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Compost Tea Is Like a Cuppa For Your Garden

In recent years, composting has become commonplace in homes around the world. With increasing numbers of individuals wanting to positively impact and help the environment, composting is a fantastic way to reduce landfill waste and give nutrients back to the land around you. Composting is all about benefitting the Earth in a natural way – kind of like sipping a cup of all natural, organic tea. While drinking your favorite tea may not be an active way to give back to your natural environment, you can make tea quite beneficial if you combine it with composting to create a unique blend: compost tea. That’s right, you can turn your leftovers and biodegradable waste into an all natural tea – just not one that you’d want to drink.

Don’t Drink Compost Tea

Although compost tea might sound like a perfectly healthy brew of tea, it isn’t one that you’ll want to pour a cup of. In fact, as Oregon State points out, compost tea is better suited for gardens and not humans. Oregon State defines compost tea as liquid extracted from compost – or, the “juice” pulled out of all those compost-suitable leftovers. Compost tea features microorganisms and plant-based compounds that can help your garden grow and your soil become healthier. Instead of drinking compost tea, or pouring it over your plants, it’s incorporated into the soil of gardens and farms to increase the number of beneficial microorganisms and foster new growth.

Compost tea in action!

This image shows Mark from standing next to his compost tea rig.

Compost tea can be used in gardens of any kind – from agriculture businesses and nurseries to viticulture and horticulture efforts – and it’s typically made according to one straightforward process. Once a sufficient amount of compost is collected, that material is stepped in water, just like your typical cup of tea. This steeping process draws out those all-important microorganisms, leaving them behind in the hot water. Some companies or individuals will add extra nutrients to their compost tea to make it even more effective, and to boost the microorganisms. It takes about 24 hours to complete one brewed batch of compost tea, as the compost requires a far longer steeping period than typical tea.

Compost Tea Comes with Benefits

Interested in brewing your own compost tea to give your garden an all-natural, organic drink for its health? Using compost tea offers many environmental benefits, for both plants and the entire ecosystem working on your land and in your soil. As Oregon State describes, this unique tea can make a world of difference. Compost tea can offer your garden:

  • Increased plant health
  • Improved resistance to garden pests and diseases
  • Increased soil nutrients
  • Larger microbial populations in the soil
  • Helps plants break down toxins faster
  • Better-tasting vegetables

While traditional compost comes with great garden benefits as well, applying compost tea can bring even greater help as you use your green thumb. Along with the positive effects compost can have when worked into your garden’s soil, adding compost tea directly affects the plants that have already begun to sprout.

Put Your Homemade “Tea” to Use

Once your compost tea is brewed and ready to use, there are a few steps to follow when you want to add it to your garden and soil. After steeping for about 24 hours, you can choose to apply your tea in two ways: by spraying it onto plants, or by pouring it directly into the soil. If you choose to pour your tea, aim to get the liquid close to the roots so any plants can soak up the tea as much as possible. When spraying your tea, you can use a diluted version of the tea – use a measurement of two cups of tea for every one cup of water on lawns, and a measurement of one cup to one cup of each for indoor plants and small gardens.

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No matter which method you choose, try to apply when the sun and its rays are minimal. Right around sunrise, or just at dusk, are great times – sunlight is present, but won’t be directly aimed on your plants as they absorb your tea. It’s also recommended that you get your compost tea into your garden within four to six hours of removing your liquid from its brewing location. Because compost tea includes living microorganisms, using it sooner rather than later ensures those vital plant helpers can get to work while they’re still alive.

Although you can’t – and shouldn’t – drink a warm cup of compost tea, not even from your nicest porcelain teacups, it can be a great benefit to your plants, your garden, and your environment. From getting your plants growing to putting your compost to even greater use, compost tea is the perfect way to make a difference with the environment, and create an entirely new kind of tea.

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