Do you have a garden? Are you always looking for ways to keep your plants healthy and free from pests? Look no further….today we will explore compost tea! Also called “soup” or “worm tea,” compost tea is a mixture of water and frass (a.k.a. worm feces.) It is a liquid produced from vermicomposting, which is the practice of raising worms for gardens, plants, and composting piles or bins.
Brewing Compost Tea
Compost tea is simple to make if you are already vermicomposting or plan to begin worm farming. It is simply a soup made from frass and the discarded materials left behind by worm foraging. Just like tea bags or loose tea, compost tea is best when the frass is steeped in warm water. After brewing for up to 24 hours, it is ready to use! You can pour it in potted plants, the soil in your garden, and any other place organic fertilizer or insecticide is required.
If you’re interested in using compost tea, but don’t feel quite ready to start worm farming, fear not! You can buy compost tea commercially from some Home & Garden stores and online. Tea bags are inexpensive and many types can be used several times.
Compost Tea Application
Once you have the tea, either homemade or store bought, we recommend using a spray bottle for quick and easy application. Compost tea can be stored in a spray bottle overnight, but we recommend using it as soon as it is brewed for best results! You can keep it and continue to use it as long as it remains odorless. If it starts to smell, it should be discarded!
Apply generously to plants and other vegetation to protect from pests and to encourage full-bodied leaf growth. Sickly plants, thin stemming, and droopy leaves may also thrive with compost tea treatments.
A home compost pile is also a great place to apply compost tea. Compost tea will reactivate good bacteria and help to speed up material breakdown. The resulting humus can then be added more frequently to your garden or yard!
The Benefits of Compost Tea
Considerable research has gone into the benefits of using compost tea. Many gardeners and farmers report that vegetables and fruits simply taste better. Compost tea applications also seem to account for larger, more prolific crops. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense! Frass is basically just healthy plants and recycled nitrogen, so if you use it to make compost tea and then apply the tea to your garden, you are feeding your plants digested plants! Other reasons to consider using compost tea include:
•Fewer insect infestations
•Less water needed for vegetation
•Non-toxic! Safe around pets and children
•No salt buildup
•No risk of plant burn if overused
•Not harmful to earthworms
Compost tea also acts as pest control and attacks fungus/prevents future fungal growth! The tea appears to be faster acting when compared to chemical-based pesticides. It’s also free of that chemical smell. It has no odor and activates to eliminate unpleasant aromas when mixed with animal manure.
We encourage all of our gardener readers to explore the use of compost tea and discover what works for their garden! We invite anyone who has used compost tea to share their stories in the comment section below.