What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a liquid extract of compost that contains plant growth compounds and beneficial microorganisms. This is not the tea you want to drink
Liquid extracts have been used for hundreds of years in agriculture to promote plant and soil health. These extracts have historically been derived from a wide range of plant materials and animal manures, using a variety of processing methods. Compost teas are now being produced and used in large-scale agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, nurseries, hydroponic systems, lawn care, and residential gardens.
How Is it Made?
Compost tea is produced by steeping finished compost in water in order to extract beneficial microorganisms and compounds into a nutrient rich solution. It is made in a variety of ways, including with or without aeration, and with or without adding supplemental nutrient sources. Caution: Use only chemical-free equipment for compost tea storage or applications, e.g. watering cans or sprayers, because residues of fungicides or herbicides are harmful to the compost tea organisms. Similarly, if you are diluting your compost tea before using it, it is best to use water that has been de-chlorinated to maintain the microbial life.
How to Use Compost Tea
Alpaca Compost tea can be applied to the soil or directly to the plant as a foliar spray.
Stir 1 cup into 1 gallon of water and allow to soak for 24 hours. Once the liquid is set, water the plant to fertilizer and help your plants thrive. A warm or room temperature (ideally 77 F or 25 C) tea helps plants absorb the needed nutrients more easily by keeping the root pores open versus cold tea (or water) will have a tendency to restrict the pores, meaning a much slower process of absorption. Aeration of the tea is also helpful in oxygenation of the brew.
You can apply with a watering can, a simple cup, or in a sprinkling system. All compost teas can be used as a foliar feed or soil drench around plants. When used as a soil drench, alpaca compost tea should be applied so that it moves into the root zone. This can be accomplished by following the tea application with additional water. Use full strength or dilute1:1 (tea to water) for indoor houseplant and garden plants. Drenching a medium size plant requires about 2 cups of tea plus enough water to get the solution down to the roots. Compost tea can be diluted (up to 1:3 tea to water) to cover a larger area like a lawn. When applying to lawns, apply the tea either just before or just after watering. Apply twice per month throughout the growing season.
An essential place to use compost tea is in a hydroponic system. Any hydroponic grower, or grower in general, not using compost tea in their garden is not getting maximum results. There are many different methods and alpaca tea works with all different types including NFT (nutrient film technique – stream a thin layer of nutrient solution over the roots), drip systems, a long with ebb and flow (temporary flood your root system and allow to drain) as well as aeroponics where it involves suspending your plants in mid-air and spraying the root system very frequently. To use, combine 1 cup of compost tea for every gallon of water you will use in your hydroponic system. Allow soaking for 24-48 hours. Add compost tea to hydro system. When hydro system is set up, add your seeds to the hydro system and watch your plants grow. Note: Mineral salts have been shown to suppress beneficial microbes. Use non-chlorinated water for best results.
Caution: Use only chemical-free equipment for compost tea storage or applications, e.g. watering cans or sprayers, because residues of fungicides or herbicides are harmful to the compost tea organisms. Similarly, if you are diluting your compost tea before using it, it is best to use water that has been de-chlorinated to maintain the microbial life. Simply storing water in open containers for several hours before diluting the tea will work, as the chlorine will naturally dissipate.
Join the alpaca revolution! Alpaca is a sustainable alternative that is not only good for the earth, but for all of us. Alpaca wool is stronger, softer, more eco-friendly, and offers 85% greater wicking capability than merino wool. It is also hypoallergenic! Learn more about the benefits of alpaca in our Alpaca vs. Wool blog posts, shop our collections and follow us on social media!