We enrich our garden with manure and compost in the Spring, but when Ms. Bungalow was reading about compost in The Practical Gardener’s Encyclopedia we found an idea for an organic mid-summer garden booster: a nice home-brewed bucket of compost tea.
This “tea” should be just as refreshing for our plants as a nice glass of iced tea is for us on a hot July day. It is a rich liquid fertilizer made by soaking compost in water. (Check out this previous post on making compost.) Once the nutrients are dissolved in the water, the compost tea can be poured generously at the base of plants or in a container garden where plants can immediately soak them up for a quick energy boost.
The Gardener’s Encyclopedia recommended making the tea by suspending a shovelful of compost in a cheesecloth or burlap bag in a large container of water. We didn’t have burlap or cheesecloth around the house, so we improvised. Ms. Bungalow’s trash-bound pantyhose seemed perfect for the task. Using some some strategically-placed cuts and knots, Ms. Bungalow tied the top of the hose across the trash bin and filled the legs with compost from the bottom of our Garden Gourmet. After a little bit of experimenting, she was able to rig the hose so that the compost was suspended in the bin.
Then, in keeping with the theme of reusing, we filled the garbage bin (now teapot) with water reclaimed from our toddler’s afternoon dip in the wading pool. The compost immediately turned the water a dark brown. We will let it “steep” for a few days before giving our garden its spot of tea. If the tea is good, the plants might not notice the lack of compost crumpets.