How to Use Compost Tea

person curatorfolder_opencompost, gardeninglocal_offeraccess_time July 6, 2012

What is “compost tea”?

There are a few different definitions of compost “tea”. Essentially, “compost tea” is liquid compost.

Some people make compost tea by filling a bag (burlap, etc.) with compost, and soaking it it water (just like you’d steep a tea bag in hot water). “Tea” made in this fashion usually isn’t diluted. (By the way, some people go all sorts of high-tech with this method, with aeration and microbe mixtures, and all kinds of “science” to back them up.)

Other people collect the liquid “drippings” that comes off their compost, and dilute it 19:1 in water.

Still more people collect the liquid run-off from their vermiculite (worm-based) composters, then dilute that 19:1 in water.

Where can you use compost tea?

You can use your compost tea in virtually any place that you’d use liquid fertilizer. Spray it on your lawn, douse an area of your flower-bed that nothing seems to grow in, apply it to the ground under your roses, or shrubs, or berries, or trees, or… okay, you get the point.

How often can you apply compost tea?

The Long Answer

How often can you apply compost tea? There are many, many variables involved… What is in the tea, how strong the tea is, what kind of soil you’re putting the tea into, how much soil is present, the type of plant rooted in the soil, the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, the temperature, humidity, health of the plant, yadda, yadda, yadda…

The Short Answer

So that’s the long answer. The short answer? Listen to you plant. Add a little but of compost tea and watch it for the next day or so and see how she responds. If she wilts, your tea is probably too strong, or she simply doesn’t like it. If she doesn’t respond within a few days, or starts to “perk up”, add a little more and watch her for a little longer. Keep adding compost tea until she starts to look ill – that was too much or too often.

Image Credit: Kyneton Transition Hub

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