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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Organic gardening in Ireland / Alternative and Sustainable Gardening practices

Compost Tea

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:28 pm    Post subject: Compost Tea Reply with quote

Compost Tea
By Darrell Feltmate

Compost tea allows the organic gardener to give his or her plants a great boost in growth. Plants get the majority of their food through their roots and always in a liquid form. Those dry compounds people use for fertilizers and for that matter, compost itself must have its nutrients liquefied to be available to the plants. Rain on the compost in the ground will work time and again but compost tea gives a lot more control.

Compost Tea mix, photo / pic / image.

To make compost tea take an old pillow case or similar cloth bag. Feed sacks work well as does a piece of burlap pulled into a bag form. Place a couple of shovels full of your best compost in the bag and tie it with an over long piece of rope. Place the bag in a 5 gallon bucket with the rope hanging out for later retrieval and fill the bucket with water. Leave it in the sun for a couple of days until the color of the water resembles strong tea.

The nutrient value of the compost that would normally take a long time to leach out into the surrounding ground water has made its way into the water in the bucket. Remove the compost "tea bag" and return the compost to the pile for later use. While the nutrients have leached, it is still a great soil developer. Some people will use the same compost for a second batch of tea but I feel that it makes more sense to use fresh.

What is left in the bucket is a nutrient rich tea that has all its nutrients readily available for your plants. It is also at the same temperature or slightly warmer than the plants themselves so it will not shock them with cold as it used for watering.
It may be
* watered on the plants with a watering can. Some people suspect that the leaves will absorb some of the nutrients and produce a richer set of blossoms or grow larger, more tasty vegetables and fruit.
* poured around the roots of individual plants in a similar fashion to giving a fertilizer boost. This is especially effective for fruiting plants such as cucumber when blossoms are just forming.
* used as a feed for houseplants and container plants especially in mid season when it is suspected that the original container nutrients are exhausted.

Unlike commercial liquid fertilizers, compost tea will not harm or "burn" the foliage or roots of the plants you have worked so hard to grow. Instead, it is a simple and effective way to get a magnificent garden time after time.

Darrell Feltmate is an avid gardener who has been composting and gardening for over 25 years with gardens up to 1/2 acre and compost piles for each. His composting site may be found at . You can be a master composter in no time at all.

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