Many gardeners swear that compost-tea is one ingredient that should be part of any garden enthusiasts armor. The tea if brewed
correctly is a great plant food and soil conditioner. In addition it can be used as a foliage spray which will suppress plant diseases when sprayed regularly onto the top and bottom of plant leaves. The beneficial microorganisms from the compost and the brewing process help plants to fight of pests. They act a in a way similar to vitamins that protect human beings against a cold.
Traditionally compost had just been mixed with water and left standing for some time before the resulting tea was used to feed plants.
These days more and more people take the extra step to brew their compos-tea.
It is a cheap and simple process and the resulting brew is much more beneficial than the traditional compost water mix.
For the brewing process you will need the following items:
- a bucket or tank 20 liter / 4.32 gallons,
- an air pump with some piping,
- an air stone usually used for fish tanks,
- 5 liter / 1.08 gallons of fresh compost
- 5 tablespoons worm castings (optional)
- 1 ladies stocking (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of molasses
- and water without chlorine.
Add the compost, the worm castings and the molasses to the bucket and fill it up with water.
Place the pipe with the air stone in the bottom of the bucket and switch the air pump on.
Let the air pump run for 24 hours and assist the process by stirring the compost from time to time.
Switch off the pump and use your finished tea within a couple of hours.
During this period the microorganisms that where in the compost and the worm castings will have fed on the molasses and multiplied rapidly!
The heavy addition of oxygen assisted to keep a beneficial environment for the microorganisms.
Once the molasses is used up and the air pump switched off the conditions in the mix will slowly deteriorate.
"So the sooner you use the tea the better."
If you want to use the compost-tea as soil conditioner and plant food you can use it as it is right away. If you want to use it as a foliage spray, filter it through a cheese cloth to get the solids out of the tea.
Alternatively use a ladies stocking to hold the compost during the mixing process. Squeeze the stocking a few times during the aeration process to help get some of the compost through the tiny holes in the stocking.
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