If you don’t have an air pump, making compost might seem like a more difficult task. The truth is, you probably don’t even need to go to the store to buy supplies to be able to make a basic compost tea.
It’s likely that you already have every supply you might need already in your home. There are a few different methods to make compost tea without an air pump.
What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer that you can make at home, right in your backyard. It’s a method in which the nutrients and good bacteria that are present in regular compost are infused into the water that you add to it.
Much like regular tea, this is a way for water to absorb what’s present in compost. Just remember not to drink it, and use it in your garden to fertilize your plants.
Making your own compost tea is a great alternative to a traditional, store-bought fertilizer. If you want an organic garden, compost tea is a great way to do that. As an added benefit, compost tea is free to make.
Most of the time, you already have all the supplies you might need at home. If you don’t have everything you need to get started, making compost tea will still be less expensive than other fertilizers you can buy because the ingredients are very simple and inexpensive.
Fertilizing your garden by using compost tea is great for growing healthy plants. The nutrients added by the compost are natural, organic, and free of any harmful chemicals.
Your plants will grow faster and bigger than they would without the benefits of compost tea.
How to Use Compost Tea
Compost tea is most commonly used as a fertilizer for your garden. Putting compost tea in your garden can be beneficial to any type of plant.
You can use it on fruits, vegetables, flowers, bushes, or trees. It can be used on both potted plants, raised garden beds, and plants that are in the ground.
What Bacteria Is in Compost Tea?
If you have questions about how compost tea is made on a bacterial or microscopic level, and how that’s beneficial for your garden, keep reading for more information.
There are a lot of bacteria in compost tea that will be beneficial to your garden. These are the same bacteria that might be present in your compost.
They develop naturally over time if you add all of the correct ingredients. These bacteria are also commonly known as “microbes” or “microorganisms.”
Bacteria aren’t the only organisms that help break down your compost. There are three levels of organisms that are involved in breaking down compost and making it into a great fertilizer for your garden.
- These creatures help break down the ingredients that you mixed for your compost by eating or tearing apart the larger elements of compost.
- Some of these creatures might be snails, worms, beetles, spiders, and ants.
- These organisms are smaller than the ones in level three, and break down the elements of the creatures listed in level three.
- Some of the organisms you might have in level two are beetle mites, mold mites, and nematodes.
- These are the smallest and most important organisms out of all the levels. They decompose all of the organic material that is present in the compost, and are what makes the final product that is usable in your garden.
- The organisms in level three vary based on the condition of the compost and the area that you live in. Level one is made up of bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi.
The Easy Method for Making Compost Tea
The easiest way to make compost tea without an air pump is by mixing together your ingredients in a bucket. The bucket can be any size, just make sure that if it’s a larger bucket, you have enough materials to fill it up.
It can be hard to measure how much water to add if the bucket is too large for the amount of materials that you have, or the amount of materials that you added to the bucket.
All you need to make compost tea is finished compost from your compost bin and water. If you don’t have a compost bin already, you’ll need to set one up and wait until you have finished compost before you can make compost tea.
Compost bins are very easy to make, and you can set one up in almost any outdoor space.
Once you have your finished compost inside the bucket, fill the bucket the rest of the way with water from a hose. If your water supply has any chemicals in it such as chlorine, you need to leave a bucket of water out for about a day so that the chemicals have time to leave the water.
If you have any chemicals in your water at the time that you’re making compost, the chemicals will kill all the bacteria that you need to have to make compost tea. The end result won’t be what you need to fertilize your garden.
Another great option if you have chlorinated water is to collect rainwater in the bucket, and use that in your compost tea. Rainwater also has some added nutrients that are better for your plants than tap water is.
Once you have your compost tea mixed up with non-chlorinated water, leave the mixture for any time between 24 to 36 hours. This will give the compost time to add the nutrients to the water. You can use the mixture right away, without waiting.
However, if you use the compost tea right after you mix it, the compost liquid will not be very strong. It would be the same as adding the compost mixture to the top of your garden and then simply watering it as normal.
This is still beneficial to your plants, but the compost tea will be much better if you give it more time to develop. If you leave it out to sit even for just a few days, it will get much stronger and be better for the plants.
Make sure to mix the compost tea about twice a day as it’s developing. This introduces air into the compost, and will help the development of the good bacteria and microbes.
It’s a good idea to save some of your final compost tea inside the bucket when you’re done making it. This compost tea has already cultivated all the good bacteria that you need for finished compost tea.
If you leave some of it in the bottom of the bucket when you’re making another batch of compost tea, it will help the new batch grow the same bacteria faster.
The final result of this second batch is either going to be made faster than the first batch, or is going to be made stronger if you’ve left the tea to develop for as long as you did for the first batch.
Types of Compost Tea
There is more than one kind of compost tea. The difference between the other kinds of compost teas are what they are made of and some adaptations to the method to make compost tea.
Here are some other common types of compost tea that you can make at home.
- Plant tea is a kind of compost tea that replaces the use of actual compost. This is a great option for a gardener who doesn’t have a compost bin set up already, doesn’t have a good space for a compost bin in their yard, or cannot set up a compost bin due to their neighborhood or city rules. Plant tea uses plants in the place of compost. The result is still nutritious for using to water plants, but has different properties than regular compost tea.
- Manure tea is used mostly by farmers. While dried out manure is a common ingredient to use in any compost, typically you would dilute it with other organic materials in your compost bin. Because manure tea isn’t diluted by other materials, it has a bad smell. Due to this, it’s not a kind of compost tea that can be used in residential areas, and is best for large plots of land such as farms.
- Commercial microbial tea is a mix that you can buy in the store, and you just need to add some water to it to be able to use it in the place of compost tea in your garden. They are typically made to target specific issues in your garden, and are not just a general fertilizer. This is another great way to make compost tea if you don’t have a compost bin, or are unable to set up a compost bin in your yard. However, it isn’t as strong as a compost tea that you make. It might also be more expensive to purchase than the materials you need to make your own compost, and doesn’t have all of the same good bacteria that regular compost has.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.