Compost Tea: Liquid Gold Fertilizer for your Flowers, Vegetables & Houseplants

Last Updated on December 2, 2018

Compost tea is an effective, low-strength; natural fertilizer for seedlings and garden plants, and it can suppress fungal plant diseases. The tea-brewing process extracts, and in some cases grows and multiplies nutrients and beneficial bacteria and fungi from compost and worm castings etc simply suspend ingredients in water and eventually they will brew you a liquid which is readily available to your plants.

Microbial activity distinguishes “soil” from just plain old dirt. Compost tea is the best natural soil amendment on the planet for our local soils! That’s a big claim, but it’s true because the tea is brimming with millions of living microbes!

It requires no prep work—just sprinkle it over your lawn and garden beds using a standard watering can and then water it in until your soil is thoroughly moistened.

We start with worm composting, a system that converts food waste and other organic material into the most useful soil amendment on the planet with the help of Redworms (Eisenia fetida). As the organic material passes through the gut of the worm, it is converted to castings—stable little balls of nutrients readily available for uptake by plant roots. The castings are then brewed in highly oxygenated water under conditions that are optimal for the beneficial micro-organisms present in the castings to reproduce rapidly. When finished, tea is a liquid teeming with living microbes and beneficial plant-growth compounds.

Benefits of Compost Tea

Soil needs microbial activity which over the time have reached very low levels in many parts of the world due to pesticide and fungicide use. Or perhaps they have never been improved from their native state. When compost tea is applied to your yard, garden, or houseplants, the microbes give a jump-start to your soil and plants by eating minerals and organic matter and making them available to plant roots.

Worms are Farmer Friends
Worms: Farmer Friends

It’s cyclical, natural, zero waste: Every person who uses the worm tea or castings will be contributing towards building much-needed, healthy soil. Rather than going to the landfill where they contribute to global warming, food scraps return to the soil they came from and produce new food crops.

Results have been impressive! In a houseplant trial, the tea-fed plants are using 1/4 the water because the microbes help maintain moisture. If applied to your lawn, this could mean dollar savings for your water bill.

Additionally, all the plants receiving the tea are clearly hardier, larger, and the resistance to pests has been phenomenal. In a greenhouse seedling trial, basil that received only water was thoroughly munched by baby grasshoppers, while the basil right next to it that was watered with tea once per week was virtually untouched.

Researchers have also observed that tea also help plants to respond to heat stress.

So are you convinced enough to use it? Let check out how to use it.

How to use Compost Tea?

For maximum benefit, we recommend the following directions for using compost tea:

  • Plan ahead – it is important that you apply the tea on the SAME DAY that you purchase it because the tea will become less oxygenated over time. Remember, the tea is alive!
  • Apply once per week for at least eight weeks… less is OK, and more is better.
  • Apply the tea by pouring directly into the soil, or, apply with as a spray.
  • Use full strength for indoor and garden plants, or dilute 50/50 to cover a larger area like a lawn, (including use with the type of sprayer that attaches to the end of your hose).
  • For larger areas like lawns, use water on the area either immediately before or after so the microbes can easily move down into the soil. Potted plants are small enough that you can water to saturation with the tea itself or a tea dilution.
  • To use compost tea as a foliar (spray on the leaves), apply in the morning or early evening to limit the damaging effects of UV rays on the microorganisms.
  • Re-use the containers we give you the tea in!! Bring them back for a refill and we’ll give you a discount!

Applications for Specific Plant Types

Houseplants and Container Plants: Potted plants really love compost tea!! They often struggle to grow because they are left in the same sterile planting mix for many years. Give them an immediate boost of life! Dilution at 1:1 is recommended for cacti and succulents. RECOMMENDED: apply compost tea rather than water once per week for as long as you like the results.

Garden Plants: Regular applications of compost tea throughout the growing season can improve tilth and aeration of depleted or unimproved soils. Plants in garden soil can benefit from direct soil application or foliar spraying at critical growing points such as the vigorous growth stage in early summer, flowering, and fruit set. This effect can be enhanced with a periodic amendment of the soil with solid organic matter such as compost.

Perennial shrubs and trees: Soak the ground with a watering can as they break from dormancy in the spring as well as during vigorous early summer growth, flowering, and fruit set.

Lawns: Grass can be sprayed with tea, either full strength or diluted, using a pump sprayer or a hose-end sprayer. Best time for application is when the grass starts to green up in the spring and once a month throughout the growing season.

Why you should Compost?

Contribute to the betterment of your Planet! As much as half of the waste stream consists of food waste, yard waste and other organic material that could be composted. When buried in a landfill, organic material causes groundwater contamination and contributes to global warming through the generation of methane. In contrast, when composted, food waste and other organics become a valuable soil amendment that can revive our badly depleted local soils.

That’s why Leaffin asks you to start an organic waste collection program in your community. You can start from your home as well as businesses, institutions, university cafeterias, foods market, and farmers’ market, to name a few. The material we collect is currently going to a regional composter. In the future, Eco-Cycle plans to build a local compost site, so we can make compost products that can be used right here on our local soils. Try compost tea on your own garden and lawns and learn for yourself the powerful benefits of organic waste! 

 

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