Hello, Readers, Handyman here! Today, I’m excited to bring you a wildly successful compost tea recipe, as promised! You won’t want to break out the fine china for this one… In this post, I’ll be going over where I got my recipe, the actual recipe with instructions, why each ingredient is important, and when you should make and apply this compost tea. If you’re using my Companion Planting Guide as well as this compost tea you can expect amazing results!
I include some links for buying the ingredients you might need. These links are affiliate links, and we are paid a small commission if you buy something through those links, at no extra cost to you. I never link to products unless I use them myself without specifically warning you.
Where did I get my Compost Tea Recipe?
My friend, whom I consider to be a master vegetable gardener, the same friend that inspired me to build my raised bed garden boxes as soon as possible, gave me his recipe that he’s been using for many years. I asked for his advice on how I should fertilize. He gave me his recipe – the one he swears by. Not only that, but he invited me over while he was putting this concoction together to show me and give me hands on experience with making it.
|Prep Time||1 hour|
|Passive Time||24 hours|
- 1 Cup Unsulfured Molasses
- 1 Gallon Bucket Worm Castings
- 1 Gallon Bucket Aged Chicken Manure
- 1 Gallon Bucket Mulched Tree Leaves
- 1 Gallon Bucket Compost
- 1/4 Cup Fulvic Acid
- 1/4 Cup Humic Acid
- 2 Cup Azomite Rock Dust
- 16 Gallons Water
- Pour 15-gallons of clean water into your 20-gallon bucket.
- Dissolve molasses in 1/2 gallon of water then add to the 20-gallon bucket.
- Dissolve fulvic acid, humic acid, and azomite rock dust in 1/2 gallon of water and add.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir vigorously for one minute.
- Add an aeration pump. I use a 2-hose fish tank pump, with hoses that have air rocks attached to the end.
- Stir every few hours while you are awake. This allows the microorganisms to get access to the parts of the mix that have settled.
- After 24 hours your tea should be ready. It should smell earthy, and slightly sweet, not rotten.
- For trees, filter 4 cups of compost tea into 2 1/2 gallons of clean water in a bucket with a 1/8" hole drilled in the bottom, essentially drip feeding each tree.
- For garden vegetables, mix 1 cup of filtered mixture per 10 cups of clean water in a pump sprayer and evenly coat each planting area.
IMPORTANT: Make sure to use compost tea within 4 hours of removing aeration, otherwise the mixture will turn bad. You'll know by the rotten smell. You can leave it on the aerator for no more than 36 hours before it starts to go bad.
20 Gallons of Compost Tea is a LOT. You can halve or quarter the recipe above, or else talk a few other gardeners into joining your gardeners 'tea party'.
What The Ingredients Do
After looking at the ingredients list, you might be wondering why some of those ingredients are included in the mix. Well, I have those answers for you here:
- Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses is food for the bacteria.
- Worm Castings are the inoculant for the mix which supplies most of the microorganisms. (* See the note below for this link)
- Chicken manure is rich in nitrogen. It needs to be aged, not fresh, as the nitrogen level in fresh chicken manure is actually TOO high for safe use in your garden.
- Leaf mulch and compost supply the bacteria and fungi.
- Fulvic Acid dissolves insoluble nutrients so that more food is available to the plant; this promotes optimum plant growth, increased yield, improved plant health and much more.
- Humic Acid is not only food for fungi but improves a plant’s immunity, metabolism, and root development, and like fulvic acid, it does so much more.
- Azomite Rock Dust provides over 70 minerals and trace elements. If your plant is lacking in one nutrient, its growth will be stunted. It doesn’t matter if there is plenty of nitrogen in the soil if it’s lacking another important nutrient. The plant will not reach its full potential.
*A Note On Worm Castings
Worm castings are essentially dirt that a bunch of worms has lived in for a while. They don’t use acids to dissolve the dirt for their food, they process them with microorganisms which get left in the discarded waste. You can, and I usually do, make this at home by keeping a bunch of worms in a bucket of dirt for a while. I have not personally bought my own worm castings before, so I can’t stand behind the linked product like I can with the acids and rock dirt. I just wanted to be upfront about that with you.
When do you make and use the compost tea?
I use this recipe at three important months every year: February, June, and September.
I use the compost tea in February because it helps replenish nutrients in the ground that will be absorbed when Spring is in full swing.
In June, the compost tea helps provide nutrients during fruiting.
Nutrients from the compost tea can be absorbed before hibernation for trees. Likewise, vegetables being overwintered are fortified by the extra push of minerals and nutrients.
If you use this compost tea recipe, you won’t be disappointed! Tune in next week to see my post on growing peas and cucumbers on an A-frame trellis, and how to build one yourself.
Until next time…
Handyman is on the job!