those values responsibly. Simply put – to do things the best way possible for us and the land.