We have already sung the praises of using compost tea in your garden. Click here to read those benefits. Read on to find out how easy it is to make.
Obviously you need compost. High quality compost made from diverse, healthy organic matter will give you the best compost tea. Well-aged compost is also preferable because the older it is, the more microorganisms it will have. It should have been decomposing for at least a few months. Compost that is not well-aged might contain harmful pathogens.
The particles in your compost should be small and well broken down. This will make the nutrients and microorganisms more easily available to be released into the water.
If you’re using tap water that contains chlorine, let the water sit out in the sun and fresh air for several hours. This will allow any chlorine in the water to break down, otherwise chlorine will kill the beneficial bacteria in the compost tea.
Put two shovelfuls of compost into a coarsely woven sack, old pillow case, or old pair of pantyhose, tie the top shut, and place the bag in the bottom of a bucket or barrel. Dilute by adding 5 parts water to 1 part compost. Let it “brew” for three to five days.
Alternatively you can soak the compost in the water and then pour it through a sieve when it is ready to use.
Some smallholders use a pump to aerate the liquid, but you can stir the mix every day to increase the oxygen uptake. This aeration is crucial to the formation of beneficial bacteria and the required fermentation process.
Some people also add molasses to further aid the fermentation process, but make sure that it does not contain sulphur, which will affect the beneficial microbes.
When you think the tea is ready, take out the bag. Dilute the resulting “tea” with water until it is light brown or the colour of weak tea and use.
Keep in mind that E. coli can be present in the raw ingredients of a compost pile, so do not apply compost tea to any vegetable within 3 weeks of its planned harvest date.
You can pour the tea around the roots of your plants or spray it directly onto the foliage.