Compost Tea

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What is Compost Tea?

Compost tea is a solution that is made up of billions of beneficial microorganisms, which infuse soils and plants with microbial life. The role of this solution is to setup a rich, biodiverse ecosystem within the soil in order to allow plants to receive the fullest benefits of their surrounding environment. Simply put, compost tea is the organic gardener’s answer for an economical way to create the healthiest, most disease resistant, and highest yielding plants imaginable.

What are the Benefits of Compost Tea?

Compost tea is on the cutting edge of organic gardening. Recent studies are illuminating the vital importance of a healthy and balanced ecosystem within the soil in order to produce the healthiest, most robust plants possible. Healthy soil equals healthy plants.

The primary level of this ecosystem begins with beneficial bacteria and fungi, which are essential for transforming the nutrients in the soil and making it readily available for plants and other higher-level consumers, such as earthworms and other essential soil builders.

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This is where compost tea comes in. Through the process of compost tea brewing we are taking the beneficial bacteria and fungi that are already living in a healthy compost and allowing them to reproduce and grow in exponential numbers. The result is a super-charged solution that is ready to infuse your soil and plants with all the beneficial microorganisms they need to most efficiently extract the nutrients from their surrounding environment. And because these organisms set up a balanced ecosystem within the soil they will do the work of continually replenishing the soil with new stores of rich nutrients. Although this may sound too good to be true, it’s what is actually already going on in natural forest systems in the wild. Go here to lean more about this.

By using compost tea a gardener can increase yields through enhancing nutrient absorption, creating healthier plant immune systems, and reducing diseases such as mold and powdery mildew. This unique blend of nutrients, fungi, protozoa, bacteria, and nematodes is instrumental in creating a natural and balanced food web within the soil. Compost tea helps the plant to absorb nutrients from existing and added organic fertilizers and is most effective when used as a soil and foliar feed.

 

How is Compost Tea made?

To make compost tea you need a compost tea brewer and a compost tea mixture– both of which are manufactured for sale here at Abundant Garden Supply.

Compost Tea Brewer

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The first thing you will need is a compost tea brewer. Having the correct brewer is an integral part to the compost tea brewing process. It is critical that the compost tea brewer is equipped with a proper size air pump, so that the solution receives a steady and adequate flow of oxygen throughout the brewing process. If the solution does not receive enough oxygen during the brewing process then the beneficial microorganisms within the tea will begin to die off. This may cause the compost tea to go septic and can be harmful to your plants.

In addition to the air pump, it’s important that the brewer is easy to clean. This includes the entire tank and any hoses that the compost tea has traveled through. Again, failure to clean any compost tea within the brewer can create a septic residue that may infect future brews. A good way to know if your tea has become septic is to smell it. If the tea smells bad, don’t use it.

Here at Abundant Garden Supply we have meticulously incorporated all of these features in our highly durable Abundant Garden Brewer series to ensure that only the finest compost tea is delivered to your plants.

Compost Tea Mixture

The next thing you will need is a compost tea mixture. In order to create a compost tea that is rich in beneficial microorganisms, it’s essential to start with a balanced compost tea recipe. Here at Abundant Garden Supply we’ve shared our own custom recipe that combines a high-grade compost with the perfect ratio of other specific organics and nutrients to produce a solution teeming in beneficial bacteria and fungi. You can find this recipe in our easy-to-use Read-Brew Compost Tea Kits.

Brewing
Now that you have your compost tea brewer and a balanced compost tea mixture, it’s time to brew!

The brewing process begins by filling you brewer with non-chlorinated water (chlorinated water will kill the beneficial microorganisms you are trying to grow in your compost tea). If you live in an urban setting and don’t have access to non-chlorinated water then you can de-chlorinate it by filling your brewer and turning on the air pump with the brewer lid off for 3 to 4 hours. This will allow the chlorine in the water to evaporate off.

aboutUsImage With your brewer filled with non-chlorinated water, its time to add your balanced compost tea mixture. The best way to do this is to pour your compost tea ingredients into a compost tea brew bag. This will allow the fungi and friendly bacteria to pass into the compost tea solution, while at the same time hold back the clumps of organic material that can cause clogging inside your brewer or foliar-feeding sprayer. It’s important that the mesh of your brew bag is the proper size to promote fungal growth. Here at Abundant Garden Supply we have taken special care in selecting a compostable jute-fiber brew bag with a proper size mesh to equip our Read-Brew Kits.

Once you have added your compost tea ingredients to your brew bag, hang the brew bag so that it is at least 2/3 suspended in the water. Then close the lid and turn on the air pump. The aeration portion of the brewing process takes 14 to 18 hours and is instrumental in fostering the growth and reproduction of microbial life. Do not allow the tea to brew for more than 72 hours. If the tea is allowed to brew longer than this, the microorganism will use up all available nutrients in the tea and begin to die off, again turning the tea septic.

Applying Compost Tea

Compost tea can be applied both as a soil and a foliar feed.

Soil Feed
To apply as a soil feed, we recommend that you dilute the tea at a ratio of 1aboutUsImage gallon of tea in 4 gallons of water (1:4). Although you cannot harm your plants by administering a fully concentrated tea, by diluting the tea you allow the beneficial microorganisms to come in contact with more soil. After diluting the solution, pour the compost tea onto the soil around your plants at a rate of approximately 5 gallons of diluted tea per 100 square-feet. Again, you can’t over-feed your plants with compost tea.

Foliar Feed
To apply the tea as a foliar feed, we recommend diluting the tea at a ratio of 1 gallon of tea in 1 gallon of water (1:1). You can administer the tea as a foliar feed by pouring onto or splashing your plants leaves with the tea, or by using a sprayer. We have found that concrete sprayers (available in hardware stores) work best for avoiding clogging. While foliar feeding, it’s important to spray the entire leave, top and bottom. This will coat your plants leaves with the beneficial bacteria in the tea and help it fight off harmful pests and diseases. Never foliar feed in direct sunlight.

Infuse Your Soil with the Life It Needs.

Order your Abundant Brewer and Ready-Brew Compost Tea Kit today, and permeate your plants and soil with microbial life!

More Resources…

The Grass is Greener at Harvard
Growing BIG Vegetables using Compost Tea
Rodale Institute
Teaming With Microbes
Natural Science Organics
Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
Steiner College