This page will demonstrate brewing, making compost tea and then applying lawn tea. If you haven’t visited our compost tea page yet, you should before you actually start brewing. It will explain the how to, why’s and when’s we brew compost tea, worm tea and tea compost in the first place.
Making compost tea can be as much fun as it is challenging
Video Below !
What is compost tea?
Compost tea is biology, (microbes) stripped off compost or vermicompost through agitation producing a liquid that can be applied directly to foliage and soil.
Teas are used to add beneficial microbes and some nutrients to the soil aiding plant and root growth.
Many times, additives such as humic acid, mycorrhizal spores, fish hydrolysate, molasses etc. are mixed with tea compost while brewing to increase and diversifying the microbes in the brewing compost to enhance whatever the lawn tea is applied to.
I know this website pertains to organic lawn care but compost tea can be applied to any plant that requires soil including:
- Any plant with roots
One important side note is that you shouldn’t use compost tea on vegetables 120 days prior to harvest!
There are several ways of brewing tea compost but on our lawn we will be using:
Our brew today is going to be 5 gallons.
You can make compost tea in any quantity but remember its AACT Actively Aerated Compost Tea. It has to be used within a few hours after brewing. So only brew what you’re going to use right away. Plan accordingly when making compost tea or worm tea.
For in-depth details, pictures and video on compost tea please visit:
To the bucket!
Type making compost tea into a search engine and you’ll get a whole college of different brewing devices out there. If you want to purchase one by all means go ahead but like compost not all brewers are created equal when making compost tea. Do some research if you decide to purchase one of these brewers. If anything make sure the pump is adequately strong enough. Spend time reading and comparing reviews of people who have used the particular brewer when making compost tea.
Or you can easily do it yourself in a clean 5 – gallon bucket
As far as a pump goes, don’t go and grab the kid’s aquarium or bicycle pump for this, you’ll need something a little stronger. For a five – gallon brew you will need a pump that’s at least 1 cubic feet per minute. The one I use is 1.5 cubic feet per minute. I bought it on-line and it was about $60.
You will need a decent sized air stone and flexible tubing that will fit both ends. Make sure the flexible hose is secure at both ends.
Place air stone on the bottom of the bucket. If you have time and you want to cut a hole into the cover for a tighter fit that fine.
Fill your bucket with water
If you have chlorinated supplied water (City Water) this is the time you are going to aerate. The chlorine will evaporate making it safe for the microbes. Adding a little bit of liquid humate is a good option to rid the water of chloramine when making compost tea.
Liquid humate can be purchased here.
I chose the one gallon container because there are many uses for humic acid in organic lawn care and it’s good to have handy.
While we wait for the water to aerate, let’s get that compost tea bag ready
There are many things you can use as a tea brewing bag when making compost tea.
I’ve used woman’s nylons with success but I seem to have better results using a paint – straining bag, plus they’re less than a dollar for a couple of them.
Put in about 4 – 6 cups of healthy compost for a 5 – gallon brew
- Place a few ping – pong balls inside to keep the bag afloat and so the compost doesn’t clump
- Adjust the amount of compost you add, the bag needs to float or it won’t be fully aerobic
- Tie everything nice and secure
- Presto! we have our tea bag.
After waiting for the water to be oxygenated enough to evaporate any chlorine (1 – 2 hours):
- Place the tea bag into the bucket
- Add about two tablespoons of molasses to feed and multiply the bacteria
- Add fish hydrolysate and kelp mixture to feed and grow the fungi
- If you use mycorrhizal inoculant you’ll want to wait toward the end of the brew to add it.
When mycorrhizal spores are added to tea compost and it’s applied to grass seed or roots the benefits can’t be matched by any fertilizer.
By choosing different foods for the microbes in the tea, you can control the outcome of whether it’s bacterial or fungal.
Bacteria multiplies and fungi grows. Here is a list of various compost tea food additives:
- Blood meal
- Alfalfa meal
- Corn gluten
- Fish emulsion
Place your cover back on the bucket, make sure you secure it! and let it brew for about 20 to 24 hours.
When making compost tea, you don’t want to brew much past the 24 hours because the microbes begin to run out of food and will start to eat each other, which deplete the all important oxygen.
When the brew is complete, the tea should smell good. If it doesn’t smell good it probably has gone anaerobic which means the oxygen levels have been depleted and it should be discarded.
Your tea should be used within 4 hours after you shut off the pump. If your weekends are free an idea is to start making compost tea Saturday morning so it will be ready to use Sunday.
Time it accordingly and use good ingredients and you should have success
When you’re done making compost tea make sure you thoroughly clean the bucket, hose and air stone. Remember, this are bacteria and fungi we’re talking about so it must be kept clean.
A bioassay will give you an accurate account of microbes and their populations if you want but as I’ve stated before on this website, the test can be costly.
Though expensive, a bioassay will tell you what your tea, soil or compost is lacking in biology and how to solve problems and adjust your brew when making compost tea.
If your interested in having a bioassay test after your done making compost tea visit Dr. Elain Ingram has done amazing and revolutionary work in the field.
Another site full of info is Tim Wilson’s Microbe Organics has put together a very informative site
and if your interested in doing your own bioassay or just want to learn more about microbes, he has quality microscopes for sale at reasonable prices.
Let’s Recap With Some
Making Compost Tea Pictures
Making Compost Tea Pictures