The Secrets to Making Great Compost Tea
When I first mentioned I was going to make compost tea, my friends thought I was nuts. They thought I’d be drinking it. But when I explained that it was for my plants, they just nodded their heads. Uh huh, here she goes again!
What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a solution made from compost. You can use any kind of compost, but those that are well aged have the most nutrients. Vermicompost, which is made from worm castings, is probably the best you can find. The worms do the work in a very short time, often cutting years off the normal schedule. Compost normally takes 3-4 years to fully break down. This is, if it’s done naturally. If you use a machine, or a roller, compost will decompose more quickly due to retained heat and moisture. Whatever kind of compost you use, be sure it has no chemicals that may harm your plants.
Directions For Making Your Own
Setting up a home tea brewer is easy. Here are the directions:
Gather these supplies
- a five gallon bucket (find one here)
- an old pillowcase
- string to tie the pillowcase
- a few tablespoons of molasses (find organic molasses here)
- an aquarium pump (find pumps here)
- a length of air hose long enough to go from the pump to the air stone (find it here)
- an air stone for an aquarium (find it here)
- Clean the bucket well with water only. Don’t use bleach or detergents.
- Place a shovel full of compost in the pillowcase and tie it tightly with string. Place it in the bucket.
- Cover the pillowcase with water. Fill the bucket most of the way to the top.
- Add the molasses. It will feed the beneficial bacteria and provide the plants with iron.
- Attach the air stone to the hose going to the pump. Place the air stone in the water and the pump on a surface higher than the water. This will reduce the chance of back-flow if the electricity should be cut off.
- Turn the pump on. The air stone will bubble, feeding oxygen to the bacteria.
It will take a few days for the tea to be ready. When it is, drain the water into a bucket and water your plants right away. There is no holding time as the bacteria will start to die when the oxygen is cut off. If the weather is cool, it may last a day or two, but no longer.