Compost tea? Delicious! Well, not quite. Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer full of microbes and nutrients for house and garden plants. To make this excellent garden fertilizer, use a bucket, water, compost and an aerator.
Why is Compost Tea Good for Plants?
Good compost is full of life. It containers large animals like earthworms and tiny ones microbes, fungi, and bacteria. These creatures help turn old vegetable peels and leaves into good, rich soil. Compost tea is derived from compost, and it acts as a fertilizer. It adds beneficial bacteria to the soil and contains humic acid, which helps plants use the nutrients in the soil. When applied to the leaves of a plant, it also suppresses diseases. Compost tea is like a vitamin pill for your garden.
The Best Compost for Tea
Bacteria are good at suppressing plant leaf diseases. To make bacteria-rich compost, make sure that the compost bin is full of nitrogen-rich materials. Add green mulch plants like alfalfa or clover and early spring grass clippings. Turn the pile regularly to aerate it and kill diseases. Bringing air into the pile also helps it become dominated by bacteria instead of fungi, which is what you want to make compost tea.
How to Make Compost Tea
To make compost tea, steep compost in water. You will need a bucket, water, aerator, and well aged, mature compost. Compost from a worm bin makes an excellent choice if you have some available. Add oxygen to the mix to help beneficial microbes thrive. Take a small bucket and place an aquarium aerator on the bottom. Fill the bucket half way with compost. Using non-chlorinated water, fill the bucket to within a few inches of the rim and turn on the bubblers. In a day or two, turn off the bubbler and apply the mixture to the root zones of garden plants.
Using Compost Tea as a Natural Pesticide Spray
Some gardeners also use compost tea as a spray. They believe that the beneficial bacteria provide protection against leaf diseases. Spray plants with compost tea before they begin growing in the spring time. Spray plants every two weeks if you have a problem with disease.
Compost tea is taking its turn in the headlines of the gardening world. Use it to boost the health of your produce and encourage vigorous growth.