Compost tea; The “Green Tea” of the plant World.
Compost tea is the liquid extract of finished compost. When processed properly it contains small amounts of the nutrients found in the compost. More importantly are the compounds essential to growth and microorganisms that convert the nutrients in the soil into the fuel that plants need for optimum growth and propagation.
Large-scale horticulture, agriculture corporations and nurseries as well as commercial and residential landscapers now produce and/or use compost tea.
Compost tea is made by steeping finished compost in water over a period of time. The amount of time depends upon the method and effort, and can be finished in a couple of days or can take up to ten days to be ready.
Use two ways.
Compost Tea is used either as a soil inoculate or as a foliar spray.
As a spray, strive to achieve full coverage of the leaves with a fine mist. It helps to suppress leaf disease and increases the amount of nutrients available to the plant.
As a soil inoculate , it amends the soil with the organisms and compounds crucial to the breakdown of nutrients from soil into forms more readily available to the plant.
Don’t, however, rely on the compost tea as sole fertilizer, as it contains only small amounts of the actual nutrients that the plants need, acting instead as an activator for the resources already available in the soil.
The workhorses of the tea are the micro-organisms that break down nutrients for the plants. To keep them healthy it is important to use the tea soon after removing it from the container in which you steep your tea.
When introducing the tea as a soil amendment about two cups of tea per plant should suffice but then you need to water to bring the tea down to the roots where the benefits will be realized.
Don’t use compost tea if you are worried about;
- Ornamental plants being too full and lush and more colorful
- More vegetables than you planned for
- Better tasting fruits and veggies
- More nutritional value in your produce
A long history
Compost has been the “black gold” of gardeners for as long as we have been growing crops and is in fact the method God created to maintain all of His garden. From the giant forests to the rolling plains to alpine meadows, plants feed on composed remains of the plants and animals that have gone before. This is one way that all living things “pay it forward.”
The addition of compost tea returns your garden to its primal potency naturally and with little effort.
I will explain how to make your own compost tea in an upcoming post.