By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Organic fertilizer is one of my favorite secret tools in my gardening tool belt.
Out of all the organic fertilizers out there, my favorite is compost tea.
This fertilizer is easy to make and can be made by anyone anywhere.
The equipment required when making compost tea is very simple. A food grade plastic bucket with lid or oak barrel, burlap, and compost is all that is needed.
If the gardener does not want to have to dip out the fertilizer tea, a spigot can be placed on the bottom of the bucket or barrel. The fertilizer will flow through the container using gravity.
Once the materials have been gathered, first fill the plastic bucket up with water. Then, fill burlap with compost and tie off. Place the bundle inside the bucket and place the lid on. Let the “tea” steep for at least one week before using the compost tea.
After the steeping period has passed, water the plants as usual but do not use this water on seeds or seedlings. The concentration of nutrients is too strong for seeds and/or seedlings.
When the compost tea bucket is empty, remove the burlap bundle and untie. Empty the contents of the burlap bundle into the compost pile. Repeat the process for the next pot of compost tea.
Another approach to making liquid gold is through the use of manure. This tea can have a strong aroma so check with your neighbors first before brewing. The process is the same as the compost tea but instead of compost, use manure. This manure can be “hot” or right out of the animal or seasoned. Using this approach allows the gardeners to use an abundant supply of manure without having to wait for it to season especially when one is using horse or cattle manure.
After the tea has been all used up, empty the burlap bundle into the compost pile as described above.
When using this type of fertilizer, it is best to only use it on plants that are outside. Avoid using the manure tea on plants that will be moved indoors. Some of the aroma can remain in the soil and be carried into the home. Also while fertilizer is an important component of horticulture, do not think you can over do it because it is organic. The rules of proper fertilization still apply.
So until we blog again, manure may come and go but the nutrients stay behind.