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Brew Some Manure “Tea” For Your Garden!

Manure Tea

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! ;-)

Manure Tea

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!

Manure Tea

First, scoop some of your manure into your pillowcase. I used a hand trowel and put about 10 heaping scoops of manure in.

Manure Tea

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!!

Manure Tea

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.

Manure Tea

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.

Manure Tea

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.

Manure Tea

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!

Manure Tea

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  • […] How To Make Manure Tea For Your Garden – Do you strive for healthier happier plants? If the answer is yes, then this super clever recipe is the answer to your woes. With only two ingredients, this manure tea is so simple to make it could be made by anyone. […]

  • […] How To Make Manure Tea For Your Garden – Do you strive for healthier happier plants? If the answer is yes, then this super clever recipe is the answer to your woes. With only two ingredients, this manure tea is so simple to make it could be made by anyone. […]

  • Hahaha, yup! To the comment on German farmers: I remember that! Running PT first thing in the morning was lovely (gross). There was no way to escape it, i would gag and get the dry heaves from the stench while running in formation… hoping I wouldn’t actually throw up on anyone running near me or next to me Awww those were thedays!

  • […] have I never heard of Sweet Potato Pound Cake?…..***OR*** Manure Tea?  Both are NEW to […]

    • Chicken poop is excellent fertilizer except that it’s considered hot, so make sure to let it sit for a year, then dig it up and use it or turn it into tea.

  • Ha Ha Jill I just read about “Bunny Gold” this week. Same idea only you use your bunny poop that has not been contaminated by urine. Since we have recently inherited two bunnies we have lots of manure to make our flower beds beautiful!

  • For a vegan (and stink free) alternative make your tea as Jill did using dried kelp. Kelp also contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. Down To Earth Kelp Meal is a reliable organic brand. Sea Magic Seaweed (makes 60 gal) is another brand (I am not affiliated with either of them; just use the products). These days I harvest mine right off the beach–any excuse to go to the beach! When I am done steeping, I toss the spent kelp into my compost bin. The dogs love to chew on the sun dried pieces, the California sun makes it as tough as rawhide.

  • I love you Jillee! You have the most relevant ideas. Easy to follow and succinct- to the point without a lot of extra stuff to sort through. Our tomatoes had bottom rot. I’m going to try this (nice to know that it’s easy to find) and also some additional calcium. Thank you for sharing you ideas.

    • I would rake the contents of the bag into your soil! As for the bag itself, I would spray it down with the hose, let it dry, and then store it for future batches. :-)

  • What ratios to water and manure could you use for indoor plants? We live in a loft and don’t have access to a garden outside.

    • For container plants, you’ll want to dilute it pretty heavily. I would try a 5 to 1 ratio of tea to water, and adjust from there. :-)

  • This sounds like a good way to fertilize, but I have a safety concern. Could this infect your soil with e-coli? If the manure comes from feedlots, it could be infected with the bacteria. I do not buy vegetables imported from Mexico because they use “grey water” for irrigation. Pathogens can become systemic to the plant from its use. Just like the spinach in California did when it was inundated from the runoff from the dairy farms.

    • Ellicia, the manure you can buy in bags at a garden center has been composted at high temperatures for several weeks, which kills any pathogens that may have been present in the manure. Hope that helps! :-)

  • My question is why brew it instead of just incorporating the manure into you soil where watering will leach the food & nutrients to the roots? Honest question – is there more benefit to the brewed tea?

    • You can certainly incorporate the composted manure into the soil! The benefit of using the tea is that the nutrients will be more concentrated and can be absorbed almost immediately. You could even try both methods – get the immediate shot of nutrients from the tea, plus the slow-release of the compost in your soil! :-)

    • Well for first timers like myself who don’t find out compost was needed until after the garden is planted and the plants are already turning yellow, something like this gives me hope. Obviously, it’s a little late for me to incorporate it into my soil. Just another perspective. :)

  • This sounds like a good idea. However, I’m not the gardener in my family.
    That spot goes to my Dad. We’ll see if he tries this out.

    • I think it would be fine to store it outside or in the garage. But you would probably want to keep it in a shady spot outside. I didn’t use a specific ratio for dilution – I just attached the hose attachment. Not sure what that ratio would end up at…probably more water than tea.

      • So is it correct to only let this brew for two days, but can be stored (after removal of “tea bag”) for future use without it spoiling?

  • We are stationed in Germany. They do this over here but on a much larger, stinkyer, scale. They keep all there milk cows in barns over here. All the waste gets washed into huge underground tanks. They then pump it into large sprayers called oodles. They then attach these large tanks to their tractors and spray the fields. It is a great fertilizer but you dont want to get behind one on the road (here they are drive on all the roads), they tend to splash on your windshield! Also if you drive by any of the fields they are spraying, you gag! You can almost taste it!!! MMMM…..Bavaria… lol

    • Be sure to rinse all veggies thoroughly. Remember the spinach scare a few years ago? That was because a dairy was responsible for manure runoff in ditches near the spinach rows. ALSO, nitrogen is not the problem with blossom end rot on tomatoes, the lack of calcium is the culprit. Always spread a handful of calcium pellets or powder when planting tomatoes. Dutch bulb food will do nicely.

    • It’s pretty nasty here in the midwest when hog manure is put on the fields. We are downwind of one of those big hog houses and we have to keep our windows closed when the wind is in our direction. I’ve heard horse manure is really great for flowers.

    • When we lived in Germany my husband used to say that the manure was so strong that it would burn the paint right off of the car. They had gorgeous green fields though.

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