It’s Tea Time! You got to make your own precious tea this time. But it’s not really for you. This tea is for your babies over the garden. I know we all make compost, but is it really enough for our plants? True that compost nourishes your plant. But what about the various types of deficiencies which affect on your plant? Having a thought of getting rid of deficiencies and boosting your plants growth and health, let’s have a look at what’s on earth is compost tea and how to brew your own compost tea.
Well, this is not a very new invention. The concept of compost tea was practically used a long time back in early Roman, Egyptian and time of Greeks. Unfortunately, most of the plants died due to compost tea back on those times. Not to worry, now we are developed scientifically; which has generated successful stories in compost tea brewing.
Simply compost tea is prepared using good quality compost plus non-chlorine water. You should be cautious not to make your compost tea anaerobic. That can be accomplished either by using an aquarium pump with a hose or just by stirring periodically. But I prefer you to buy an air pump as it will be providing sufficient oxygen for the little organism that we gonna grow throughout the brewing process. Yes! Technically we are going to produce some valuable microbes. If not oxygenated your compost tea, you’ll create anaerobic organism which are probably harmful to plant and soil, and possibly yourself too.
What do you need?
Let’s get to the point. Go get collect these stuff before you begin brewing. You need two buckets, already prepared rich organic compost, good quality water without harmful chemicals such as chlorine (prefer to take well water if possible or unchlorinated water if from a tap), unsulfered molasses (available at groceries), air pump, hose, some old clothe (to strain the tea), a shovel and a stick to stir.
How to make your compost tea?
First of all, make sure that your selected compost (either your own composted or from a shop) is well-aged. It shouldn’t be much earlier or too old. Next, fix the air pump with horse and insert it into the bucket. Then add one good scoop of compost from the shovel in to the bucket. After that you are good to carry-on adding quality water and unsulfured molasses. Stir it well with a stick and let the air pump work forming bubbles. After some time it will create foam just like how beer gets foam when brewed. You can let it be like that for 2-3 days while stirring every now and then. Finally, it’s time to extract your Golden Compost Tea. Take your next bucket and the old cloth. Strain your compost tea through the cloth in to the new bucket. You are ready to use it now! What about the remaining compost after straining? Nothing is wasted. Either you can simply add it on to the plant or add back to the compost bin or pile.
Before going to see how to apply compost tea, let’s have a look at another alternative and a brilliant method of extracting your compost tea. That is through worm bin.
Can you remember in a previous article we talked about worm bins? What do you think the ultimate use of having a tap on the collector tray or bin? Yes! The red worms do it for us. They compost our food scraps and with time a liquid; compost tea is formed. We can simply collect it into a bucket or a bin through the tap. To optimize we can further add unsulfated molasses about an amount of 1/4th of a measuring cup. It seems that red worms are natural gifts for gardeners.
What if you don’t own a worm bin right now? No worries you can make your own one and harvest your compost tea within 1 0r 2 weeks. You’ll need two buckets, 4 portions of fresh soil, 1 portion of dried cow dung, about 50 red worms and food scraps.
Take one of your bins and drill the bottom of it. Then make a layer of stones inside the bin (on the top of the drilled base). Then mix well the fresh soil portions with dried cow dung, as if you make a dough to bake a bun. It is important to have it moistened about 80%. Now make a 6 inches high layer of this mixture on top of the previously place stone layer. Keep this bin on top of the unused bin for almost one week in a cool place where it won’t get caught by the rain.
Now you are good to add our little red worms into the bin placed on top. And keep adding a layer of 6 inches high food scrap, as much as needed. If these little worms tend to climb on top of your bin, merely apply some soap on the rim of the bin. After some days your vermicompost will be ready and the bin at the base will be filled with vermicompost tea.
How to apply your compost tea on to the plants?
Before applying it on plants you better consider about how much you gonna use. Anything too much is bad, isn’t it? So let’s get into a ratio. You better dilute your compost tea with good quality water in a ratio of 1:10. You can feed this compost tea to the soil and plant as a foliar spray, root drench, transplant solution or even to boost your compost pile or bin.
As a foliar
You can add 1/8 tsp of vegetable oil (to increase adherence to the leaf) to the prepared compost tea (per gallon) and stir it well. You can spray this mixture on leaves. This will help to get rid of harmful microbes on leaves curing the diseases plants.
As a root drench
You can use direct compost tea even without straining. Direct addition of compost tea on to the soil will seep down into the root system nourishing and boosting the overall plant growth.
As a transplant solution
This is helpful to nourish the plants you just have transplanted. Compost tea will help plants to absorb nutritious minerals and to adapt to the new environment.
To boost compost
As I said before, compost tea is never a waste even if you have remaining. You can add your compost tea on to your compost pile or the bin. This will boost your process.
Now you know almost everything about compost tea. You better consider the following precautions, tips and facts for the best.
- Be careful with your compost tea when using. It is full of microorganisms. You’ll never know what’s in your compost tea. It might be a harmful microbe to you.
- Keep your compost tea aerobic to grow aerobic microorganism which are good for environment.
- If you didn’t care about providing an aerobic environment your microbes will be harmful to both you and your garden.
- Better use it within 2 hrs of extraction. However, you can add some more molasses and keep bubbler run to use later.
- Mornings or evenings are best time to feed your plants.
Hope you got a good knowledge of compost tea, and have great tea time.