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Compost Tea Recipe

By Bernheim

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

Steps:

  1. Fill one 5-gallon bucket most of the way with water and let it sit for 24 hours to remove chlorine from the water.
  2. Add all of the compost, molasses, and fish hydrolysate.
  3. Stir as often as possible for at least 8 to 12 hours.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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