We stan a sustainable queen! Compost tea is a great way to care for succulents, especially if you are looking for a truly down-to-earth way to fertilize your bbs. Compost tea concentrates bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes into an easily absorbed liquid for plants.
What is Compost Tea?
Compost tea uses tiny amounts of compost or animal manure to create a miracle fertilizer. The compost ferments in water and makes a tea specifically for your environment because of the airborne yeasts in your area.
Not afraid to get your hands dirty? Stay tuned for the tea.
Benefits of Compost Tea
Many gardeners swear by the use and benefits of compost tea from their own personal experience. Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor at Washington State University has stated that compost tea has been shown to suppress pathogens in some plants.
Plant pathogens are any type of fungi, bacteria, and viruses, or organism that causes plant diseases. These nasty pathogens make our succs unable to grow and thrive!
Gardeners that use compost tea report that compost tea improves the nutrients in soil, a great benefit for plant bbs, and increases the population of good fungi for the plant, which protects against harmful microorganisms that harm plants.
Remember that succulents do not need fertilizer often! In fact, twice a year—once in fall and once in spring–will do the trick.
Compost Tea Recipe
There are two methods of brewing compost tea, one involves putting the compost into water and letting it sit. The second method is called aerated compost tea, which requires oxygen. The second method is slightly more work, but a lot less smell.
It only takes about 24-36 hours to make either kind of compost tea! If you let it sit longer than that, bad bacterias like E. coli and salmonella can begin to grow.
Ingredients and Supplies
- Non-chlorinated tap water (enough to fill a 5-gallon pail)
- 2 cups of fully finished organic compost (it should smell nice!)
- 1 tablespoon unsulfured blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon liquid kelp fertilizer (or soak kelp meal in water)
- 1 teaspoon liquid fish fertilizer
You will also need the following to create the simplest compost tea:
- A 5 gallon bucket
- Porous fabric, such as a nylon stocking or burlap bag
- Enough non-chlorinated water to fill the bucket
- A sprayer or plastic watering can
If you want to create an aerated compost tea, you will need the above and also an air pump and airstone (aquarium bubbler).
Note: You can make non-chlorinated water by collecting rainwater or letting tap water sit for 24 hours.
Take your “tea leaves” (ingredients) and put them in the nylon stocking or burlap bag. It is important that water can flow through the bag you’re using, but keep the larger particles from escaping. This prevents clogging when using a watering can to fertilize. Be sure to have a rope long enough to pull up the stocking or bag so you do not have to stick your hand in the tea.
Fill your bucket with water and let the leaves marinate in the water for 24 hours. If you notice your tea begins to stink, bad bacteria has taken over and you will need to start over. This is not a fertilizer that can be stored and used in the future. Your tea needs to be used within 4 hours of brewing.
Let’s Get Sipping!
You can apply your tea directly to the soil with a sprayer or watering can. A rule of thumb for fertilizing succulents is to use half of the recommended amount. Typically, compost tea is diluted to at least a ratio of 4 cups to 1 gallon, many even use a ratio of 1:10.