Talk Dirty To Me: Invite Your Plants to Tea
Brew up compost into a nutrient-rich elixir
In New Orleans, we regularly endure intense heat and humidity. What better way to cool off than with a glass of something cold? To hydrate, we choose water. But to regain the energy lost, we usually reach for a glass of nutrient- and mineral-rich iced tea.
Like us, plants need water to survive and minerals and nutrients to thrive.
Pouring iced tea on our plants doesn’t do a whole lot of good, but there is a tea designed for plants: compost tea. Brewing this elixir is as easy as brewing iced tea and uses the same principles.
Compost tea is an oxygenated, or aerobic, water-based solution that contains a multitude of concentrated, beneficial microbes and plant-available nutrients. Simply put, compost tea is an extremely quick and easy way to utilize your compost in a way that makes the nutrients immediately available to the plant.
The only things plant roots can absorb are water and water-soluble nutrients. These water-soluble nutrients are what we are looking to extract from the compost pile. Compost, just like tea, comes in a dry, solid form and, once mixed into water, releases certain minerals and nutrients. When we are making compost tea, we are removing all of the water-soluble nutrients that the plants need, while leaving behind the insoluble nutrients or solid pieces.
Making compost tea is an excellent way to extend the life of your compost, while extracting only the components that are available to the plant and leaving the rest to break down further. The extracted nutrients add invaluable components to your garden that are otherwise lacking. After you have added your tea to the garden, make yourself some iced tea (not compost tea), sit back and watch your plants thrive like you have never seen before.