Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Making Compost Tea

Compost tea is liquid gold in the garden, and I have wanted to make it for quite awhile now. But I didn't have all the equipment that "they" say I needed, and it seemed like such a hassle with the pumps, tubing, aeriators, strainers, bubblers, etc., etc. I readily admit that I am a lazy gardener--if there is a quick and easy way to do something, I want to know about it.

Enter Marjorie Wildcraft of Backyard Food Productions. She interviewed Peter Paul about his compost/worm bin and how he makes compost tea. He calls it "worm juice" and it is incredibly easy to make once the set up is done.  You can watch the eight-minute interview here.

Peter used a water trough, so I watched Craigslist for a water trough. I found a couple for a good price, but someone else got them first. The others were too expensive or too big (my car will only hold so much).

 After three weeks of lurking on Craigslist, I finally gave up and bought two plastic bins on sale at Fred Meyer.
I drilled holes in the bottom of ONE of the bins. This will be the top bin.
 I put four one-gallon pots in the bottom bin.

Then stacked the top bin (the one with the holes) on top.
Since I have an abundance of shredded paper (the joys of having a home office), used that instead of leaves for the first layer. The worms from our compost bin were then moved to the new bin on top of the shredded paper.
I have a friend with rabbits, and she gives be manure, so I layered the Bunny Berries and worms with grass clippings, leaves and other yard waste. Put the lid on loosely, and in the corner it goes. Now I just have to wait.
After about four days, I wondered how the worms were doing. I checked the bottom bin, and there was already compost tea!  I need a little bit more before I can start using it, but I am really looking forward to big, healthy plants in the garden this year!

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  1. Hate to break it to you but I just took a class on this and you need to use your tea within 24 hours or it does nothing for your plants. All those good happy bacteria and stuff don't last longer than that. This is a common mistake that farmers make. They make big batches, fill up a tank, and then let it sit. Bad idea.

    1. Really? I have a lot to learn about compost tea, but Peter (in the video) has apparently had great results with his "worm juice". I am just getting started, so I have no personal experience to draw from--I will defintely post my results.

  2. I hate to break it to you, but as no-one else has - this is NOT compost tea. This is worm juice. Compost tea is made by soaking a stocking/cheesecloth bag etc filled with healthy compost in a big bucket of water for about one month. You can stir it every so often in that month, Get a lid as it will be smelly (I use a 112litre (approx 30 gallons) plastic garbage(trash to you) bin. At the end of the month you can take out some of the liquid it should be a dark brown colour, dilute it to the colour of weak tea with water, and use it on your garden. Gardening Australia did a great spot on their TV show a few months back about this, and you should be able to find it on their site if so inclined.
    OH PS when the bag of compost is no longer making rich brown tea, it can be thrwon back on the compost heap to break down completely.

    1. Yes, you are right. I have since learned the difference between compost tea and worm juice--thank you for your comment. So far it has helped in the garden, but I'm not seeing the stellar results I was hoping for. Maybe I'm diluting it too much.


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