Green Education Center

How to make Compost Tea

As an organic gardener, I am always looking for ways to add fertility to my garden. One of the fastest and most effective methods I have found is the addition of compost tea. What is compost tea? Compost tea is an aerobic water solution that increases microbe population found in compost along with other ingredients. Compost tea makes the benefits of compost go farther. What’s more, when sprayed on the leaves, compost tea helps suppress foliar diseases, increases the amount of nutrients available to the plant, and speeds the breakdown of toxins. Using compost tea has even been shown to increase the nutritional quality and improve the flavor of vegetables. If you’ve been applying compost to your soil only in the traditional way, you’re missing out on a whole host of benefits.

 

What you will need:

You will need good compost. I use a mix of worm castings and compost from a pile. This gives me a good bacterial and fungal microbe balance.

Air pump (like in a fish tank).

Water- preferably rainwater. If you use city water let is sit for a day to evaporate chlorine.

Unsulphured molasses.

 

How to make compost tea:

First, add your air pump to the bucket. The more thoroughly it aerates the entire container, the better.

Fill the bucket with water.

Next add your ingredients: the compost and molasses.

Let the compost tea brew for about 24 hours.

The next day, check your compost tea. It should smell nice. If it smells unpleasant, start over. Sometimes teas will have a slightly unpleasant smell. This is okay to use, but not ideal. Ideally teas will smell fresh and earthy.

Strain out the compost and immediately apply your tea to the garden, on both the soil and over the entire plant.

 

Here is a simple recipe to add to your garden: (5 gallon bucket)

4 gallon recipe:

1/2 pound compost from a pile

1/2 pound fresh worm castings

4 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

optional:

1.5 ounces humic acid

1 ounce liquid kelp meal

 

We make our compost tea in 250 gallon batches. I would not recommend doing this unless you have a lot of garden space as you can not store compost tea.

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Happy gardening and make sure you check out our classes and events here!

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