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The Liquid Gold Elixir: Brewing Nutrient-Rich Compost Tea for Thriving Plants

The Liquid Gold Elixir: Brewing Nutrient-Rich Compost Tea for Thriving Plants

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One of the most fulfilling parts of gardening is seeing your plants flourish. After spending all those hours toiling away in the sun and dirt, you can finally enjoy the “fruits” of your labor!

Unfortunately, it can also be heartbreaking to witness your precious plants stop growing, produce fewer blooms, or have a weak and lackluster overall appearance. In these cases, you might wish there was a way to give them a quick boost, like a vitamin pill for plants, right?

Good news—that’s exactly what a natural liquid fertilizer, called compost tea, is for! This healthy extract is loaded with micronutrients that can promote plant growth, prevent pest infestations, and increase your harvest. The best part is: making it is as simple as brewing a cup of tea.

What is Compost Tea?

Compost tea is an organic, nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer produced by steeping compost in clean water. This process extracts valuable nutrients and microorganisms from the compost and allows them to thrive and multiply so that they can benefit your plants!

Other names for compost tea include black liquid gold, compost extract, and organic tea. In addition to life-sustaining soluble nutrients, well-made compost tea will also contain microorganisms, like bacteria, fungi, and nematodes, which are good for your soil and plants.

Although pre-made compost tea is available at gardening stores, making your own is simple, sustainable, and affordable. As long as you have compost, you can make compost tea at home!

Benefits of Using Compost Tea

Whether you’re a home grower or a large-scale farmer, compost tea has a lot to offer! Because of these benefits, this nourishing solution is often considered a gardener’s favorite fertilizer:

  • Encourages healthy and speedy plant growth
  • Boosts the number of fruits, veggies, or flowers
  • Promotes stronger, deeper, and bigger roots
  • Improves soil structure and water retention
  • Keeps pests at bay, the natural way
  • Prevents potential plant diseases
  • Reduces the need for frequent watering
  • Minimizes the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

How to Make Compost Tea

There are two ways of making compost tea: the aerated method and the non-aerated method.

Non-Aerated Method

If you’re a home grower or backyard gardener, the simplest and easiest way to brew compost tea is through the non-aerated method. You’ll need high-quality finished compost, a mesh bag to put it in, and a bucket filled with non-chlorinated water.

All you have to do is put the mesh bag full of finished compost in a bucket and then fill the bucket with water. Keep the bucket in a cool, dark place, and stir the solution daily for one week.

Aerated Method

Aerated compost tea is made with the same steps mentioned above, with the addition of an aquarium bubbler in the bucket that contains your water and compost.

The bubbler produces a higher level of dissolved oxygen in the tea, allowing more microbes to thrive quickly. In about 48 hours, your aerated compost tea will be ready for you to use!

Applying Compost Tea on Your Plants

You can apply compost tea on indoor and outdoor plants around once a week—simply spray their leaves or pour the tea right into the soil at the base of the plants. Depending on your tea recipe, you may want to dilute three parts of tea with one part of water before applying.

Spraying a light layer onto the leaves of your plants protects them from pests and diseases. You can use a backpack sprayer, but a spray bottle works fine, too—it’s up to you!

Meanwhile, pouring the compost tea on the soil delivers nutrients straight to the plant’s roots. This will greatly enrich and enhance the structure of your soil and promote overall plant health.

Essential Tips on Compost Tea

Here are a few best practices to remember whenever you’re brewing or applying compost tea:

  • If you’re going to spray compost tea on your plants, do it in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid scorching the leaves in the noontime sun.
  • Schedule your watering before applying compost tea because watering will only dilute or wash off the liquid fertilizer from your plants.
  • Use your compost tea immediately after brewing, especially if it’s aerated. The longer your tea sits, the less effective it becomes.
  • Clean your spraying tools and brewing equipment thoroughly after each use to avoid breeding harmful bacteria.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re growing flowers, fruits, herbs, or vegetables in your home garden, you can expect healthier, faster, and more productive growth with the help of some compost tea!

All you need is the right compost tea recipe, along with some water, a mesh bag, compost, and a bucket. Just don’t forget to use non-chlorinated water, and always keep your equipment clean.

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