Composted Tea?

Larsen, WI(Zone 5a)

Has anyone ever heard of composted tea? If you have, would this be beneficial to Epi plants?

Please let me know

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Yep. And it probably won't hurt in the least, and probably could have benefit. I have only heard of using it to build a better garden or lawn soil.

Lancing, TN

Composted tea? Do you mean compost tea? Made by soaking a bucket of compost with water, then draining it off after a few days? It's great for everything! I've used it on my epis and other tropicals as well as the outside gardens, but mostly in the summer. DH has problems with it when I use it on the house plants in the winter. I raise sheep and alpacas, so have a never-ending supply of compostables which is good because I also like to grow plants of all sorts. If you have it, go for it!

Deep Run, NC(Zone 7b)

Barb-your posts adds the most important element of compost tea. I always add some manure to the mix which produces an excellent water-based plant food. bob

Thumbnail by orchidman1
Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

How much compost would you add to a bucket and then how much water?

"Doc" on the Mid Atlantic Forum does this all the time....He loves to talk about it....
You can send him a D-mail to get the nitty-gritty on Compost Teas.....

Thanks, Gita

Lancing, TN

I usually fill the bucket about 3/4 full with compost, then pour in enough water to cover it and let it sit for a while....often a week or so, but it should be fine in a few days. Just don't do it inside the house. The "aroma" can get over powering, but the plants love it. On more than one occasion, Ma Nature filled the container(bucket, wheel barrow...she's not picky) of compost I had been using that day....hey, what ever works. Some people just pour the water in and drain it off immediately, ending up with a weak tea. I found the stronger solution had a more noticable effect on the plants. As long as the compost is mature, it shouldn't burn any plants. The unripe stuff is another all depends on what you used to make your compost. Mine is mostly manure, waste hay, some shredded leaves and vegetable kitchen refuse. After 6 months, it's ready to go...but then, my compost pit is about 30' x 10' x 3 to 4' deep. Turning is usually done with forks on the tractor.
Sheep and alpaca manures are not as hot(nitrogen-wise) as cattle and horse manures, so the manures I use could be considered safer for short short term composting. Some farms also compost dead stock takes longer, but they do break down. Haven't tried that yet. Could have some interesting protein content, though....

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Your comments sound like a Fairy Tale to me....

My Composter is this "Stupid Earth Machine" (STM) they push at shopping Centers once a year.
I fell for it. SOO sorry I did. OH,, It has been semi-useful, but--sooo useless as well...
In this black plastic cone-shape container--there is NO way you can turn your compost--
without cracking the rims of the container. There is. also, no way you can retrieve the composted
material it in any way. Forget the thing you see in the ads---that little
drawer at e bottom. You can only get out of it as far as your shovel ca reach,
To get all of it--you have to dissemble the whole composter...UGH!


This message was edited Mar 5, 2011 9:25 PM

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Lancing, TN

You really don't need any special equipment to make compost. I made it in heavy duty contractor grade garbage bags before moving to the farm. Also, you can make a heap in your yard(shady unused corners are great for this) with or without a 3 sided fence to contain it. The composting drums are nice, but really unnecessary....and often a pill to handle.
Back to your original question....about how much compost is needed to make tea. Fill any container with as much water as you'll need for tea and add at least half as much compost....more is better, but half will work. Let steep for a few days, then drain off. That's the tea.
As for the fairy tale compost pit, the fairy tale ends when you have to clean up the piles of alpaca beans every day and muck out the barns every few years. Still, it's nice to have access to all that black gold!
Good luck.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I know the best compost piles are the natural piles--but I have no place for such luxury.
I live in a development--and have a small, structured garden. That is why I fell for the SEM!

I have plans for a longer, sun-exposure bed yet to be constructed. It is where I had 5 old evergreens
that got bebnt over and destroyed by last year's 4' snow that sat on them for a month.

They are now gone--cut down and the bed is cleared. At one end of it--I plan to make
a regular, open-air 4x4 foot compost bin. To the right--where the bag is sitting....
The rest--I want to build up as a 16" raised bed to grow my veggies in. It is in a full sun area.

I started a thread on the "Soil and Composting Forum" on this....
It went on a bit--and then died a natural death.....

Here is the veggie bed-to-be.....

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

Gita, I love your little shed!!! we have friends that have alpacas so we get 5 gallon buckets of curds and they are's easy since they use the same place to poop the little curds....considerate!!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I have a chicken farm not far from here.
They sell the used bedding in regular, black trash bags...Now they want $6 for each.
A few years ago--they cost only $3.

If I soaked that, along with some compost--would it be too high in N?

What do you do with the Compost in the bucket once you have drained the tea off?
Just throw it on a bed? Is it "depleted" in any way?

Thanks, Gita

Lancing, TN

I dig the "dregs" from making compost tea into the garden, or use it as a side dressing for plants - you might try mixing it in with your epiphytic soil mix the next time you pot up some . It's still full of humus and beneficial bacteria as well as nutrients, so the earthworms will appreciate it.
Your raised bed appears to be in the perfect place! The raised part should make weeding much easie, too. When you get the bed going, you can strip compost....bury non-meat kitchen leftovers directly into the garden. I've been doing this for years and it makes a difference in plant growth. I get busy and don't remember to fertilize sometimes, so this is a good alternative.
As for the chicken manure, it's considered one of the hottest of the common animal manures. Around here, it's spread in the fall and plowed in so that by spring it has broken down enough to not burn the plants. It's a popular and more economical fertilizer for field crops like hay and corn. We used it on our first garden here, but spread and tilled it in during fall as mentioned above, and it worked fine the next spring. We also spread lime over it at the same time, but our soils here tend to be acidic. The alternative it to let it compost for a few months before using. The breaking-down process needs the nitogen, leaving a less "hot" product.
Good luck!

Deep Run, NC(Zone 7b)

I tried mixing the contents for compost tea into rain barrels to then use for watering outside plants. So far, so good. I "bundle" the manure and compost mixture in cloth to keep all drains flowing clear. So far, I've never burned a plant and don't have to use general hand thrown fertilizers except for the grass. Also use it to water my green house epis, orchid cactus, and orchids. bob

Thumbnail by orchidman1
Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


The chicken manure this place sells is not just manure----it is the bedding
that they clean out periodically--so a lot of sawdust (??) or straw (??) mixed in--not sure.....

I can ask next time I go there.....Gita

Lancing, TN

Most "chicken manure" is the bedding that's removed, then replaced with fresh bedding, when the chicken house is cleaned out. It contains the manure and much more stuff(feathers, urine, etc.), as the smell will tell you. The bedding helps somewhat, but it's still pretty hot, nitrogen-wise. I'd still let it sit for a few months before using it, or use only a little and till it in thoroughly(for the new bed). For the tea, I'd keep the quantity down to around a cup, or less, of manure-bedding mix per square foot of compost. Straight manure tea from relatively fresh (meaning not composted)chicken manure might be a bit hot.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


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