Supercharge Your Compost: Make Your Own Green Fertilizer

062309_rg_composttea_01.jpgIf you have a garden, you can spend quite a bunch of money on fertilizer. Instead of doing so, what if you were able to brew your own, something like a super-compost? Well, this is actually possible by brewing a strange sort of compost tea that you would be able to use to fertilize your beloved plants. There are a bunch of different recipes out there and different gear that you can get, but the easiest way is just to do it yourself.

062309_rg_composttea_02.jpgThis strange brew is made with compost and a bucket, so it’s pretty cheap. Usually, gardeners tend to use compost to increase the amount of organic material in the soil of their plants and boost nutrient content. This is a great way to foster your garden. However, you can create this compost tea that can be poured onto your plants at anytime. The primary benefit of this tea is that roots will get the nutrients quickly. There is another benefit to this tea. It helps to treat leaf fungus and other plant ailments.

Compost tea can be made in a simple five gallon bucket to something much larger and complex, such as a 100-gallon tank with built in agitators. We recommend starting small to see if this is something that is suited for your style of gardening. To start off with, you have to throw some compost into your container, filling it about halfway. You have to top it off with water and keep it out of direct sunlight. You should stir the mixture about once a day. It will take a week for the water to absorb key nutrients from the decomposing compost. Once that time has passed, you should strain off the excess compost and dilute this new fertilizer in 5 parts water. The result is a high quality liquid fertilizer.

It’s important to stir this mixture gently a few times a day. This helps to incorporate the oxygen and will dislodge the microbes from the solid material. If there isn’t enough oxygen, you will get a foul-smelling, anaerobic soup that contains unfriendly bacteria. If your tea turns smelly, all you need to do is add some more fresh water and stir more often. Nothing goes to waste! The aerobic bacteria will reestablish themselves as soon as there is enough oxygen. Instead of straining, you could always just keep the composting material in the container and just top it off with more water. That way, you can keep brewing more batches of compost tea without needing to start a new batch from scratch.

If this process doesn’t float your boat, you could always purchase a compost tea kit. There are quite a few kits out there and they vary in prices. The one we like costs about $55. There are also some compost tea brewers out there that vary in sizes. These machines will take about 24 hours to brew odorless compost tea. These compost tea brewers vary in sizes, from 10 gallons to 500 gallons and vary in price accordingly. You’ll pay $530 to almost $9000 for them. It’s good to know that compost tea can sell for $5 a gallon. We think that this is a great way to promote some growth in your garden, at a discounted cost. Fertilizer tend to cost money and in this recession, any way of saving money is good. Naturally, it’s best to keep this container in the yard somewhere, probably near your compost pile. [via Do It Yourself, images by Captain Compost and The Bear]

Check out this video from the Dirt Doctor on how to brew your own compost tea!

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