Making compost tea from kitchen food scraps is a great way to feed your garden, especially if you don't have a home compost system. This provides nutrients for your plants and helps to make the most of food that would otherwise be wasted.
You'll be happy to know you don't need any special skills to do this and it is so simple, your kids can do it too. Real compost is obviously the best thing you can have for your garden but if you have a small space and limited gardening options then this can be a simple solution to providing plants (including pot plants) with a nutrient boost. It will also help to promote microbial activity in the soil.
I'll explain how to create a small pot of compost tea in a few days. This process means you can save the useful nutrients to feed your plants and prevent it turning into a nasty by-product of landfill. You can of course brew it longer, but the longer it sits, the greater the risk of bacteria and bad smells.
A few Guidelines for Compost Tea
>Don't add meat, dairy items, processed food and salt.
>It should be vegetable based and not made up of mouldy food leftovers.
>Don't let it brew for a long time, you may end up breeding bacteria. Stick to a few days or up to a week.
How To Make & Brew Your Compost Tea
>Use a pot from your kitchen or a bucket for your compost tea, anything with a lid or cover will do.
>Collect fresh vegetable peels and scraps such as carrot peel, apple cores, garlic skin, stems from herbs, wilted lettuce or whatever else you have lying around. The idea is to use food scraps that you wont be eating or using yourself that are headed to the bin.
>You can also include grass clippings, dried leaves, coffee grounds and even weeds from your garden that haven't seeded.
>Add your ingredients to the pot and fill with tap water.
>Put the lid on your pot and it can be left on the benchtop or placed somewhere in the garden to brew where the sun can warm it.
>Give it a little stir each day.
How To Use Compost Tea
How long you leave it depends on your preferences. I recommend at least 24 hours and 3 days is best.
At the 3 day mark, the water will have a lot of nutrients but not be causing unpleasant smells.
Use a colander to separate the liquid from the scraps. The liquid tea can then be poured around your garden or into pot plants. The scraps if left on the soil can attract mould and also pests to the garden so always bury it or dispose of in your green bin.
An Example of Compost Tea
Here's the one I made today using scraps left after making a soup. Carrot and parsnip peel, the end of a zucchini, garlic skin, a few wilted carrot tops, celery leaf, leek tips, plus some coffee grounds and clover from the garden.
Each time I make it, it has different ingredients depending on what we have been cooking that week. This blend looks super healthy and is going to be great on our indoor plants and herb garden!
I've placed it on the garden bed wall where it gets the morning winter sun each day and is also in a spot where I'll be sure to see it and not forget it.
Over the next few days, we'll give it a little stir and strain it for immediate use.
If you have kids, they will really enjoy the whole process of adding bits of scraps and a few things from the garden and can be a fun way of feeding their interest in nature.
So now you know just how simple it is to brew a pot of healthy compost tea for you garden.
Suburban living doesn't always lend itself to being green, but this allows you to make use of what you have in a really positive way and takes very little time to do.
Are you going to give this a go? What flavour is your brew going to be?