Compost Tea

The ultimate liquid fertilizer and disease preventer

How to Make Compost Tea
Image: Simon Howden /

Compost tea is probably one of the best liquid fertilizers you can use and it's organic and very inexpensive to make. Because it's in a liquid form, the nutrients are readily available to the plant, so it's especially useful for a quick pick me up when you are not quite sure what your plant needs. It's also known for having pest and disease resistant properties and can be used as a soil drench around each plant or can be sprayed on the leaves for even quicker absorption.

  1. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with 1-gallon of compost.
  2. Fill the bucket with rain water. If rain water is not readily available fill the bucket with tap water that has been allowed to sit overnight so that the chlorine can evaporate.
  3. Add one tablespoon of molasses to the compost mixture. This is food for the microbes that will be growing in the compost tea.
  4. Stir the bucket and allow it to sit for 2-4 days until the water turns a rich dark color. Stir the mixture several times a day to help introduce oxygen into the water so that the beneficial microbes can grow.
  5. Before using the mixture, strain it through an old pair of panty hose or cheesecloth into another bucket. Dilute the tea until it is the color of iced tea.
  6. Apply as a soil drench around each plant or spray on the foliage of plants. Use within one day as microbes will begin to die and the tea will become less beneficial.
  7. Apply once a week to annuals, vegetables and seedlings and once or twice a month to perennials shrubs and houseplants.
  8. Use an aerator from an aquarium store to help oxygenate the water so you don't have to stir it manually.

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