If you’re looking to grow a garden, you know that fertilizer can be expensive, not to mention full of chemicals that can put a huge strain on the water table. So, how do you use fertilizer on your plants without hurting the environment?
Like the answer to so many problems, you make tea!
Compost tea is simply water brewed with compost to make a nutrient-rich, macrobiotic liquid that plants LOVE. Seriously, this stuff is gold. Like, holy crap, you wouldn’t even want chemical fertilizer after using this.
How to make it:
Step 1: Get Compost
If you don’t have your own compost box, it’s a great idea to get one! It’s a free source of fertilizer, and a great way to reduce your waste. If you use a worm compost, like me, ensure you separate the compost from the worms. You can do this by grabbing a large clump, and leaving it out somewhere with light. The worms will retreat to the bottom, and every few minutes you pull off the top layer and place it in the bucket – make sure there are no stray worms.
Step 2: Add water
A good ratio is 1 part compost to 3-4 parts water. Make sure the water isn’t freezing cold, or too hot. Nothing warmer than lukewarm. Cover the compost with water, and stir to make sure it’s all combined.
Step 3: Make Bubbles!
Hook up the air pump to some basic plastic tubing and an air stone. The air stone will disperse the air into small bubbles, which will keep the water moving. The compost has all sorts of micro-organisms that you want to breed and grow, which they will do in a warm, dark, moist environment… like your bucket!
Step 4: Brew
Add about 1 tbsp of non-sulfurated molasses. This gives the micro-organisms something to eat, which helps them replicate faster. Leave the bucket somewhere it won’t be disturbed, and somewhere it can stay close to room temperature. If it gets below freezing, you can kill your culture.
Let it bubble for about 4 days, or a few more if the weather is colder.
After that you can use it on all your plants, but make sure you use it right away, as it won’t last forever. For that reason, only make what you’ll need for a week. It’s best to fertilize plants shortly after they’ve been planted, when they’re flowering, and when they’re starting to fruit. Don’t fertilize right before harvest, or in the autumn/winter when they’re done growing.
Loving the city, but longing for the farm, Melissa has made a hobby and a habit out of living sustainably, and DIYing, all while enjoying the perks of living in the big city. From Vancouver BC, she posts about making your own homestead from the smallest condo, and bringing farm living to rapid transit.
Copyright © Josephine 2015. All rights reserved.