Applications of compost tea are beneficial for ornamental perennials, shrubs, and trees that appear ‘tired’ or stressed. Compost tea is a liquid biological amendment to the soil. It works to improve the soil health by adding active micro-organisms that naturally occur in healthy soils but can be decreased or eliminated over time due to stress, compaction, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and general lack of nurturing soil environments. By increasing and/or reintroducing these microbiotas, soils will be healthier, increasingly disease resistant, and more productive. Thus, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers or pesticide use. Because, Healthy soils = Healthy plants!
Many gardeners increasingly seek natural and organic ways to promote plant productivity and health. As a result, the research and ingenuity of promoting compost and it’s by-products have resulting in advances such as Compost Tea. In a nutshell, it’s the transformation of nutrient rich compost from solid, into a liquid form. According to the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, there is an equivalent amount of aerobic bacteria and fungi in a 5 gallon batch of aerated tea as there is in about 40 cubic yards of regular compost. Powerful Stuff!
Our system for brewing compost tea is actually is called “actively aerated compost tea” (AACT). How is compost tea made? Here at Beautiful Blooms, we have a 25 gallon tea brewer made specifically for this purpose. First, the compost material is placed in a large, fine meshed bag. Next the tea is aerated, while mixed and stirred simultaneously. The best teas are brewed for 12-24 hours, and used within 6-8 hours of completion of brewing. Typically, you can hold on to it for up to 24 hours, but begins to degrade thereafter. Compost tea is filled with living organisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes) that survive off of the nutrients, and need air. The longer you let the tea sit, the quicker its beneficial organisms will dissipate. Although compost tea does contain nutrients and micronutrients, it acts more like an amendment than a fertilizer. Tea is best when used in conjunction with other organic gardening practices. When used on a regular basis, tea helps fight disease, improve and strengthen poor soil, and increases fertility and productivity.
We’ve had good results and feedback from our clients who opted to add compost tea applications to their routine maintenance contracts. Every one of them has been pleasantly surprised with the positive results the tea has made on their new or distressed plants and trees.
Compost tea is a safe, organic choice for your garden; consider adding it to your garden maintenance and you will be glad you did. If your favorite plant in the garden is suddenly not looking as brilliant as it once was, and would like more information on our compost tea (and/or tea applications to your landscape), do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to answer whatever questions you may have.