In addition to nettle tea, we’re also making compost tea.
Compost tea is a liquid made by both cold-brewing and aerating compost (or worm castings) in water, in order to extract beneficial organisms (i.e. bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes). During the brewing process, these organisms are “fed” nutrients to rapidly increase their numbers and activity levels (source: www.vintagerosery.com). It is then applied much like a fertilizer to soil, or to the roots or leaves of a plant. The process can take several days, and brewing itself has to occur over 24 hours.
The ingredients of compost tea can vary. We use compost from under one of our trees. It’s super rich and peaty as it’s been untouched for decades. We added a couple of comfrey leaves and some organic horse manure. I think it could have been a little more potent, so next time, we’ll double the ingredients, and also add some borage. Or…we make look into making compost extract. Another story…
We also added some molasses
Many people buy a special brewer to make the tea. We decided that as we already have a few 1000 litre deposits we would make ours in one of these. We put all the ingredients into a t’shirt, tied it up, and immersed it in the water.
The crucial thing is to make sure that the tea is kept aerated, and so we’ve immersed a pump in the liquid, attached to a hose, so that the tea is constantly circulating. It’s also important not to use chlorinated water, thankfully, our main water supply isn’t chlorinated, but if yours is, you can filter it out, or just let it sit out in a bucket for 24 hours, and the chlorine will be released.
We’ve already given the tea to the garden, and I’m pretty sure our plants are looking the happier for it!