Being a consumer of mass quantities of brew I'm always on the hunt for new and exotic varieties. It was during this quest for nourishing and essential liquids that I came across several references to compost and worm teas. OK, truth be told I was really looking for ideas on how to best apply my worm castings, something I have about a pound of every two to three weeks. Now the worm teas can get quite expensive and I understand why given the amount necessary to make an effective application. That's when I realized that I have compost, and plenty of it. So, since that day I have kept the production line going and the garden is loving it like a hobo at a cigar convention. It couldn't be easier to make and the hardest part is the waiting. The process described below takes about three or four days after which I start it all over again.
The finished tea will have a high content of beneficial organisms and nutrients, will help breakdown toxins, and will increase the growth of the treated plants. The tea can be used a foliar application which wards of pests and diseases. The other application is simply soaking the soil in your garden. And the best part is you can still use the steeped compost as one normally would, essentially doubling the usefulness of your compost. Now, unlike others, I'm not going to say that you'll notice the difference overnight but you will see it within two or three days. For instance, we had a crappy, cold, overcast summer here and our tomato plants didn't produce much, some barely at all. But since the tea has been flowing there has been a marked improvement in the plants, the number and size of fruit, and the flavor. No kidding. Here it is the middle of November and I still have San Marzanos ripening!
Here are two recipes:
Compost Tea from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Compost Tea from Fine Gardening
As with any recipe, you will soon experiment with it and make it your own. For instance, I've taken to adding a handful of worm castings to the compost before steeping. Also, I like to let the water sit with the bubblers in it for 24 hours before adding the compost. I do this as an added precaution to make sure all of the chlorine has been blown off, plus it helps add more oxygen to the water. I have also attached a small rock to each of the bubblers to make sure they stay submerged.