Friday, May 28, 2010

Compost Tea and Me

I'll admit it, I didn't know a lot about compost tea until recently.  I wasn't even sure how it was made.  I guessed it was a watery form of compost and I already used compost in my garden, so I wasn't all that curious about it.

Then I noticed a lot of talk about it on Twitter.  People raved.  I felt a little out of the loop, so I asked some questions of the person who seemed to know a lot about it.  Annie, whose Twitter name is @GreenSoil, is the owner of Authentic Haven Brand, the family-owned company that packages and distributes Natural Brewed Soil Conditioner Tea.  I would say they make the tea, too, but the cows and horses do that.

Compost tea is made by adding water to compost - in this case, aged manure - and letting it steep for a few days.  Then you use it to water your plants or as a foliar spray.  In the soil, the plant benefits from the extra nutrients.  As a spray, it helps prevent some fungal diseases. Either way, it's a good thing.

Annie sent me some samples of both their cattle and horse manure teas.  A few days ago, I mixed some up and I'm using it to water my houseplants.

When I opened the package, the faint aroma took me back to when I was a little girl and I used to play in my grandma and grandpa's barn.  They raised a few cattle for beef and the kitties were always hanging out in the barn, so just smelling that tea reminded me of those days.

You might think the smell would be offensive, but it isn't!  I've got the bucket of tea I mixed up sitting beside the back door and I really can't smell anything, although the kitties are cautiously checking it out. :-)

The benefits of compost tea are undisputed, so I don't have to wait to see if this tea does good things for my plants.  I know it will.  I'm planning to use it mainly on my house plants because our gardens are so big, it would take truckloads of compost tea bags to use it on all of them.  I'll use it once a month, year 'round.

If you are interested in trying it for yourself, I now have Annie's Compost Tea in my Open Sky store.  I only carry products there that I believe in, and Authentic Haven Brand is one of them!

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.


Darla said...

I've read some about this...something to seriously consider.

Joseph said...

I'm not at all convinced on compost teas -- Check out this guest post by the excellent Jeff Gilman on Garden Rant: And click around to the whole debate re compost tea.

Unknown said...

There are those that may question the benefit of using compost tea/manure tea. However those that truly grow Green do use it and don't question it.

Authentic Haven Brand has packaged our pure Manure Teas for Large scale Natural grows since 1924. Adding our line of easy to brew teas for the Container, Patio, Balcony and Home gardener assures everyone a chance to grow Green/Natural

Tee Riddle said...

As Annie stated, there are those that question the use of compost tea/manure teas. At one time there were those that questioned using compost as a soil amendment as well.

Those that built compost piles back in the day were called "hippies" or new age freaks".

Today, everyone is using compost and it's dubbed "gardener's gold".

Manure/compost teas are a completely natural product. This natural product is far better for your plants than any concoction man can create (i.e., fertilizers) in an attempt to duplicate what Mother Nature does so well.

If you believe in the power of compost, then how can you deny the power of compost tea?

It's like saying oranges are good for you, but orange juice has no benefit.

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

Be sure to cover your unused tea, otherwise mosquitoes will breed in it. Found that one out the hard way when I was just a baby gardener.

antigonum cajan said...

The compost tea
I create, is pretty much
like regular tea.

Dry leaves, some green
ones in a burlap bag
or similar material.

You let it in the water
for 24 hours.

If the color gets real
dark, I dilute it one
part of tea to 3 or 4 of
water. I either spray it
to foliage or straight to
the soil.

That is that. Good results

Kylee Baumle said...

Darla ~ I like the idea of using something all-natural to aid my plants.

Greensparrow ~ Thank you for your comment and the link, which I read. I like hearing other sides to things. I've also read Teaming With Microbes, which is an excellent book, but I don't agree with everything in it, either. I will always till my garden.

Now this comes from my dental background and experience, there are those that are staunchly against adjusting the fluoride in the drinking water. (I say "adjust" because it occurs naturally in water in many areas) While I'm well aware of the potential risk (in ridiculous concentrations), it remains a safe and wonderful way to help prevent decay for millions of people. But that's another issue entirely.

I expect naysayers abound for nearly everything under the sun.

Annie ~ You, more than anyone, since your family has been in this business since 1924, know the benefits of compost tea. It's highly doubtful you would have maintained a successful business for 86 years if the tea hadn't been a good thing.

Tee ~ I love your response! I'm applauding here. I especially love the orange/orange juice analogy. Well said.

Fern ~ And you just proved what I've said before, "We learn just as much from our failures as we do from our successes."
I put my finished tea in the Lipton Green Tea jugs after my husband is done drinking it. I love these jugs because of the heavy-duty handles they come with. And the "Green Tea" label seemed to say to me, "Put your green tea in me!" LOL

antigonum cajan ~ That's a great idea, too!

Melanie J Watts said...

I 've known about compost tea for almost as long as I've been gardening but I 've never made it. Now, after reading your post Kylee, I'm inspired to mix some up.

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