Compost Tea - How to Make One Version of It

Compost tea is made from "brewing" compost and it makes the benefits of compost even better. Compost tea will provide beneficial microbes to the soil and plant. It can be made using either the aerated method or non-aerated method. Depending on the type of method used, the microorganisms grown will differ. There are so many versions of compost tea recipes and many gardeners have experimented and made their own favorite combinations. The following recipe is just one version of compost tea. Watch Tricia make a basic compost tea in our video, How to Brew Compost Tea.

Peaceful Valley Arctic Humus

Main Ingredients

Water - if using water from municipal sources, make sure you allow it to bubble at least 1-2 hours to drive off the chlorine. Or you can use rain water or well water without needing to remove the chlorine. Fill up a 5 gallon bucket to about 3 inches from the top, leaving room to add your compost. Compost - use a high quality, living compost, about 2 quarts (or about 8 cups). Can use Arctic Humus, Worm Castings or any good high quality compost for your source. I like to use a 1-2 cups of each for a 5 gallon batch. Tea Catalyst - use 4 tablespoons for 5 gallons. The catalyst contains seaweed extract, micronized humic acids, Azomite and numerous botanical ingredients. The catalyst is to get the organisms off to a good start, or you can use un-sulfured molasses. Peaceful Valley Tea Catalyst

Supplemental Additions

I like to add some extra supplements to the "brew" a couple of hours before the tea is finished. What you add will depend on the stage of growth of your plants. If the plant is young and putting on new growth, then you would want to add some extra nitrogen, like fish.

Liquid Kelp or Maxicrop - Can be used for any stage of plant growth. It adds trace minerals to your plants. It's really good to use when plants are young. If you use liquid kelp, add 0.5-1.25 cups for 5 gallons of water. For Maxicrop, use 5 tsp for 5 gallons of water. Liquid Fish - for the growth stage you can add liquid fertilizer for added nitrogen. Add this to the tea at the end of the brewing process. I use between 0.5 - 1 cup per 5 gallons of water. Bat Guano - is soluble in water and can also be added after the tea has brewed. 

Step-by-Step Directions

  • Using a clean 5 gallon bucket, fill close to the top with water. Set up your bubblers and allow to bubble for a couple of hours to drive off any chlorine. The bubblers should deliver enough air to give vigorous bubbling.
  • Place your compost/worm castings and catalyst into the strainer bag.
  • Allow to "brew" or bubble for at least 24 hours. Keep your set up out of the sun, a garage works great.
  • If you are adding the supplemental additions, add it a couple hours before the tea is complete.
  • When ready, lift out the strainer bag from the tea and allow to drain. Put the contents from the strainer bag into your garden.
  • Apply the tea right away, don't wait, the living organisms in the tea are ready to go.
  • If foliar feeding, dilute the tea to one part tea to 10 parts water (dechlorinated water). Or if applying to the soil, dilute one part tea to 5 parts water (dechlorinated water).
  • Clean all of the components before brewing another batch.

7 comments

  • Ben, you can use compost tea on your melons but you may be deficient in other nutrients. Have you done a soil test?

    Suzanne
  • Ben, you can use compost tea on your melons but you may be deficient in other nutrients. Have you done a soil test?

    Suzanne
  • i am going to use tea out of cowmanure how often you fertilize watermelon why my watermelons get big one end small on other in they want fill out i plant carolinacross want grow long just fat on one end can you help me out thanks i dont have printer i put it in my favorates and i can check it again thanks ben

    benminor
  • Siegfried, you are absolutely right about the importance of getting rid of the chlorine in the water. That is why using the bubbler in the water at the beginning is important. We say a couple of hours of bubbling, you can go even longer to make sure all of the chlorine is gone. But you can also add a filter to remove the chlorine, https://www.groworganic.com/gard-n-gro-dechlorinating-garden-filter.html, this is a filter that we sell.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
  • Chlorine is placed in municipal water supplies to kill micro-organisms. Micro-organisms are the single biggest reason that people make compost tea. Without the micro-organisms, you got nothing. Therefore, it is VERY important to remove the chlorine/chloramine from the water. I prefer a filter, specially designed for this purpose. Hope this helps… :-)

    Siegfried
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