How Do I Make Compost Tea?
Making compost tea is relatively straightforward. The most important thing you need to remember is to use well-aged compost. Why is this imperative? Unfinished compost can sometimes contain harmful pathogens that can cause more harm than good to your plants and vegetables.
On the other hand, if your compost is too old, it’s also possible that it could lack the nutrients your plants and vegetables need in order to thrive. If you find that your compost hasn’t fully developed, dig down a little deeper, closer to the bottom of your compost bin, as this is where your organic material for compost tea will be the most decomposed.
You can make your compost tea as a rule of thumb, in between 24-30 hours, depending on the temperature, on a hot day the brewing time will be shorter.
It’s important to note that annuals and perennials require compost teas that are made up of different bacteria to fungal ratios. If you want to show more love to your fruit trees, they’ll thrive best in fungal-dominated soils.
The following three compost tea recipes will be a good starting point if you’re a home-grower. Each recipe below makes around 20 litres of compost tea that should cover approximately 0.4ha.
The following recipes are recommended by microbiology expert Dr Elaine Ingram
and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc specifically for home growers, commercial growers rely on professional soil testing services for their specific soil types:
COMPOST TEA FOR GENERAL PURPOSES
- 20L Freshwater
- 80mL Fish hydrolysate
- 40mL Liquid kelp
- 200g Compost
Add the water to a bucket. Town water usually contains chlorine and other treatment chemicals, so it’s important to let the water settle for 24 hours or switch on the pump to aerate for a couple of hours as this will help remove the chlorine and other chemicals.
Add the liquid kelp and fish hydrolysate to the water and mix. We recommend adding your compost into a “tea bag”. This is a polypropylene bag with holes of 400 microns, which can be purchased from our online store.
With gentle bubbling, brew the ingredients between 24-30 hours.
BACTERIA-BASED COMPOST TEA
(Suitable for vegetables)
- 20L Fresh water
- 30mL Fish hydrolysate
- 60mL Liquid kelp
- 200g Compost
- 10mLs Backstrap molasses
Pour water into a large bucket, removing any chlorine and other treatment chemicals by turning on the pump and aerating it.
Add the fish hydrolysate, liquid kelp and molasses and stir. Place the compost in your “tea bag” and brew for 24-30 hours with gentle steady bubbling.