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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

2 Ingredients for DIY Homemade Liquid Fertilizer | Compost Tea

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

This is a fantastic homemade fertilizer made from compost tea. With this method, you don't need to continuously buy fertilizer for your plants. This will create a more natural environment for your plants growing in containers because over time, you'll be increasing the bacterial and fungal content that roots thrive on.

Bacteria and fungi are extremely important for plant growth because of the mutual exchange that takes place. These organisms help obtain nutrients for plants and make them easier to absorb, and the plants, in turn, provide minerals for the organisms.

Bacteria and fungi unlock nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable to plants until they've been through bacteria that use their enzymes to unlock nutrients, transforming them into absorbable by-products ready for plant roots to take them in.

This homemade fertilizer is also known as activated aerated compost tea. It's where you take ordinary compost and increase the beneficial bacterial and fungi content by providing two ingredients: a food source and compost!

This is so easy to do at home in a small space. I've done it successfully myself and I'm going to show you how, with a useful video at the bottom.

Step 1 - Bucket

Find a circular bucket or barrel. You can, of course, use a non-circular bucket. I have used a mop bucket in the past which wasn't circular but I still managed to get the stirring action into it.

Step 2 - Water

You will need unchlorinated water because chlorinated water kills bacteria and fungi and that defeats the whole purpose of this action. I use distilled water which is basically the collection of steam from a boiling water chamber. It is as pure as rain falling from the sky.

You can find distilled water in the supermarket usually in the motor section, because distilled water is usually put into cars as it doesn't leave any residue.

If not, you could buy a distiller. I personally use a distiller for all my cooking, and it's great for making teas.

Or if you're lucky enough you can collect rainwater that is perfectly safe water to use for this project.

The other option would be to use bottled water.

Step 3 - Compost

You can use general compost or you can use worm castings which contain millions more bacteria than ordinary compost. I have my own worm farm so I just use the worm castings that I have available. Worm farms are very easy to keep and are highly suitable for urban environments with small spaces. Click on the link below for my worm composting guide.

Step 4 - Food

Now that you have assembled all the above materials, you have your water and your compost in your bucket. All you have to do is give the bacteria and fungi something to eat. Molasses is a highly popular one, but you could also give them kelp, treacle, comfrey, dandelion, or nettle tea.

Step 5 - Air

Stirring introduces air into the bucket. Manually stir the bucket, creating a circular vortex. Once the vortex begins to open up, let it sit and it should stop swelling after about 15 to 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes you will need to repeat the storing action in the opposite direction. It is recommended that you do this for 3 to 4 hours. Set your timer and kick back or complete anything else you need to do in your garden.

Have a look at this video I found on YouTube which shows the above method perfectly. It also documents the results of the stirred compost tea compared to using a bubbler. It's a great watch and highly informative.



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