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How to Make and Use Compost Tea: A Simple Guide

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I’ve found that one of the most effective and natural methods of nourishing my plants is by using compost tea. This nutrient-rich liquid is made by infusing water with organic compost and has an array of benefits for soil health, in turn aiding plants to grow strong and healthy.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to create and use compost tea most efficiently. The process involves a few simple steps, and once you’ve mastered it, you can easily feed your plants with this all-natural fertiliser, seeing great results in your garden or allotment.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to prepare compost tea and how to apply it, ensuring that your plants receive optimal nourishment.

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Benefits of Compost Tea

In my experience, compost tea offers numerous advantages for both plants and soil health.

Firstly, compost tea enhances plant growth. It provides plants with macro and micronutrients, contributing to their overall health and vitality.

Applying compost tea to plant leaves allows microbes to compete for space with pathogens. In some cases, this offers protection against potential diseases and infections. This not only helps maintain the health of my plants but also improves their resilience.

Compost tea also proves beneficial for the overall health of the soil. It introduces beneficial bacteria and fungi, which promote a biodiverse environment. This, in turn, supports healthy plant growth as the microorganisms break down organic matter within the soil, making nutrients more accessible to plant roots.

Compost tea can also improve soil structure. As microbial activity increases, it helps to aggregate soil particles, leading to better soil aeration and water retention. This improved soil structure enables plant roots to penetrate more deeply, allowing them to access additional nutrients and water resources.

Applying compost tea can also help remediate contaminated soils. The increased microbial activity helps break down pollutants and toxins in the soil, making it more conducive to plant growth and development. This is particularly useful for areas suffering from soil degradation or chemical contamination.

How To Make Compost Tea

Luckily, compost tea is straightforward to make and requires only a few materials and tools.

Compost

To make compost tea, the first thing you need is well-aged compost. This is the main ingredient for our recipe, as it contains beneficial microorganisms that will help our plants thrive. You can use compost made from kitchen scraps or garden waste or purchase it from a local garden centre.

It’s essential that the compost is mature, as this ensures that it is rich in nutrients and microbes.

Top Tip

I highly recommend using your own homemade compost for this rather than store-bought.

Water

Water is the second key ingredient for making compost tea. You want to use clean, chemical-free water, as any contaminants in the water will likely kill the beneficial microorganisms in the mixture. Rainwater is ideal, but if that’s not readily available, you can use tap water that has been left to sit for 24 hours to allow any chlorine to dissipate.

Aeration

Aeration is an essential component of the compost tea-making process, as it helps to stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. To achieve this, you’ll need an air pump and an air stone or diffuser. By providing a constant supply of oxygen, you’ll ensure the health and growth of the microbes in your compost tea.

You can also make compost tea without aerating it, but most people agree the microbe numbers will not be as high because of the lack of oxygen. I will be testing aerated compost tea vs non-aerated this year, so make sure to sign up to my newsletter for updates!

Brewing Equipment

In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, you will also need certain brewing equipment to make compost tea. Here are some essential items:

  • A Bucket filled with water – do not use tap water if possible. If you must, then let it sit for 24 hours before use.
  • A mesh bag – This will hold the compost and allow the beneficial microbes to pass through into the water.
  • A pump – I use a battery-powered one connected to a USB power bank.

Now that you know the materials needed, you’re well on your way to making and using your very own compost tea to benefit your plants.

How to Make Compost Tea

In this section, I will share the process of making compost tea in two simple steps: brewing and aeration, followed by straining the compost tea. This easy-to-follow guide will help you create a natural and effective fertiliser for your plants.

Step 1 – Fill A Bucket With Rain Water

Use clean, chemical-free water, as any contaminants in the water will likely kill the beneficial microorganisms in the mixture. Rainwater is perfect if you have a water butt.

Fill a bucket with rainwater
Fill a bucket with rainwater

Step 2 – Fill A Muslin Bag With Compost

Get some compost, homemade if possible, and fill up a mesh bag with it. I use a muslin bag with a simple drawstring at the top.

Fill a muslin bag with compost
Fill a muslin bag with compost

Step 3 – Add The Bag To The Water

Pop your bag into your water. Give it a good squeeze to mix the compost and water together well. Your water will quickly turn brown.

Put the compost bag into the water
Put the compost bag into the water

Step 4 – Add Microbe Food

Now add the special microbe food; this bottle I use contains everything you need in one simple formula, so you don’t need to add many individual ingredients.

I add two cap fulls
I add two cap fulls

Step 5 – Aerate The Water

Now I pop the outlet from my battery-powered air pump into the water. I use the bag of compost to weigh it down so it doesn’t float on the surface.

Let it bubble
Let it bubble

Now I will let the tea brew for 24-36 hours.

Using Compost Tea

Dilution Rates and Application Methods

When using compost tea, it’s crucial to dilute it correctly to ensure it doesn’t harm your plants. Generally, I mix one part compost tea with ten parts water – this ratio may vary depending on the tea’s strength and my plants’ needs.

Im not very specific about this, I pour a bit of compost tea into my watering can and then fill it with rainwater from the butt to dilute it. I then water my soil with the mix.

You can also apply compost tea as a foliar spray, I mix the compost tea and water in a spray bottle and gently mist the leaves of my plants. This allows the nutrients to be absorbed through the foliage and can help protect them from pests and diseases.

By regularly applying compost tea to my garden, I’ve experienced stronger, healthier plants with increased resistance to pests and diseases. I hope these tips on using compost tea have provided valuable insights and helped fellow gardeners reap the benefits of this fantastic organic fertiliser.

What I Use

  1. Myco Chum - Plant Success - 16 fl oz / 473ml
    £19.00 (£1.58 / count)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

    05/15/2024 04:33 pm GMT
  2. Portable Mini Aquarium Air Pump
    £15.99
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

    05/15/2024 04:39 pm GMT
  3. 30 Pack Cotton Muslin Bags, 15 x 20cm
    £9.99 (£0.17 / count)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

    05/16/2024 02:36 am GMT

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2 Comments

  1. I use comfrey leaves in bucket of rain water, leave for four weeks, strain into another bucket and leave for two weeks stirring every third day, strain into bottles and use in watering can 1 part comfrey 10 parts water
    I also do the same with banana skins or stinging nettles

  2. I cannot recommend “worm poo tea” highly enough. It has many beneficial qualities apart from just a simple feed. Please use UTube to learn about the qualities of Worm poo. It is readily available if you search around.

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