Try Compost Tea!
April 14, 2012
Most of us know that chemicals in soil can wreak havoc on our soil quality, watersheds and our bodies. But let’s be real – often the desire for perfect veggies and landscapes outweigh concerns. The good news is that an increasing body of research demonstrates how compost applications, such as compost tea, not only helps your plants and soil but can actually prevent and treat fungus and pests.
Compost tea is a liquid produced by compost. In technical jargon – it is formed by leaching soluble nutrients and extracting bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes from compost. Compost tea directly addresses soil borne disease organisms like Pythium, and foliar disease-causing organisms like Botrytis. In general, the beneficial organisms that are present in many compost teas compete with, feed on, or are antagonistic toward plant diseases, pest insects and plant feeding nematodes, when they are in their natural soil environment.
Compost tea can be applied either as a root drench in the ground or in potted plants, or as a foliar spray –that is, a spray applied to leaves. As an undiluted root drench, it may help protect against damping-off and other root diseases. As a foliar spray diluted at least in half with water, it provides a quick dose of nutrients and protection against leaf disease.
Most importantly, compost tea is simple to make: it can be a morning or afternoon project. Want to know more?
- Understand compost tea from the Soil Food Web experts
- Watch out this cool video on how to make steeped compost tea
- Watch out this neat-o video on how to make brewed compost tea
Interested in case studies?
By Erin Munning