Monday, April 30, 2012

Compost Tea - Organic Fertilizer

Just add enough water to cover;  mash it down with a stick
As I posted earlier in Organic Fertilizer, I decided to go "green" to feed my garden. Any information regarding compost tea I've read, suggests making compost tea with rain water (or chlorine free water). It's known that chlorinated water will kill off beneficial microbes that we want in the compost tea.

So far I've collected burdock and nettles and shredded their leaves with my hands (gloves) and cut up the roots. I placed all of it at the bottom of the pail and poured enough rain water over it until the burdock was covered. I mashed and bashed the leafy bits, as to bruise them. I stirred it around for a while and then placed a cover loosely over the top to keep the light out. Each day, I stir the compost tea with a stick, adding more water until the bucket is full.

Living in a condo-corp townhouse, I wish I could catch water with a rain barrel. It's a bummer that I can't, so I improvise. I have a corner of my backyard which gets quite a good soaking from heavier spring rains, plus my composter has a great empty space below and since the rain sheds off it, I decided to collect any drop I could.  I placed my garden tub underneath it and after one rainfall it was nearly full. Yet I know I can't rely on catching rain every time, this spring attests to that.

Alternately, if your only source of water is from the City, fill enough buckets or containers with water for all your needs and let them sit for a couple of days. Most of the chlorine that kills microbes will have evaporated away after 2 days. Just be sure to pour the water into another pail/container to get the air back into the water.

Prickly nettles added a day later...
Since my veggie containers have no sub-soil or worms below, I want the healthy bacteria from the tea to help kick start the growing season. Using it in my container planters will help suspend nutrients and microbes in the soil, allowing the plants to draw up necessary elements more readily before they leach through. Since it's non burning, it's great for establishing young plants. Plus it's organic and I don't have to worry about what gets on my veggies.

4 days into brewing
Nettles and Comfrey are starting to become sizable, and this week I will begin to pick some (with gloves for the nettles) and add it to this brewing batch.  I haven't added any compost or anything outside of the plant and already the tea is getting darker each day.

The brew takes a while longer in the spring with cooler temperatures. I aim to make a brew each week, so that in 2 weeks time, it will be ready. So far so good!

Next time I will show you how to strain and use.

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