Once you’ve made all that beautiful compost, the next challenge is deciding what to do with it all. One option is transforming it into liquid, usable compost tea.
You could dig some into an impoverished garden bed as soil improver, mulch your plants and even turn it back into potting mix or garden soil.
Yet, as the ultimate gardening resource compost isn’t just limited to these options. In fact as a fertiliser it rates almost as high as worm castings. And depending on whose opinion you seek, it may even be better. So while most gardeners have come to appreciate ‘worm wee’ as a bona fide organic liquid fertiliser, there are still a few that need convincing that compost tea is just as good.
In fact, using your compost as a tea rather than applying it straight to your garden beds will actually make it far more efficient in boosting your plants growth. As a liquid, compost tea will cover nearly 3-4 times the area that normal compost alone could achieve and also prepare your plants to better source their own nutrients from the soil.
How do you brew compost tea?
For making compost tea the ratio of compost to water is approx. 1:10. So, if you have a 20L bucket then you will only need 2kg of compost.
Heap the compost into a hessian or cheesecloth bag and add to your half-filled 20L (5 Gallon) bucket of water. Then increase the volume of water until it is completely full. Leave this to draw – as you would a teabag – for about a week agitating a couple times per day. The agitation provides oxygen which is essential for the process.
When the tea is a dark, earthy, brown colour it’s ready to use. Dilute one part compost tea with 5 parts water and then you can start applying to your plants. And, they will love you for it.
As you can see, it’s not really a difficult process and if you’ve gone to all the effort of making your own compost then turning it into a liquid tea is merely a formality.
Tips at a Glance
Making the tea – 1 part compost : 10 parts water
Time to brew – 1 week
Agitation – 2-3 times per day
Dilution – 1 part compost tea : 5 parts water
Application – Once every 2-3 weeks
What’s available in the Compost Tea market?
This Compost Tea starter kit might be a good option or thos who want an organic product without all the fuss and mess of making your own. Obviously, it’s not as cheap as making your own compost tea and with individual tea sachet bags one wouldn’t expect that it could be. But, the benefit of this product over already mixed compost tea is that it can sit on your garden shelf ad infinitum and be ready to use when you want.
This product makes 100L (24 gallons).
An easier alternative is buying a liquified concentrate that can be added to your watering can at a rate of 5tbsp per gallon (80ml per 4L). With a liquified concentrate you waste no time at all in brewing you compost tea as all the work has been done for you. It’s the most convenient organic product available when it comes to compost teas.
This product makes up to 50L (12 gallons).