Drink Up: Making Nutrient-Rich Compost Tea For The Garden

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July 3, 2020

Enjoying some tea in the garden sounds like a zen way to spend a morning or afternoon; why not offer your plants the same treat? Making compost tea for your plants is an excellent way to boost the growing season! 

Compost tea is what it sounds like: compost in liquid form. Make this plant feed by “steeping” specific quantities of black gold in water.   

The Perks

Using compost tea in the garden offers many advantages to plants. Because it’s a liquid, the perks are almost instant too! 

According to Clare Foster’s book, “Compost: How To Make And Use Organic Compost To Transform Your Garden,” compost tea helps control pathogens that cause plant diseases such as potato blight and mildew

How To Use It

Use as a foliar spray on the leaves so beneficial organisms fight off the bad guys. Or, drench the soil in your garden with it to help protect the roots from diseases. 

There are many different ways to make compost tea. Use whatever high-quality compost you have at your disposal. I used a bunch of worm castings from my vermicompost bin

Brewing the tea is easy as pie. There are several recipes available online. I followed a variation in Stephanie Rose’s book, “Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes And Concoctions for Organic Fertilizers, Plant Elixirs, Potting Mixes, Pest Deterrents, And More.”

How To Make It

compost tea DIY

Rose recommends diluting one part vermicompost with ten parts of water. Let it sit for anywhere between one and 12 hours before using. 

I took my vermicompost and packed it into a coffee filter. I tied it closed with a piece of twine to make this cute little teabag. 

Pop the sachet into a bucket or watering can and let it sit. I used water from my rain barrel for an added boost of nitrogen! 

Much like a real cup of tea, the color of the liquid will depend on how long you let the compost steep. 

Water your plants with it or put it into a spray bottle for the leaves. Spread the leftover organic matter in the teabag throughout the garden! 

Finally, go and make a cup of tea for yourself (preferably, not vermicompost), sit back, and watch your garden grow! 

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her two young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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