Compost tea is renowned to be a great organic fertilizer for the garden. While you can make a version of compost tea with some compost tumblers like the Envirocycle compost tea maker, the real McCoy is brewed up with the finished compost instead of the percolating compost. Here is a look at some tips for compost tea maker.
Compost Tea – A Quick Boost For The Garden
By Darrell Feltmate
Compost tea is a quick “pick me up” for the garden in much the same way a nice cup of hot tea is for most gardeners. It is simple to make, easy to use, and great for the garden.
In the middle of the growing season the initial soil enhancements may be somewhat depleted by continuing plant growth, plus the plants themselves may need a bit of a boost . This is especially true just as they are producing fruits and seeds for us such as cucumbers beginning to bear fruit or peas starting to swell in the pods. These are times of great energy use by the plants and a lift can help them produce a bumper crop.
Compost tea is a great liquid fertilizer in these situations.
1.There is no need to disturb the soil and dig in fertilizer, just pout it on. This is especially important for plants like cucumbers, peas and beans that hate having their roots disturbed.
2.Unlike commercial liquid fertilizers it will not burn plant foliage or roots, no matter the concentration.
3.It is easy to make and there is no wastage.
All that is needed to make the compost tea are a 5 gallon bucket, a feed sack or burlap bag or similar (some folks even use and old pillow case), a bit of rope, compost and water.
1.Put a couple of shovelfuls of your best compost in the sack.
2.Tie it closed with the rope leaving a length to hang out of the bucket.
3.Put the compost “tea bag” in the bucket, leaving the end of the string outside for easy removal.
4.Fill the bucket with water.
5.Leave it in the hot sun for three days to a week.
The “tea” should be a rick, dark color. If it looks too dark, dilute it with some more water, if not dark enough, let it sit a little longer. There is nothing crucial here as far as measurement is concerned. It will not burn the plants regardless of strength and even if weak it is a nice boost with no harm done.
Water your plants with the compost tea. Some nutrients may be absorbed by the leaves and it may be used to water the whole plant but it is best used by watering the root zone. Simply by watering directly from a bucket that has sat in the same conditions as the garden prevents the shock of watering with a cold hose. Add to this the nutrient rich tea and the plants get a nice boost with little shock to the system.
The spent compost from the bag can be replaced in the compost pile, used for soil amendments, or placed around a plant as mulch. There is nothing wasted. Another pail of tea can be started right away if there is still compost ready to use.
Darrell Feltmate is an avid gardener who has been composting and gardening for over 25 years with gardens up to 1/2 acre and compost piles for each. His composting site may be found at Compost Central. You can become a master composter in no time at all.
Compost is a great addition to any garden and is not hard to make. For more information and instruction refer to Compost Central.