Mmmmmmm…..Manure Tea…..who wouldn’t want a big, tall glass of that??? Well, OK….this particular “tea” isn’t the kind that humans will relish….but your PLANTS will LOVE it and will reward you with delicious food and beautiful flowers!
There are several benefits to fertilizing your garden with manure tea. Here are just a few:
- It’s much more affordable than chemical fertilizers. The bag of manure I got was about $2, and that bag will make several 10-gallon batches of manure tea!
- It’s an all-natural fertilizer that will not damage your soil.
- It’s filled with nitrogen which is often one of the primary deficiencies in nitrogen loving plants such as tomatoes (causing bottom rot).
- It adds micro nutrients and natural enzymes that can’t be found in chemical fertilizers.
- Because it’s in liquid form, it’s easy for plants to absorb and will rapidly penetrate to the vicinity of the roots.
Have I convinced you yet?? Great, then let’s get started! ;-)
To make a batch of manure tea, you’ll need some manure, of course! Make sure that you’re using OLD manure, not fresh! Fresh manure may contain harmful pathogens and could also burn your plants! Old, dry manure and composted manure are both safe to use in your garden.
You can find bags of composted manure at most garden centers. I found this Steer Manure Blend at my local Walmart. You’ll also need a length of rope, and old pillowcase, and an empty garbage can or storage container of some sort (15-gallon capacity or more). Just make sure your container has a lid to keep the flies away!
First, scoop some of your manure into your pillowcase. I used a hand trowel and put about 10 heaping scoops of manure in.
Next, use your rope to tie your pillowcase off. Make sure your knots are tight, because the rope is going to keep your “tea bag” from sinking to the bottom of your container. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t really want to have to stick my arm in the container to fish it out!!
Place the giant “tea bag” in your container with the rope hanging over the edge. I tied the rope to one of the handles of the trash can. Then fill your container with about 10 gallons of water, and put the lid on. Now all there is to do is wait!
During the “brewing” period, the liquid will take on a dark-brown color. Suspended in the water will be millions of tiny particles of food for your growing plants. The optimum wait time for a batch of manure tea is two days. If you allow to brew longer than that before using you run the risk of your “tea” growing bacteria.
Once your tea has “brewed,” remove the pillowcase tea bag and you’re ready to use your tea! I used a bucket to get my tea out of the trashcan, but you can use whatever method you want.
You’ll want to dilute your “tea” so you don’t burn your plants. The easiest way to do this is by using a fertilizer sprayer hose attachment. I found this one at Lowe’s for about $10. Just put your tea in the bottle, attach the hose, and spray away!
Applying manure tea 1 – 2 times a week throughout the growing season will definitely result in healthier, happier plants.
A bit of manure, some brewing time, and you have an easy and affordable source of organic nitrogen fertilizer for your garden and containers.
I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know how your garden grows!