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Plant Parenting: DIY Compost Tea

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash
Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Step aside artificial fertilizers and nutrients, we are going organic! Compost tea is a nutrient-rich, well-balanced organic supplement made by steeping aged compost in unchlorinated water. Feeding your cannabis plant the best possible compost tea will boost growth and fend off any unwanted pests.

Known amongst those with the greenest fingers as liquid gold fertilizer, compost tea is a liquid fertilizer used for all kinds of flowers, vegetables and plants. The bio-diverse brew is an easily absorbed liquid full of nutrients, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and predatory nematodes. Protozoa are free-living or parasitic single-celled eukaryotes that feed off organic tissue and debris. The nematodes, on the other hand, take care of the slow-moving soft-bodied insect pests but won’t affect your plant or earthworm friends.

Compost is a soil conditioner rich in nutrients and microscopic organisms. It is the result of the slow degeneration of natural waste materials like fruits, vegetables, eggshells, paper and garden trimmings. Choose a well-matured finished compost, resembling the texture of cornmeal with a healthy smell of rich forest floor. 

Credit @MarkusSpiske
Credit @MarkusSpiske

Why compost tea?

  1. Use as a foliage spray and a root-drench that will not damage roots 
  2. Packed full of easy to absorb nutrients and minerals to boost bigger blooms
  3. Live microbes enhance the soil web and strengthens the plant’s immune system
  4. One alternative replaces chemical-based fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide saving you money

Make your own compost tea at home by following the basic guide below. The prepared tea will be good for three days, before the micro organism run out of food and start deteriorating.

You will need a set of buckets, a basic fish tank pump with an aerator, a cheesecloth to strain the solids from the tea and of course the best finished compost you can get your hands on;

STEP 1
Fill a bucket one-third of the way with compost and top it with unchlorinated water, leave enough space at the top of the bucket to avoid messing when you get in there to give it a good old stir

STEP 2
Attach the aerator to the pump and drop it in the bucket. Best ensure the pump is not in any direct splash-zones to avoid getting a shock

STEP 3
Feed the beneficial soil bacteria by adding 30-grams of organic molasses for every ten litres of tea

STEP 4
Occasional stir your bubbling brew over the next 48 hours

STEP 5 
Strain the tea into a second bucket through cheesecloth. You can work the solids into the compost heap or plant beds

STEP 6
Use the compost tea as a bi-weekly root drench and early evening foliage spray

Credit @Zamnesia
Credit @Zamnesia

Add one mililitre of vegetable oil to every litre of tea, give it a good shake and spray it directly onto plant leaves and flowers. The oil will help the liquid stick to the surface of your plant, but can also cause leaf burn if applied during the heat of the day. 

Make sure you are looking after your plant on a microscopic level with an organic,  home-made, well-formulated and bio-diverse liquid fertilizer.

Credit @Crav
Credit @Crav

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