Using Compost Tea:
A Step by Step Guide

First, the reason behind compost tea is that we want to grow nutritious vegetables and fruit. Therefore we want our compost tea to be full of valuable trace minerals.

Below are guidelines for using compost tea

  1. Preparing to apply your tea
  2. How much tea is too much?
  3. Best time of day to apply
  4. Diluting your tea
  5. Application methods
  6. Apply compost tea each week?
  7. Can compost tea be stored?

1. Preparing to apply your compost tea

Stir your compost tea one final time, then dip it out and pour it through a strainer into another container. You want remove the solids from your tea so you don’t clog up your spray equipment.

You can use a nylon stocking, a cheesecloth, or an old sock for a strainer. One suggestion is to put a nylon stocking over a large sieve, and pour through this.

I personally use a 100 mesh stainless steel screen, which is so handy!

using compost tea, 100 mesh screen, 100 mesh sieve

2. How much tea is too much?

using compost tea, compost tea on tomatoes

When using compost tea, if the compost you used to brew your tea is made from non-manure sources, you really can’t put on too much.

If you are using a compost high in nitrogen, like composted manure, then your tea will be high in nitrogen.

In this case, if you put on too much tea, you can burn your plants, and over-boost the nitrogen in your soil, so be careful.

3. Best time of day to apply

using compost tea, compost tea foliar application pumpkin

Mornings or evenings are best. For foliar applications, apply your compost tea in the morning while the temperature is below 80 degrees.

The plant’s stomata, which are tiny openings in the leaves, can take in the nutrients.

However, stomata start to close when the temperature reaches 80 degrees, and fully close at 85 degrees.

This is the plant’s way to keep from losing moisture.

using compost tea, compost tea on collard greens

The stomata are primarily on the underside of the leaves, so spray both under and on top of leaves.

Wind can dry your tea before your plant can take it in, so it’s best to spray when it isn’t too windy.

Don’t spray on the leaves in the evening. The sun will dry up the leaves from morning applications, but with evening applications the leaves can stay wet too long, which is an open door to fungus.

4. Diluting your tea

You can use your compost tea full strength on plants that are sickly or not growing well.

Otherwise, it usually works well to dilute your tea half and half with de-chlorinated water (you can de-chlorinate your water by letting it sit in an open container for a day).

5. Application methods

To apply, you can use a spray bottle, a pump up sprayer, or a watering can. Here are four suggested uses:

  • Foliar
    When you spray it on the leaves it gives a shot of nutrients directly to the plant. One option is to mix 1 ounce of C4 (AG-USA page) per gallon of tea. C4 helps plants to more efficiently absorb nutrients through their leaves.

using compost tea, compost tea cucumbers
  • Root Zone
    Spray it over the root zone to feed the plant through the roots. I prefer to put compost tea in a watering can and water the leaves. A good amount drips off to enrich the soil. This is fast, easy, and effective.
  • Transplant Solution
    Another great use for compost tea: use it as a transplant solution, to help your plants in transitioning to their new environment
  • Compost Pile
    If you have any tea left over, consider putting it on your compost pile. This can help accelerate the microbial activity of your compost pile, which means quicker composting!

6. Apply compost tea each week?

Compost tea applications can be made as often as you like, preferably every week or two.

Consider applying this wonderful soil conditioner to enhance the effects of your compost tea.

7. Can compost tea be stored?

using compost tea, compost tea bubbler

Use your compost tea within 2 hours after turning off the air pump, or the microbial population will begin to go dormant or die from not having enough oxygen. The bacteria also start to die when they exhaust their food source.

To keep your tea healthy for a fourth day, stir in 2 more tablespoons of molasses, and run your bubbler.

Compost remnants

After removing your tea, your compost remnants can be used as a mulch in your garden.

Share with others

Using compost tea supplies a garden with a great source of biologicals and nutrients, especially when you add in some sea minerals.

Why not let others in on the secret, and share this information on compost tea with your Facebook friends. Just click on the Facebook link below!

Check out my home page for more great ideas on Healthy Vegetable Gardening. Happy Gardening!

(Return from Using Compost Tea to How to Make Compost Tea)

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Compost Tea Pages

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Brewing compost tea


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