Gardeners can use kitchen and yard waste as components of a home composting system, reducing the need for bringing in outside additives into your garden. Home compost can also be used to produce home-grown fertilizers in the form of compost tea* – a liquid, nutritionally rich, well-balanced, organic supplement made by steeping aged compost in water.
Here is a simple compost tea recipe:
You will need:
• 2 5–gallon buckets
• 2 cups compost or worm casings
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1/4 cup fish hydrolysate
• Paint strainer or cheese cloth
- Fill one 5-gallon bucket most of the way with water and let it sit for 24 hours to remove chlorine from the water.
- Add all of the compost, molasses, and fish hydrolysate.
- Stir as often as possible for at least 8 to 12 hours.
- Secure paint strainer, cheese cloth or other fine mesh material to the top of the second, empty 5-gallon bucket and pour the now-brown water from the first bucket through the filter into the empty bucket.
- Apply compost tea in the morning or evening with a sprayer or apply directly to the surface of the soil. If applying to the soil, it’s best to wait a few hours after a rain. The moisture will help the soil absorb the tea.
In Bernheim’s edible garden, we use a homemade bioreactor which eliminates the need to stir the compost tea by hand and it helps to ensure a lush population of beneficial bacteria and fungus. If you’re interested in learning more, many online resources will provide easy step by step instructions.