Thursday, November 4, 2010
A cup of tea for your garden
I have heard from every organic gardener I know that I should use compost tea in my garden. Up until three years ago, I had no idea what compost tea was or why I should use it. Well, there are a number of benefits to using it. First, it will improve your soil structure. Second, it enhances the taste of your fruits and vegetables. Third, it is safer for you, for animals and the environment because it is natural/organic. And finally, it helps to fight off disease in your plants by increasing the number of organisms on and around the plant that will compete with disease-causing organisms.
So now that you know the benefits, here is how to make a batch of simple compost tea.
You will need:
Water (not tap water)
1) Fill the bucket about 1/3 of the way with mature compost. Then fill the bucket with water, leaving room to stir the mixture without spilling.
2) Leave the bucket out of direct sunlight, stirring at least once per day for 5 to 7 days. Stirring the mixture at least once a day will provide adequate oxygen for the tea making process. Without enough oxygen, anaerobic bacteria can start to grow and make your compost tea useless.
3) Strain the compost tea by pouring the tea through cheesecloth into a separate 5-gallon bucket.
The finished compost tea is concentrated and will need to be diluted before you apply it to your plants. Add approximately 10 parts water (not tap water) to every 1 part of compost tea.
To apply, simply fill a spray bottle with compost tea and use it to spray plant foliage. It's best if you spray the plant's leaves early in the morning or in the evening near dusk. Apply once or twice per month to control garden pests and to attract beneficial insects.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi