Commercial tree fertilizer distributors don’t want you to know that you can make your own organic fertilizer dirt-cheap. Do you want to know the secret? Come closer so I can whisper - It’s compost tea.
Compost tea - a magical brew
Compost tea is a liquid, biological fertilizer, sometimes called “liquid gold” or “black gold.” Gardeners all over the world are raving about its unbelievable benefits. Fortunately for you, this rich brew can be made in your backyard without a cauldron or magical powers.
How does compost tea work?
The science behind compost tea is simple yet profound. In its basic form, compost tea is made by steeping biologically rich and aged compost in water. When brewing compost tea, we create an ideal environment that gives microbes everything they need to reproduce their numbers by the billions. When added to soil, compost tea enriches the ground by increasing the amount of biological life (bacteria and microbes) within it. This practice creates a thriving soil food web.
Come again - a what?
The soil food web
By introducing to the soil the highly beneficial group of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes contained in compost tea, we are increasing the amount of good life within the soil. The microbes then break down, providing the natural nutrients that can be readily taken up by plants. These natural nutrients are the soil food web. Access to a rich soil food web helps plants grow and fend off disease. It also increases the fertility of fruit and vegetable plants, which leads to better quality and yield.
Ever heard of the saying, “Feed your soil, not your plants”? Yep, enough said.
As the biological processes involved in compost tea are active, they need a food source. Most people use molasses. News flash - you don’t need a specialized compost tea brewer!
There are two methods for brewing compost tea - aerobic (aerated) and anaerobic
(non-aerated). Both of these methods are backed by scientific research, and each has its own merits.
By far the most commonly used method (and the one I use) is the aerobic (aerated) method. This process involves attaching a mechanical air pump designed for the aquatic industry to a large bucket. This arrangement pumps air into the compost tea.
Anaerobic compost tea (non-aerated compost tea) is shown in the photo above. Placing a lid on the bucket while brewing the tea omits all air. The resulting liquid will turn anaerobic.
Over the years, gardeners have further enhanced the basic compost tea recipe with various additions. Worm castings are a favorite, as worms are especially known for their biological activity. Additionally, a percentage of the water can be replaced with other forms of tea such as nettle tea or comfrey tea. These variations add further nutrients to the compost tea.
Using compost tea
Compost tea can be used to water your plants. You can not overuse the compost tea, so there is no real danger of using too much. Use as much fluid as the plant or tree needs. Compost tea can also be used as a soil drench, and this can aid plants in fending off fungal and blight attacks.
Compost tea benefits
Here are the top five benefits of compost tea (in addition to all the other amazing aspects we’ve already covered).
Compost tea allows for an increase in plant size and quality. Compost teas are jam-packed with nutrients and trace minerals that aid in plant growth and strengthen the plant’s immune system.
Compost tea is totally organic. Making your own organic compost tea allows you to manage your garden without resorting to killing your soil life with chemicals. You are creating a thriving and self-sustaining environment.
Compost tea frees gardeners from relying on toxic chemicals, and it is completely safe to use in produce gardens. When you are returning your garden to a more natural balance, Mother Nature shows you how it’s done.
Amazingly, compost tea helps to minimize both disease and pest damage because it builds the plants’ immune systems. In turn, this allows the plant to fend off attacks from pests, weeds, and diseases, such as blight.
Warm fuzzy feeling inside
You know you’re doing your little bit to look after the earth. By providing nutrient-dense, organic, great-tasting food, you are caring for the animals using your garden, the trees surrounding your home, and the family resting near your heart.
How do I get started with compost tea?
If you want to learn to brew your own compost tea, Oak Arbor Care has developed an exclusive tea kit that’s perfect for DIYers. We build the brewing set-up for you, and we include supplies and instructions. We’ll even deliver the kit to your house and personally walk you through the steps of brewing your first batch.
Wondering where to buy pre-made compost tea? Here at Oak Arbor Care, we provide both types of compost teas, keeping them readily available for your convenience. Compost tea is better for the earth and more cost-effective than chemical-based products, making it the only choice for environmentally-conscious community members.
If you’d like to chat about how to get started with compost tea, call Oak Arbor Care’s plant-care team at 720-899-0329. We love to talk about all things plant-related!
The best plant care nearby
Family-owned and operated Oak Arbor Care provides top-rated tree and plant care services to Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Johnstown, Longmont, Berthoud, Mead, Boulder, Erie, Lafayette, and Niwot. We are known for our quality work and our eco-friendly approach. For a free estimate, call 720-899-0329 or submit our quick and easy contact form. If you want to learn more about Colorado tree care, check out our Ultimate Guide to Colorado Tree Care.