Imagine for a moment you are brewing your favorite cup of tea. You boil some water on stove, place your tea bag in a cup that can hold hot liquids, and when the water reaches a hot temperature to your liking you pour the water into the tea bag filled cup. You either walk away from the cup to let the tea bag do its thing or you stand there and steep the cup of hot brew to obtain the flavor that you so desire.
Brewing compost tea is basically the same way except you don’t use hot liquid and instead of a tea bag you use compost and although this wonderful elixir is great for trees, plants and shrubs, if you drank it, you would get extremely sick. But other than that they are similar (notice the sarcasm).
There are many recipes available to brew various kinds of compost tea, and all are very good. The most important thing is starting with good compost. Your compost should have an “earthy” smell to it. If it smells foul then it contains too much anaerobic bacteria and that could invariably do more harm than good to your vegetable plants.
Here is why you want to use compost tea in your home vegetable garden. It doesn’t matter if you have a ½ acre plot of land for your garden or everything you plant is in containers, compost tea works for every style of garden.
Compost tea is the result of steeping compost in water. The resulting tea is then spray on plants and it helps prevent diseases and stimulates plant growth. It does this because the tea contains microbes which aid in eliminating bad bacteria and fungus that may attack your plants. These same microbes are also absorbed by the plants as well as other creatures in the underlying soil to improve the plant and soil conditions.
Just like your own cup of tea when you add hot water to the tea bag it releases the flavors and color of the tea that you are looking for. Instead of using hot water, if you are looking to increase the number of microbes in your compost tea you simply aerate the compost water mixture with a simple aquarium pump and add a teaspoon of molasses to give the bacteria something to eat while they reproduce at a tremendous rate.
In some studies, according to findings on the USDA website, compost tea has shown to improve root development of many varieties of vegetable plants grown in the home vegetable garden, along with tastier fruits and larger harvests.
There is no question that compost tea, when brewed properly, can yield tremendous results for a home vegetable gardener’s harvest. If you have not added compost tea to your repertoire of home vegetable gardening “tactics”, you should definitely do so as soon as possible.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike’s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.