GardenRx: Brew Manure and Compost Tea

GardenRx: Brew Manure and Compost Tea / PBS-TV’s Garden Rx starring Loren Nancarrow shows you how to brew up a batch of manure and compost tea for your garden.

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Recipe:  Brew Manure and Compost tea with molasses to feed the beneficial bacteria in the soil.


1 shovelful of compost

1 large piece of cheesecloth

5-gallon bucket.

Place compost in cloth and tie closed.

Place package in bucket filled with water. Let steep for 2 to 3 days.

Use fish pump to oxygenate the solution and get the good bacteria really growing.

Then add ¼ cup of black strap molasses or a handful of worm castings to feed the beneficial bacteria.

Use as soil drench or foliar fertilizer.    

Expand ingredients proportionately to fill a trash can for lots of tea.

Brew manure, also known as manure tea, is a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer made by steeping animal manure in water. This process allows the beneficial microorganisms and nutrients present in the manure to leach into the water, creating a potent liquid fertilizer.

Compost tea, on the other hand, is made by steeping composted plant materials in water. This allows the beneficial microorganisms and nutrients in the compost to be extracted, resulting in a nutrient-dense liquid fertilizer. Compost tea is a great option for those who prefer to avoid using animal-based fertilizers.Both brew manure and compost tea have several benefits for garden plants. Firstly, they provide a rich source of nutrients that plants need for healthy growth. The nutrients present in manure and compost tea are easily absorbed by plants, leading to increased vigor and productivity.

Additionally, brew manure and compost tea contain beneficial microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, that can improve soil health. These microorganisms help break down organic matter in the soil, making nutrients more available to plants. They can also suppress harmful pathogens, promoting a healthier growing environment for plants.

To make brew manure or compost tea, start by placing the manure or compost in a container, such as a large bucket. Fill the container with water and let it steep for a certain period, typically around 24-48 hours. The duration of steeping may vary depending on the type of manure or compost used. Once steeped, strain the liquid to remove any solid particles and transfer the nutrient-rich liquid into a sprayer or watering can.

When using brew manure or compost tea, it’s important to dilute it with water before applying it to plants. This prevents over-fertilization, which can harm plants. Dilute the tea at a ratio of 1 part tea to 10-20 parts water, depending on the strength desired.

GardenRx encourages gardeners to use brew manure and compost tea as part of their regular gardening routine. These natural fertilizers can significantly enhance plant health and productivity while reducing the need for synthetic chemical fertilizers. Whether you choose brew manure or compost tea, adding these organic fertilizers to your gardening arsenal is sure to benefit your plants and the environment.

Check out our video and see how easy it is to make your own compost tea! Happy gardening.

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