The Magic Elixir
- Describe the process for making compost tea
- Describe the benefits of using compost tea
Compost tea is one of the green-thumb gardener’s best-kept secrets. When brewed properly from rich compost or worm castings with a few key supplements, compost tea can supercharge the nutrient availability as well as the good bacterial, microbial and fungal presence in the soil to directly benefit the plants, their roots, and foster leaf development and flowering.
Gardeners and farmers apply compost tea as a soil drench to spark microbial activity in the soil and as a foliar spray directly on plants to create a beneficial biofilm that helps plants maximize their intake of nutrients and ward off disease and pests.
The best part is that like any recipe, compost tea can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any variety of plant, tree, or shrub by simply changing the ingredients.
Tools & Materials
- 5 gallon bucket
- Cheesecloth or burlap bag
- Finished compost, worm castings, or humus
- Aeration pump, hose, aeration stones
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by explaining what compost tea, how it is created, and the ways it can be applied to the soil. Be sure to describe the concept of inoculation and the importance of building biofilm on plants and in the soil.
Activity (20 minutes)
Harvest some finished compost from your Earth Cube or worm castings from the Worm Factory 360. Add any amendments that you’d like to use. You can also use premixed kits like those available from Boogie Brew. Assemble the pumping system, load the compost bag, and start your brew. Your compost tea will be ready to use after a 12-24 hour brew and should be applied within 4 hours.
Discussion (10 minutes)
How should we apply the tea to the raised planters? Foliar spray or soil drench? Which one would be more beneficial? What does each application do?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you have ever heard of compost tea?
- Now that you know what compost tea is and how to use it, how many of you think we should be making and using compost tea regularly?