Watering your garden with compost juice or compost tea

You can use the drained liquid from your compost container (shown in the top image in my glass jar) as compost juice to pour directly on plants in your garden (I'm sure my lenten rose here has doubled in size since I poured compost juice on it... :-))

You can use the drained liquid from your compost container (shown in the top image in my glass jar) as compost juice to pour directly on plants in your garden (I'm sure my lenten rose here has doubled in size since I poured compost juice on it... :-))

A fellow gardener gave me a great tip the other day – utilizing the compost “juice” that collects at the bottom of your compost containers to pour directly on plants in your garden. This way, the powerful by-products are put to good use while the rest of the solid matter goes into your compost bin for soil later. What a great way to take an already green investment in your garden and double the effectiveness! I decided to do a little research on compost juice to see what I could find out and came across this article by Vern Grubinger, a vegetable and berry specialist with the University of Vermont extension. Here is an excerpt:

Why use compost tea? It’s long been recognized by organic growers and researchers that the use of compost can help prevent some plant diseases. So, it makes sense that liquids derived from compost could also have disease-suppressive characteristics. Besides stimulating growth, compost and compost ‘juice’ can also help fight off diseases by inoculating plants with beneficial organisms. Some of these good guys are bacteria and some are yeasts or fungi. These organisms are beneficial if they form a physical barrier against pathogens, or if they effectively compete with or attack the plant pathogens.

What is compost tea? Before going further, it’s important to explain what compost tea is, and what it isn’t. Compost tea is not the dark-colored solution that leaks out of the bottom of the compost pile. That’s called leachate, and although it may contain soluble nutrients it may also contain organisms that can cause illness so it isn’t suitable for spraying on food crops. Some people make compost tea to be the ‘extract’ of compost made by suspending compost in a barrel of water for a short period of time, usually in a burlap sack. The resulting liquid can then be applied as a soil or foliar fertilizer. To others, it’s not compost tea until the extract is fermented or ‘brewed’ usually with some type of microbial nutrient source such as molasses, kelp, fish byproducts, and/or humic acids.

Grubinger then goes into the process for making compost tea (safely and effectively) and you can read the full article by clicking here. For now, I’m going to try pouring my compost juice directly onto my plants and skipping the compost tea process, but it is worth looking into adding it to our vegetable garden (making sure it is safe for human comsumption, of course). Happy gardening with compost juice!

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  1. […] each side (and up the sides) with a 1/4″ drill bit.  These holes were for air and to let the compost tea out. Regardless of whether you want the compost tea, (which is supposed to be awesome for your […]



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