Sunday, April 12, 2009
Garden Project: Compost Tea
Today, I made my first attempt at "brewing" compost tea. I had heard of the stuff before and figured that compost tea would allow me to keep my organic approach to gardening, efficiently use the small compost pile I started this winter, and give watering the garden a bit more punch. After scanning the web for an hour or so, I ended up seeing dozens of articles, videos, and commercially available "brewing" devices. All of them basically described the same process to making tea: get compost, throw it in a bucket, cover with water, add sugar for food (unsulfured molasses was the most popular), aerate, strain out the solids, and poor liquid on your plants.
So I gathered my materials:
Once the compost, water and molasses was mixed I set up the aerators. Some of the sources I read suggested that the aeration should be left for several days, but most said 24 hours would do the trick and some said as few as 6 hours would be fine. I decided to make 2 smallish batches and to aerate for just a few hours (it ended up being 8 hours total.
So after dinner I filtered through some mesh screening:
I ended up with a stuff that looks like, well, tea. It was dark brown and had a very faint soil scent (but no unpleasant odors).
I watered the lettuce and snap pea areas of the garden with the resulting tea and I turned the filtered solids into the area where we will grow the potatoes. Next time I will let the tea brew a bit longer. By then I will also be watering actual plants and will need to make some larger batches since I should have a couple more things in the ground in a couple of weeks.