Compost Tea Recipe


Compost tea is a powerful organic fertilizer and soil amendment that can significantly enhance plant growth and soil health. In this article, I will share my favorite compost tea recipe, guide you through the process of making compost tea, discuss its benefits, and provide helpful suggestions for using it in your garden.

What is Compost Tea?

Compost tea is a liquid extract derived from compost, a nutrient-rich organic material formed through the decomposition of plant and animal matter. It serves as a potent source of beneficial microorganisms, enzymes, and nutrients that nourish the soil and promote plant growth. Compost tea acts as a natural fertilizer, supplying plants with essential nutrients in a form that is easily absorbed.

Compost tea is renowned for its numerous benefits in gardening. It improves soil structure, enhances nutrient availability, boosts plant resilience, and stimulates beneficial microbial activity. By incorporating compost tea into your gardening routine, you can achieve healthier plants, increased yields, and a more sustainable approach to cultivation.

Ingredients and Equipment for Making Compost Tea

Use the following compost tea recipe to brew your own compost tea. You will need the following ingredients and equipment:

  • Compost: No compost tea recipe would be complete without high-quality compost, as this is the foundation of compost tea. Ensure that your compost is well-aged, free from contaminants, and rich in organic matter.
  • Water: The water used should be free from chlorine and other harmful chemicals. Chlorinated water can harm beneficial microorganisms present in the compost tea.
  • Aeration Equipment: Aeration is essential for the brewing process as it promotes the growth of beneficial aerobic microorganisms. You can use an aquarium pump, air stones, or other suitable equipment for this purpose.
  • Strainer or Bag: A strainer or bag helps separate the liquid compost extract from solid particles, ensuring a smooth and consistent compost tea.
  • Optional Additives: While not necessary, you can add additional ingredients to enhance the nutritional content or address specific needs. Examples include molasses, kelp meal, or fish emulsion.

Steps to Making Compost Tea

There are just 6 main steps in my compost tea recipe. Follow them closely and you will have a perfect batch.

  • Collecting the Compost: Gather the desired amount of compost based on the volume of tea you wish to brew. It’s recommended to use approximately one part compost to ten parts water.
  • Preparing the Brewing Container: Fill a brewing container, such as a 5-gallon bucket, with water, leaving some space for the compost and aeration equipment. Use non-chlorinated water at room temperature.
  • Mixing Compost and Water: Add the compost to the brewing container, ensuring it is submerged in water. Stir the mixture gently to encourage the release of nutrients and microorganisms from the compost.
  • Adding Optional Additives: If desired, incorporate optional additives according to the recommended ratios. These additives can provide additional nutrients or cater to specific plant requirements.
  • Aeration Process: Attach the aeration equipment to the brewing container. The steady supply of oxygen will foster the growth of beneficial aerobic microorganisms while discouraging harmful anaerobic ones. Let the tea brew for 24 to 48 hours, depending on your preferences.
  • Straining and Application: After the brewing period, remove the compost and solid particles from the liquid using a strainer or bag. The resulting liquid is your nutrient-rich compost tea. Apply the tea directly to the soil or foliage of your plants.

Brewing and Fermentation

The brewing time for compost tea can vary depending on your desired outcome. Short brewing times, around 24 hours, favor the growth of bacteria, while longer brewing times, up to 48 hours, encourage fungal growth. Experimentation and observation will help you determine the brewing duration that suits your gardening needs best.

Best Practices for Compost Tea Application

To maximize the benefits of compost tea, consider the following best practices:

  • Dilution Ratio: Dilute the compost tea before application to avoid excessive nutrient concentration or potential burning of plant roots. A dilution ratio of 1:10 (compost tea to water) is generally recommended.
  • Application Methods: Apply compost tea through foliar spraying or soil drenching. Foliar spraying involves spraying the tea directly onto the leaves, while soil drenching entails pouring the tea around the base of the plants.
  • Timing of Application: Apply compost tea during the early morning or late afternoon to minimize evaporation and allow plants to absorb the nutrients effectively. Avoid applying compost tea during extreme weather conditions.
  • Storage and Shelf Life: Compost tea is best used immediately after brewing for optimal potency. However, if you need to store it, keep it in a well-ventilated container and use it within 24 to 48 hours. Ensure proper aeration and avoid prolonged storage periods to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

Benefits and Uses of Compost Tea

Compost tea offers a range of benefits for both plants and the environment. Here are some key advantages:

  • Boosts Soil Health: Compost tea enriches the soil with beneficial microorganisms, improving soil fertility, structure, and moisture retention.
  • Enhances Plant Growth: The nutrients and growth-promoting substances in compost tea stimulate root development, enhance plant vigor, and increase resistance to diseases and pests.
  • Suppresses Diseases and Pests: Compost tea contains beneficial microorganisms that can help suppress harmful pathogens, reducing the likelihood of plant diseases.
  • Improves Nutrient Uptake: The organic compounds and enzymes in compost tea enhance nutrient availability and uptake by plants, leading to improved growth and yield.
  • Reduces Environmental Impact: By utilizing compost tea, gardeners can reduce reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, promoting a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to gardening.


Incorporating compost tea into your gardening routine is a fantastic way to enhance plant growth, improve soil health, and cultivate a sustainable garden. By following the simple compost tea recipe guidelines outlined in this article, you can create your own nutrient-rich compost tea and unlock its numerous benefits. Embrace the power of compost tea, and watch your garden thrive with vitality and abundance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can I use any type of compost for making compost tea?
    Yes, a variety of compost types can be used to make compost tea, such as vegetable compost, worm castings, or well-decomposed manure. Choose a compost that is rich in organic matter and free from contaminants.
  • How often should I apply compost tea to my plants?
    Compost tea can be applied every two to four weeks, depending on the needs of your plants. Observe the condition of your plants and adjust the application frequency accordingly.
  • Is compost tea safe for edible crops?
    Yes, compost tea is safe for edible crops. However, it’s important to practice good hygiene and avoid applying compost tea close to harvest time to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • Can I store compost tea for a long time?
    It is not recommended to store compost tea for extended periods as it may become anaerobic and harbor harmful microorganisms. Use it within 24 to 48 hours after brewing for the best results.
  • Can I use tap water for making compost tea?
    It’s best to use non-chlorinated water for making compost tea, as chlorine can harm beneficial microorganisms. If tap water is your only option, let it sit uncovered for at least 24 hours to allow chlorine to dissipate before use.
  • Are there any alternatives to aeration equipment for making compost tea?
    If you don’t have access to aeration equipment, you can create a makeshift system by stirring the compost tea vigorously several times throughout the brewing process. While not as effective as continuous aeration, it can still yield satisfactory results.
  • Can I use compost tea on seedlings and young plants?
    It’s generally recommended to wait until seedlings and young plants have established stronger root systems before applying compost tea. Once they are more robust, you can introduce compost tea in diluted form to provide them with additional nutrients.

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