Cheers to Compost Tea!

While most of us know the wonderful differences compost can make to our plants and garden, the use of compost tea is still not as frequent as compost. Made by steeping compost in water, this thirst-quenching tea refreshes and soothes your plants and vegetables while providing them with a healthy dose of nutrients.

The microorganisms of compost tea can be used like a fertilizer on your plants, and act as a preventative measure against foliar diseases. From applying it directly on the foliage to watering the soil thoroughly with it, compost tea will show rapid benefits since its nutrients are absorbed directly through the roots and the foliage. Your plants will boast healthier foliage and the flavor of your vegetables will be enhanced.

The Advantages

Compost tea entails multiple advantages such as:

  • Decrease of various diseases attacking plants
  • Reduced use of pesticides, herbicides and non-organic fertilizers
  • Improved balance of the ecosystem
  • Better absorption and retention of nutrients by plants
  • Improved plant growth due to enhanced protection of the plant foliage
  • Increased nutrient retention in the soil promoting better growth plant
  • Enhanced nutritional value of produces
  • Stronger and healthier plant root system
  • Reduced loss of water in the soil and the root system
  • Healthier and more vigorous plants

Making it

Compost tea kits that include all you need to brew your tea can be bought. Typically, they work in two phases with the first phase consisting of extracting the beneficial microorganisms to, secondly, let them brew in oxygenated water for 24 hours. This will allow them to multiply.

Should you not have all the required buckets, filter, and other necessary materials, you can easily make compost tea by filling a cloth bag, such as a pillowcase, of compost and placing your bag in a barrel of water. You should keep a ratio of 5:1 (5 parts of water for one part of compost). Leave your bag in the barrel for a week, while making sure you stir the water periodically so that your bag is at all times immersed in the water. After that period of time, take your bag out of the barrel and your tea is in the barrel, ready to use!

Using it

Compost tea acts like a rejuvenating tea for plants and vegetables. Its nutrients are absorbed immediately by plants. It can be used as foliage spray or as soil treatment. As it is like a liquid fertilizer, rain will eventually wash it away. Therefore, it can be applied regularly for long-lasting and continuous benefits. As opposed to chemical-made fertilizers, there is no amount of compost tea that would have a negative effect on your plants or on your garden.

When using it as a soil treatment, the goal is to reach the roots and provide plenty of nutrients to the  area around the roots in order to improve the soil structure. Using a spray bottle, you can spray the soil with it or drench it by attaching your bottle to your garden hose.

To treat foliage that may be attacked by disease, ensure that you spray the foliage as soon as you see the signs of disease. Then, reapply on a two-week cycle while monitoring your plants to see if this amount of compost tea is sufficient to fight the disease. Keep in mind that your applications of compost tea should always be done early morning or in the evening since the microorganisms that are beneficial to the plants and that are in the compost tea are sensitive to UV rays.

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