compost tea tutorial

Compost Tea, Anyone?

Compost tea, the beverage of choice for flowers and vegetables, at least in my garden.  Compost tea is organic, cheap, easy to make, and it is packed with the nutrients your garden needs to grow and bloom.  My seedlings also receive a nice drink of compost tea once they have developed 3 to 4 of their first true leaves.  This tea fertilization is critical because seed stating mix is very low in nutrients, if it contains any at all.  While this is a great medium for starting seeds, the newly sprouted seedlings need the nutrients to develop into lush, green, healthy adults.

If you search online, you will see a number of different ways to brew your own compost tea.  Some set ups are very basic, while others require fancy equipment like aerators and pumps. Well, this girl favors a more basic method of brewing tea and it has worked well for me for years.  Here is what you will need.

Supplies:

  • Compost
  • Water
  • Coffee Filters
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Watering Can or Bucket

1.  Place a scoop of compost into a coffee filter.

2.  Fold the coffee filter into a ball shape, gathering the edges together at the top.

3.  Tie off the edges with a piece of twine, forming a tea bag.

4.  Fill a watering can, or bucket, with water and submerge the tea bag.

5.  Tie the tea bag string to the watering can’s handle so you don’t lose the string in the water.

6.  Place the watering can in a warm sunny location and give it a vigorous stir with a spoon or stick.  While I was making my tea, this sweet little lady bug came over to observe.  Encounters like this with nature are one of my favorite things about gardening.

7.  Every 3-4 hours, give the tea a nice stir and poke at the tea bag to create air bubbles and release the tea bag goodness.

8.  Allow the tea to brew in the sun for 24 hours.  You will know the tea is ready when it goes from clear to a nice rich muddy brown.  Mmmmmm.  Doesn’t that look tasty?

9.  Remove the tea bags and give your plants a delicious drink of homebrewed compost tea.  They will love you!

You can even skip the tea bag method all together and just throw a shovel full of compost into a wheel barrow full of water.  Stir and brew in the sun the same way you do the tea bags.  This version is a little more white trash, but it works and it’s a quick way to make a large batch of tea.

Have you ever brewed compost tea?  Do you have a secret family recipe?  If so, I would love to hear it.  Happy tea making!

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