Summer is finally here and my vegetable garden is happily soaking up the sunshine!
We didn’t get a chance to dig a new garden in the spring. I couldn’t bear the thought of not growing veggies, so I did a little research and got creative. I decided to attempt small space gardening and planted everything from lettuce to cucumbers in various sized pots. The setup was simple and I knew instantly it would require a lot less weeding than a traditional garden. Plus, I must admit, I felt like a bit of a gardening rebel growing cantaloupe in a pot! Yes, I live on the edge.
When I was transplanting the seedlings in spring, my biggest concern was supplying the plants with the right balance of nutrients. I planned to use compost tea as part of my regime and was curious to see how well it would work with the potted plants.
I have had great success with compost tea in the past. In fact, I’m a huge fan of the stuff because it helps create a healthy balance of good bacteria (nematodes, fungi, and protozoa, oh my!). It also replaces toxic garden chemicals which is a humongous environmental benefit.
A few years ago, my dad and I combined a few different concepts and came up with our own compost tea method which seems to work great. Here are the steps I follow when making compost tea for my home garden.
Supplies needed: 5 gallon bucket with lid, organic compost or worm castings, water, hose, nylon bag or paint strainer bag, fish tank aerator with tubing and air stones, and a water can or sprayer for application
Step 1: Fill the nylon bag with organic compost. This time around, I used organic worm castings that I found locally.
Step 2: Fill the 5 gallon bucket with water.
Step 3: Place the nylon bag in the water. Leave the string hanging out of the bucket.
Step 4: Connect the aquarium tubing and air stones to the aerator. Place the air stones inside of the bucket. Put the lid loosely on the bucket so you don’t pinch the tubing.
Step 5: Set the aerator on top of the bucket or on a nearby table. Plug the aerator into an electrical source.
Step 6: Leave the aerator running for 24-36 hours.
Step 7: Using a sprayer or water can, apply the compost tea directly to your garden, potted plants, or lawn.
– Brewing the tea too long will kill off beneficial bacteria, so do not brew the compost tea for longer than 36 hours.
– Compost tea can be applied every day, once a week, or once a month. There is no set rule about how often to apply and you do not have to worry about over doing it. I apply compost tea about every two weeks.
I absolutely love the idea of composting because it keeps food and lawn scraps out of landfills. It also creates personal food accountability and a smaller ecological footprint. There are so many different composting methods in books and online. Please feel free to share your compost expertise in the comments below.