Origins Farm

  (Hanover, Virginia)
Growing food differently
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Making Compost Tea @ Origins Farm

Like a great cup of earl grey tea, compost tea is a simple, yet elegant brew that soothes the soul. Of plants, that is. We often use compost tea on our new seedlings for increasing fertility in the soil and to increase its resistance to soil-borne diseases. The brew is easy to make and we have documented our method below.

We begin by taking a small bucket full of mature compost from our pile. To be clear, compost is organic matter that has been decomposed.We place the compost in a fifty gallon (190 liter) container that has a plastic PVC standpipe on the inside. The standpipe is connected through clear vinyl tubing to a small air pump, which is essential for introducing oxygen into the mixture – the magic ingredient for enhancing your compost. We then fill the fifty gallon container with water, and add unsulphured organic molasses to it. The molasses is the catalyst to wake up the micro-organisms in the compost and make them multiply; the micro-organisms will feed on the sugar in the molasses. We add about sixteen fluid ounces per 24 hours. We turn on the pump, which circulates air through the standpipe through the bottom of the container, and throughout the mixture. We then brew the mixture for 48 hours.

When it’s ready, we often see froth and foam, which indicates that the nutrients, fungi, beneficial bacteria, and protozoa are ready to begin their work on our plants. We strain the brew and pour the compost tea into regular five gallon watering cans and apply it as a foliar feed on our seedlings – it has to be used immediately or within 24 hours. We find that using compost tea is fantastic for stimulating plant growth and fighting plant diseases like powdery mildew. Making compost tea is easy, fun, and dirt cheap. Try it!

Click here to see a short video of our compost making process. Contact us at csa(at) if you're interested in learning how to make compost tea, or if you want to see how we do it.


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