How to Make Manure Tea for Your Garden
A recycled pot of basil treated with tea!
Garden Tea Basics
Your first question after you smell the concoctions that you will be making will be " For the love of God WHY????"
In the world of permaculture there is a tried and true saying which is "There is no waste just stuff in the wrong place!" Garden teas are an example of this truism.
There are really four types of garden teas:
1. Manure teas- for liquidising all of the nutrients in animal waste, and returning them to the soil.
2. Green waste tea - created from grass clipping and other green plants that you have cut back, to return the nutrients back to the soil.
3. Bug off tea: created from the bodies of pests sprayed as a warning over vulnerable plants. This acts as a message to the pests , this place smells like a graveyard.. perhaps we should eat somewhere else!
4. Insecticide tea: created from garlic, onions and chilli, boiled in water and cooled and then sprayed on plants to kill off pests or to warn them off.
How do you do it?
For the manure tea and the green waste tea you will need a sealable container. For small amounts i.e. a balcony garden/pot plants an ice cream container will do. For a medium size garden a nappy bucket. For a large garden use a garbage can with a lid. The lid is extremely important as there will be quite a horrid stench! if you live in an area prone to mosquitoes you will also create a breeding ground for them if it is open, it could also attract flies and cockroaches.
Place the waste that you want to make the tea from in the container and cover with water. Put the lid on and leave in the sun to ferment and release the nutrients. After the smell has dissipated ( a week or two in very hot weather) decant the liquid and dilute it at least by half before you pour it on your garden. Remember to do the pouring in the morning before the liquid has a chance to heat up, because although you may enjoy a hot beverage your garden wont!
For the Bug off tea, collect the pests that you want to discourage. If they are too small to collect, just cut off affected pieces of your plant. Place in a container and cover with boiling water. Allow to cool and pour around the affected plants or place in a spray bottle and spray on the plant after decanting off the liquid.
For the insecticide, boil some garlic and chilli and onion in a pan for 20 minutes add extra water if needed. Allow to cool, decant the liquid into a spray bottle and spray directly onto affected plants or plants that you would like to protect.
Garden teas are a natural way to return nutrients to the garden and to ward off pests. Treating your plants to the green waste or manure teas will keep them healthy. Healthy plants are not so attractive to pests. If there is a pest problem, then treating it without artificial chemicals will be better for the environment and your health.
Although creating them may be a little harder and smellier than buying fertiliser or bug spray, garden teas are a great way of using waste effectively and keeping our planet healthy. So before you take those packets off the shelf give garden teas a go!
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