Experiment # 1 Compost Tea

PROJECT : Compost Tea

For all you beginner gardeners out there, hope for a green thumb is right in you backyard, windowsill or front porch. Our fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, trees and flowers shall be luscious and bountiful. Just do your research and do not be fearful to try new things. Even the smelly ones…






I have read online a number of different estimations. I begin the filtering process a week after mixing all the ingredients into a 13 gallon old trash can. A 5 gallon bucket will work just fine though.  In this timeframe I daily stir the tea since I have not picked up a bubbler.


After the week is up strain the tea through a natural cloth material. I did not have cheese cloth at home so I cut an old cotton shirt into a large square. Then to seal the cloth around a large canister with something elastic or stretchy like a fat rubberband or  even an old bungee cord.  Mine is made with a tall coffee canister, old t-shirt and a large rubberband thing…

Easy and all from things I would have ended up throwing away or letting sit in a draw somewhere without a purpose. My homemade filtration process is always evolving though since your tea will obviously be stinky. If you think brewing compost tea is a bit extreme with all the fertilizers sold in store, go ahead and compare them. That’s what I did. I set up a seed growing experiment that I will share In another post for another day.


Daily I pour a cup full into the watering can and then proceed to use Koi pond water instead of hose water. The hose water has chlorine in it which reduces the effect of the tea.



22 thoughts on “Experiment # 1 Compost Tea

  1. elenawill says:

    You are on the road to being a very successful gardener by using the tea. I do alfalfa tea from a rain barrel and put it directly into a watering can without more dilution. Good luck!

  2. tompostpile says:

    Your plants are going to love you.

  3. biggsis says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I have friends who do this on a large scale for their blackberry farm (with magnificent results) and I’ve been meaning to come up with a small scale project. You’ve done it for me : )

  4. I do similar things, but do not filter for purpose outside. And my rhododendrons loves my leftover coffee.

  5. olemike says:

    Interesting post.

  6. I am impressed at your dedication. In France they make a decoction using nettles which they swear by. This is not only used as a fertilizer but also as a natural insecticide/fertilizer which they spray on the leaves.
    I have NEARLY done it, but each time I have backed off after someone reminded me how smelly it would be. Now you have put me to shame.

    • it is so smelly but i love how well my plants have grown using it! now you have given me a new idea because I have been wanting an insecticide to try that i feel good about. most of my plants are near our koi pond and do not want the usual chemicals since they will kill our beloved kois

      • This web site tells you how to make “Purin d’orties” if you want to give it a go. It is in French but I think if you open it in a computer that uses English it will translate it.


      • thank you! it still pulled up french tho :/

      • If you are interested I could send you the recipe in English, it sounds like very much what you are doing but uses nettles alone in the fermentation process.

      • yes please! i would love to try it out for sure!

      • Her goes the recipe, any questions, please get back to me.

        Purin d’Orties

        This concoction is very traditional and very well regarded by everyone I have talked to but as I already said, I have not tried it personally.

        It is said that despite not costing a lot it is very effective. The two main uses are: a. as a natural insecticide and insect repellent and b. as a fertiliser which will make the plants more resistant to disease, improve their growth and make them more productive. (Sounds good!)

        You need a recipient that is not metallic, plastic is O.K.

        Put I kg. of nettles freshly picked in 9 litres of rain water or spring water i.e. not chlorinated tap water and you let it ferment for 6 to 21 days according to the air temperature.

        (Here it seems to get complicated!) Example: 5-6 days at 30 degrees C: 14 days at 20 degreesC; 21 days at 5 degrees C. It is to ferment not rot. You need to stir the mixture every day and you will see the bubbles coming up due to the fermentation. When there are no more bubbles the fermentation has stopped!

        Now the mixture has to be filtered using a fine curtain ( ? maybe he means lace curtain) or tights.

        For blackfly the product can be used neat after 12 hours of fermentation if it is well filtered and sprayed on. Otherwise the final product must be diluted to 5% for leaf application. However, they do not recommend spraying the leaves of the solanaceae – tomatoes and potatoes, these are better fed with a 20% purin mixture to their roots.

        As a fertiliser the recommended concentration is 10-20%, the higher percentage being used as a preparation before planting. Do not use higher concentrations.

        Frequent 2-3% leaf spraying is ideal. The purin is rich in nitrogen, poor in phosphorus and exceptionally rich in iron. These concentrations vary according to the time of year and where the nettles grow.

        It is also advised to chop up the nettles to improve fermentation and to keep the recipient covered by a curtain or something to keep the flies off.

        As they say over here – Bon courage!

      • thank you! i can not wait to try this! i cannot convey to you how happy I am to have something new and organic to try 🙂 its awesome!

      • I hate to think it is going to smell so bad that I’ll be glad I’m in France.

      • haha! too true! ill have to hold my nose. BUT definitely worth the attempt 🙂

      • If you want to give “Purin d@orties” a go, this site tells you how to. It is in French but I think if you open it up on a computer that uses English as its interface language it will translate it.


  7. Very informative. If I get brave I may try it.

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