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Compost Tea for your plants, trees, shrubs, and garden

Updated on December 2, 2014

Compost Tea is a miracle waiting to happen in your life~!

Compost Tea for your Plants and Garden

This lens is focused on Organic Compost Tea

Hi folks,

I have been planting and growing things for a long time. I live on one acre in Northern Colorado in farm country, and there is nothing more satisfying in my mind than planting my own vegetable garden and harvesting that great food in the summer and fall.

Last year I canned 90 quarts of tomatoes, 80 quarts of carrots, 20 quarts of potatoes, and dried and preserved several herbs. I have had my successes and failures as does everyone who tries to grow anything, but one thing I can tell you for a fact. Once I discovered this miracle substance everything changed, and changed in a big way. So I am going to attempt to tell you all about my discovery of COMPOST TEA and how to brew it and use it. You will be shocked at the results it brings. The tomatoes, peppers, and other plants you see featured in this photo are about 3 weeks old! More on that later.

My Strawberries after one winter
My Strawberries after one winter

My Testamony

Here is what I have experieced!

OK, now we get down to reality. OK, in the past I have tried my best to stay completely organic, my results were simply not great flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. Nothing to brag about really. I did my best, and everything just did average, and absolutely nothing to write home to mom about. My biggest curse was bugs and pests that just ate everything. That was until I started using Compost Tea on everything! Then things really started to perk up in a big way!

Indoor plants that were, at best average, started to produce new shoots, flowers, and bloom like crazy! Fruit trees started to bloom, and fend off pests that I could never get rid of, no matter what chemical I used!

My vegetable garden went over the top! It produced more tomatoes, more carrots, and more potatoes than I could ever eat or can!

The biggest surprise to me was the fact that the usual bugs that plagued me were non existent! Aphids disappeared completely until I slacked off at the end of the summer. Grass hoppers apparently didn't like what they were eating so stayed away. Cabbage worms were kept to such a minimum that I could go out every day and simply find any that appeared and get rid of them!

But that was not the best news. My vegetables were bigger than ever, and tender as well! One would expect bigger veggies to be tough, stringy, and bitter! Everyone knows what a big zucchini is like to eat! But not so with Compost Tea! Everything gets bigger without the negative effects. I am not saying that you can't let something go too long before harvest, but what I am saying is that with this stuff you need to make a mental adjustment as to size and shape.

Vegetables get bigger and more edible food is produced that one would normally expect, and the taste is exceptional. The same is true for fruit and simply flowers of every kind.

If you start using this stuff, I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed! It will completely alter your mind set and the way you approach everything that you plant in the earth!

This is my testimony and my experience using compost tea. I will bet that if you start using it, that you will have the same experience!

The best formula for great compost tea

Try this out and you won't be disappointed

I started using this stuff last summer. I used it on my house plants, my fruit trees, my outdoor plants, and my vegetable garden. Everything it touched just went bonkers in a good way. Flowers were twice the size and magnitude that they normally had been in the years past. Vegetables doubled and tripled in size and still remained great tasting and tender, not tough and fibrous as one would think. My potatoes not only were larger but twice as many of them on a plant. Prior to compost tea, my house plants that were at best trying to survive, and after appication of compost tea miraculously just sprang to life, and were just beautiful.

I noticed that for the most part, bugs didn't like this stuff either. Grass hoppers, cabbage worms, aphids and others tended to stay away until I slacked off using it at the end of the summer, and started harvesting. Then the aphids got a foot hold on my cabbage, but I think if I had kept up with my stricter regiment of watering with compost tea they would not have even started.

There are a couple of things I want to emphasize up front. The first of these thing, is the water which, is the foundation for all we are attempting to do. Tap water from the city or county all most always comes with certain chemicals added to the water, chlorine and fluoride are the two most prevalent ones. Some places use others in place of chlorine like bromide or other anti bacterial germicides. These chemicals work against what you are trying to accomplish so we need to deal with them first, and purge them from the water we are going to use, or else we will be killing the very bacteria we are trying to make in this process. I will cover how to do this later before we start to brew. Of course if you have access to non chlorinated well water, that would be ideal just to start with.

The second thing I wish to emphasize is that the exact formula for brewing the tea is not an exact science. Once you do a little studying and experimentation with this process, you will find out that they all work great, so don't get hung up on the exact amount of this or that.

Ok we need to start with the equipment that we will need to make this compost tea and then apply it as well. We will deal with the application of the tea in the end of these instructions.

First we need one or more 5 gallon buckets depending on how much compost tea is needed to address your needs. You will need one more buckets than how many buckets you plan to brew at one time. So if you are going to brew one 5 gallon bucket you will need two of them. 5 Gallon buckets can be bought almost anywhere from Ace hardware, Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and just about any paint store.

Next we will need one or more 35 gallon Galvanized trash cans. I suppose you could use plastic, but I don't like plastic because of the zeno estrogens and PCB's contained in the plastic, and therefore released into the end product, and by extrapolation taken up into the very vegetables you intend to eat. So I pretty much like glass or stainless steel most, or galvanized if the other is cost prohibitive. One thing I need to mention about these galvanized trash cans before we get started is this. Most of the time these galvanized cans come with a very light coating of oil on them. So one needs to thoroughly wash them out with dish detergent before you get started. One other thing I need to mention if you decide to get galvanized trash cans is this. They are not completely water sealed and they will leak.

All the seams in the bottom, sides, and holes up by the handles will leak. So before you use them you will have to get a caulking gun, and some silicone to seal up all of the seams around the bottom, and up both sides. You will have to seal up the 4 or 6 holes where the handle brackets are hooked into the top on both sides as well. Once you get them all sealed up with silicone, you will need to let them stand for a day or two to firm up and totally cure dry. If you put big globs of silicone anywhere, the drying time will increase quite a bit, up to a week in some cases. So I suggest using latex gloves, and smoothing out the silicone on the seams so that it is mashed into the crack and feathered out around the seams. The same is true for the handles at the top. This will provide for a thin coat that will seal up everything and take a short time to completely dry and cure.

Once you believe that you have them sealed, I would fill them up with water just to make sure. If they still leak, you need to mark on the outside with a grease pen or marker the area where the leaks are occurring, empty and dry out the can, and reseal the leaking parts.

The next part we will need is an industrial strength fish aquarium pump. If you get a cheepie it will wear out, break, and you will have to get another anyway. I suggest buying a Coralife Super Luft Air Pump, Model SL-38, CD-25729, or Model SL-65, CD-25730. They look like this:

These pumps will come with either a 4 or 6 gang valve to hook up hoses to. You will need to buy some 1/8 inch flexible airline tubing as well. How much will depend on where you plan to put the pump in relationship to the buckets and trash cans. I might just mention that these pumps are not completely silent, they HUMMMMMMMMM! So you probably won't want one anywhere close to where you sleep or like to read.

You will also need to buy some air stones for oxygenating the tea and water. You will need one per 5 gallon bucket and one per trash can. So for example if you have 2 five gallon buckets and two trash cans you will need 4 air stones? I like to use 8 inch air stones in the 5 gallon buckets and the 18 inch foam tube air stones for the trash cans.

Air Stones look like this:

Air tubes look like this:

Of course any type of air stones that produce fine bubbles will work just fine.

You will need to buy some sort of hand pump sprayer for spraying the foliage with the tea. They make them in all sizes, but once they get very big they are very heavy to haul around unless you can strap them on your back, or put them in a wagon to tote around. I have a 2 gallon one that looks like this:

Last you will need a way to strain the tea once it is brewed. Any store that sells paint will probably have a 5 gallon bucket white nylon paint strainer and they are cheep. I would buy several of them. Some have a rubber draw at the opening and others don't. The ones with the rubber top band work best.

OK lets start brewing, shall we. If you have non chlorinated well water you can skip step 1.

Step 1: We need to de-chlorinate the water as the chlorine, and any other anti bacterial chemical will stunt the process if not stop it all together. So we will fill our 5 gallon buckets and our trash cans with water. We will then put an air stone in each 5 gal. bucket and an air foam hose in each 35 gallon trash can. Turn the air on and let it go for 5 to 24 hours or so. This will totally oxygenate the water and drive all the chlorine out. Some have suggested that it is all evaporated in 3 hours, but longer is better in this case.

Step 2: Lets brew the tea. For my formula we will put the following ingredients into each 5 gallon bucket.

3 - 5 tables spoons of non sulphurated Molasses

3 cups of worm castings

3 cups of Alaskan Humus

3 - 5 Tables spoons of Liquid Kelp or seaweed concentrate

3 - 5 Tables spoons of bat guano

3 - 5 Tables spoons of Fish emulsion

Stir this up a bit so that it is all mixed up in the water and let bubble for 24 to 72 hours. The temperature of the water should be 60 - 75 degrees or so. Definitely not freezing cold. After it gets going for 12+ hours the smell should be fresh and out doors fragrant sweet, like walking through the woods on a nice spring day. It should not be putrid or foul smelling at all. I usually let mine go for at least 48 hours and 72 hours most of the time.

Step 3: At the end of the brewing time we will have to strain out the heavy sediments, and separate them from the tea using our 5 gallon bucket strainers. Some people like to put the ingredients in a panty hoes leg, or strainer to start with, which works like a tea bag. I found that letting all the ingredients bubble as they so desire in the whole bucket works best for me. So we put the strainer into an empty 5 gallon bucket, and slowly pour the finished tea, and solids into the empty 5 gallon bucket with the strainer fastened around the top. We then lift the strainer with all the sediment contained in it out of the bucket, and let any remaining tea drain out in to the bucket.

Step 4: Once we have our strained tea, we will then pour our 5 gal of finished tea into 30 - 35 gallons of oxygenated water and mix them up. We will want to keep the finished mixture oxygenated so that it doesn't spoil until it is all used up. As long as you keep bubbling oxygen into it, the tea will stay fresh and not go rotten. If you quite oxygenating it, you will need to use it up in the next couple of hours before it goes bad.

Keep in mind that we are making aerobic bacteria, not anaerobic bacteria! How does one tell? Simple, the smell. Aerobic bacteria has a fresh out doors smell that is sweet not offensive. Anaerobic bacteria has a putrid foul smell like something dead or left to rot.

We can now put the solids on the top of any plant or tree for some extra boost of nutrients.

Tomatoes and rose less than 3 weeks old
Tomatoes and rose less than 3 weeks old

Part 2

A Great Compost Tea

To distribute the tea we can put it into our pressure sprayer. It is very important to spray all the leaves and foliage of any plant or tree, both on the top and bottom, for nutrients to the plant and a degree of insect proofing. The bugs hate this stuff, so when it completely covers the leaves, both top and bottom, you will notice a remarkable absence of bugs! After two or three applications of tea on the leaves, you will notice that they get real thick and have a very pretty wax covering on them which protects them from weather and bugs. We should also give the earth under the plant a very healthy watering with the tea as well.

One thing to keep in mind is this; our main goal is not fertilizing the plants, what we are doing is putting beneficial bacteria into the soil so the bacteria can break the soil down into basic atomic elements so the plants can feed. It goes with out saying that there are a tremendous amount of base minerals in the tea, but its main function is to help break down the elements in the soil for the plant, and boy does it!

You can give your plants as much of this per watering as you choose, the plants will not burn. Of course it is possible to over water your plants but that is not what we are talking about.

Most folks who use this stuff suggest you can use it 2 or 3 times a week. I used it only once a week and saw tremendous growth.

I have included some YouTube links for you to watch to kind of get the jest of what this is all about.

You can buy all this stuff at just about any hydroponics store, but I have looked all around, and found one store that beats them all in price and great selections on just about everything. Not to mention that their staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. It is "Way to Grow" 3201 East Mulberry St., Fort Collins, Colorado, 970-484-4769 It is about 1 mile off of I-25 on Hwy 14 as you are coming into town on the south side of the road. It is in a little strip mall facing the hwy with a sign that says Organic Growing or something like that.

Happy growing! You are going to love this stuff!

Now there are a ton of great videos out on YouTube on different ways, formulas, and people that love to make tea, but I have chosen some of my favorites for your viewing pleasure.

The Secret is in the Soil - John Evans

In these two videos John Evans shows you what can be accomplished with compost tea.

Urban Garden - (Compost Tea recipe)

How to Brew Compost Tea

Making Compost & Seaweed Tea Brew for my Allotment Vegetable Garden.

My Guestbook - I love to hear what you have to say!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Remember to NOT kill the beneficial micro-organisms, too...I sure am glad I grow food instead of lawn. YUM! Why did it take me so long to awaken? Ya can't eat a lawn. Just be careful with the chlorine (and lead) they aren't good for the soil biology and therefore the plants. I have a solution. Check out my first lens. I bet you can find it, and it's appropriate for gardeners who care.

    • Teacher Adez7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Teacher Adez7 

      6 years ago

      @Gypzeerose: Thanks!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      Compost tea is really great for any organic garden! Pinned to my board "how does your garden grow?"


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