Compost Teas work on a few different levels for your plants and soil. Soil will come to life with important microbes actively colonizing it. A soil thriving with microbes will even help prevent pests and disease. Another important component is the break down nutrition for the plant. Rapid breakdown of nutrients in a soil means increased absorption.
Mycorrhizae, Rhizobacteria, and Bacillus Bacterias all play a crucial role in your plants life. With the use of these beneficial microbes you can increase the space around the plants roots in which the roots can take up moisture and nutrients, making for healthy disease- and pest-resistant plants and better tasting fruits and vegetables.
You only need a few items to make compost tea: a garbage can, reservoir, or a 5 gallon bucket for brewing and storage; an air pump and air stone; and amendments like molasses, earthworm castings, and humisoil. I like to add my own microbial boost with products like Vam, Azos, and Photosynthesis Plus – kelp and alfalfa meal will also contain beneficial microbes. This is not necessary, however: humus, castings, and compost should contain all the beneficial’s that you need.
Making Your Tea
- Start with good, clean water. R/O water is best
- Try to achieve an aggressive amount of aeration with an air stone making small bubbles as possible.
- Add the liquid additives first, then move on to your powder amendments.
- We recommend to just put the powdered amendments straight into the water. Some gardeners may like to use an old nylon or bag, basically anything that traps your amendments but allows water to flow through the bag.
- Brew for 24–72 hours depending on what kind tea you may need: shorter brew times lead to teas high in fungal microbes, teas brewed longer become more bacteria-laden.
My Recipe for a Great Five-Gallon Compost Tea
- Molasses: 1–2 tablespoons (tbsp)
- Photosynthesis Plus: 30 milliliters
- Humic Acid: 1 teaspoon
- Vam: 1 tbsp
- Azos: 1 tbsp
Always-Use Dry Amendments
- Earthworm Castings: 1–2 cups
- Humisoil: 1–2 cups
- Kelp Meal: 2–4 tbsp
- Alfalfa Meal: 2–4 tbsp
Optional Dry Amendments
Guano, blood and bone meals, and just about any organic nutrient can increase the effectiveness of your tea. When in vegetative stages, high nitrogen amendments should be used; while in flower, you should use amendments with low nitrogen but are high in potassium and phosphorus.
You can apply this straight to the soil or dilute it to make it go farther. Apply as a foliar to help with mold and mildew prevention. Used regularly, compost teas produce better tasting, bigger, and healthier plants.