If you want to improve your soil, learn how to make aerobic compost tea, meaning with oxygen, and use it regularly. It is an effective system, and is safe for your family and pets. You can use compost tea as either a foliar spray or as a soil drench.
Materials You Need for Making Compost Tea
- One (1) five-gallon bucket
- One gallon ripe compost
- Four (4) gallons of unchlorinated water
- One (1) aquarium air stone to aerate the water
- One (1) aquarium air pump
- Three (3) 12-ft. long aquarium tubings
- One (1) plastic gang valve unit to allow for air flow regulation on multiple air lines
- One (1) big nut, probably about half an inch, to prevent the tubing from going to the top
- One (1) bag to contain the compost, with enough space for water to go through it
Procedure for Making Compost Tea
- Fill the pail with unchlorinated water. If the only water you have is chlorinated, let the water sit in the pail for 24 hours before making the compost tea.
- Attach the three tubings to the gang valve unit
- Place the gang valve on the side of the bucket
- Allow the tubings to reach the bottom of the bucket
- Position the nut on the tubing to prevent it from rising to the top
- Allow the aquarium air pump to let air into the stone
- To promote bacteria growth for the compost tea, add about a fourth of a cup of molasses. For fungi growth, a handful of kelp and humic acid, and for protozoa, some hay and sphagnum peat moss.
- Place the bag of compost into the pail with water. The air stone should be constantly running.
- Allow the mix to aerate for one whole day.
- Use a fine mesh screen or cheesecloth to sift the mixture
- Place the compost tea in a bottle sprayer
- Use the compost tea immediately. The microorganisms die quickly, and you do not want them to do so before you use the compost tea on your plants.
Applying the Compost Tea
- Fill a shovel about half-full with compost, and place in a bag.
- Use a watering can or a regular sprayer, depending on where your plant needs the compost tea. Do not use any container that you think has been used for chemicals. No matter how well you think you have rinsed it, some residue will still remain and it can kill the microorganisms in the compost tea. In other words, your supposedly organic spraying has come to naught.
- To side dress a plant with the compost tea, spray away from the plant roots.
- Spray the compost tea on plant leaves and lawns regularly
When brewing compost tea, you can also use automated machines and commercial barrels instead of the simple pail system described above. Whichever you use, regular application will do wonders for your plants. Compost tea helps with the nutritional quality and flavor of your vegetables.