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  • Writer's pictureTravis Leicht

Compost Tea: A Natural Fertilizer

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Compost tea is a nutrient-rich liquid that acts as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. It is made by steeping compost in water.

compost tea

Compost tea can replace traditional chemical fertilizers by providing plantsand grasses with essential nutrients in a form that is readily available and easily absorbed.

How Compost Tea Replaces Traditional Fertilizers:

  1. Nutrient Delivery: Compost tea provides a slow-release source of essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with micronutrients. These nutrients are delivered to plants in a form they can readily absorb.

  2. Microbial Activity: Compost tea is teeming with beneficial microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. These microbes enhance soil health, improve nutrient cycling, and protect plants from diseases.

  3. Soil Conditioning: Compost tea helps improve soil structure, water retention, and aeration. It encourages the development of healthy, nutrient-rich soil.

  4. Reduced Chemical Dependency: By using compost tea, you can reduce or eliminate the need for synthetic chemical fertilizers, which can have harmful environmental impacts.

  5. Environmental Benefits: Compost tea is an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers, promoting soil health and reducing nutrient runoff into waterways. Ingredients and Materials for Compost Tea:

  6. Compost: High-quality compost is the primary ingredient. It should be well-aged and rich in organic matter.

  7. Water: Use clean, chlorine-free water. Our method is to collect and recyle rainwater!

  8. Aeration: You'll need a way to aerate the tea, such as an aquarium air pump or a compost tea brewer.

  9. Molasses: Optional but recommended. Molasses provides a food source for beneficial microorganisms.

  10. Other ingredients - e.g. seaweed, eggshells, fish emulsion, yeast, or manure

  11. A container: A food-grade plastic or glass container is suitable for brewing compost tea.

Steps to Make Compost Tea:

  1. Prepare the compost: Fill a mesh bag or burlap sack with compost and other optional solids. This bag will act as your "tea bag" in your container.

  2. Fill the container: Place the compost-filled bag in your container and fill it with water. The ratio of compost to water is typically 1:5 or 1:10 (1 part compost to 5-10 parts water).

  3. Add molasses: If desired, add a small amount of molasses to the water. This feeds the beneficial microorganisms in the compost.

  4. Aerate: Use your aquarium air pump or compost tea brewer to provide constant aeration. This oxygenates the water and encourages the growth of beneficial microbes.

  5. Steeping time: Allow the compost tea to steep for about 24-48 hours. The length of time can vary depending on your goals; a shorter brew time results in a less microbial-rich tea, while a longer brew time produces a more potent tea.

  6. Strain and use: Remove the compost-filled bag and strain the liquid. Dilute the tea with water as needed (usually a 1:1 or 1:2 dilution with water). Apply the diluted compost tea to your plants' roots or foliage.

Our staff is working hard to produce as much compost and compost tea as we can at our regenerative farm in Sarasota. With the support of our loyal tree and forestry customers, we are able to capture and recycle some of the nutrients which have already sustained our beautiful Sarasota for hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Would you like to learn more?

Call or text us today to schedule a FREE consultation! (941) 920-2625

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