Making Manure Tea

It's easy to brew manure tea. Our goal is to transfer nutrients from the manure into the water. Start with about a gallon of composted manure. Fresh manure can burn crops, and poses a greater risk of pathogens. Add warm to hot water to help speed up the brewing process. Place your bucket out in the sun to keep the water warm.

I always add important trace minerals to my manure tea. This supplements the minerals in the manure to more completely meet the needs of the plants and soil.

Sources of Manure

Good sources of composted manure are cow manure, horse manure, goat manure, rabbit droppings, chicken or turkey litter, duck manure, and fish manure, gathered from the bottom of your fish pond. You can purchase composted cow manure and composted chicken manure (mushroom compost) at your local garden center.

Brewing your Manure Tea

I use a 2 qt. juice container as a funnel to get my manure into my tea bag, a nylon hose.
Brewing your tea with a "Tea Bag"
Put your manure into an old gunny sack, grapefruit bag or panty hose, so as to keep the solids out of your tea. Tie off the top, then suspend your “tea bag” in your 5 gallon bucket filled to within 6 inches of the top with water. Keep the bucket covered to keep out flies and mosquitoes. Stir once or twice a day with an old broom handle. Within 2 or 3 days, the water should be the color of weak tea, and is ready to use.

Adding manure directly to the water
I cut the top out of a gallon milk jug, and use this as my dipper to draw tea off of the top. I still put it through a sieve.
For faster brewing, just add your gallon of manure directly to your water, stir, then let sit. Your first batch of tea may be ready within a few hours.

After drawing some tea off of the top, add more water, and stir once or twice a day. When the water is the color of weak tea, you are ready to draw more off of the top and apply. Then add more warm water, and let it steep a little longer.

Speed up brewing by "Boxing"
To hasten the process, break up the clods, then pour the mixture back and forth between 2 buckets. This is called boxing. Once the water is the color of weak tea, let the solids settle for 20 minutes, then draw your tea from off of the top, and apply. Add more warm water, and continue brewing.

Finishing Up

You will know that your manure is exhausted when it no longer makes a weak colored tea. Strain off the tea. Placing a burlap bag over a second bucket and pouring the tea through it works well for this. Then add your manure to your compost pile, or scatter it on your garden.

Manure tea is rich in Nitrogen, but generally lacking in trace minerals. Consider adding an ounce of concentrated sea minerals to each gallon of manure tea to meet this critical need.

Check out my home page, Healthy Vegetable Gardening, for a wealth of information on growing nutrient dense food.

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