Compost Tea – A Natural Fertilizer You Can Feel Good About Using
By Dylan Moesker
Backyard gardening simply put, is an amazing thing. It is a hobby for some and a lifestyle for others. We can grow delicious and healthy food while not only getting back to nature, but also giving back to nature. Something we can all agree on is that in the end we want a generous yield for all our time spent preparing and maintaining the garden, and that’s where fertilizers come into play.
For years people have been trying to maximize their garden yield, often by using chemical fertilizers. Generally speaking, the idea is that by adding a calculated mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) to a garden, we give plants a quick boost of essential nutrients.
Unfortunately, this is only a short-term solution for the plants. Soil does not benefit from these fertilizers because they can acidify your soil, as well as break down soil structure. In the long run, chemical fertilizers can negatively affect your plants. Also, more people are becoming aware that the chemicals from these fertilizers can leach down into the water table, causing more negative impacts than positive ones.
My proposal to you is not only environmentally friendly but also a long-term solution, and it’s called compost tea. This mixture is as simple as it sounds and can safely be applied directly to soil and foliage of the plant; while at the same time have no negative impact on the environment.
Compost that is either purchased or homemade can be used to make compost tea. Put some compost into a bucket and add water. A common ratio is ¼ compost to ¾ water. Aerate the mixture for 12-24 hours – a simple fish aquarium stone works great for aeration. This mixture is then sprayed directly over your soil, as well as over the foliage of plants to provide a nutrient boost, and increase the organisms in your soil.
Compost is packed with soil organisms called microbes, which are bacteria that break down organic matter so that plants can take it up. This is why spreading compost over your garden can prove extremely beneficial to the health and yield of your plants. When compost is aerated, it increases the extraction of these microbes and creates an environment that promotes microbial reproduction – which means more organisms and more nutrients for your plants and soil. It’s essentially an all-in-one fertilizer that you can feel good about using.
Why is this so important? The truth is that soil, like plants, is a living organism and needs food too. Plants benefit from soil with good structure and plenty of organic matter – something chemical fertilizers can’t do but organic fertilizers can. On top of providing your plants with essential nutrients, spraying the leaves of plants with compost tea can actually prevent foliar diseases such as powdery mildew.
So there you have it. An organic fertilizer that promotes plant health, soil structure, and won’t break the bank. Give it a try, since results can often be seen in a matter of a few days