Make Compost Tea the Simple Way
With Johnson County Master Gardener Rozetta Tary
Rozetta at 86 years young has been an avid gardener all of her life. She was raised on a farm and her early roots show in her garden philosophy as well as her beliefs in Homeopathy. I learned about Rozetta’s simple way to make Compost Tea when she gave a 15-minute talk at our monthly Johnson County Master Gardener meeting in May. She said she could not stand to watch bushels and bushels of leaves going to waste. She needed a way to make compost and compost tea that did not involved so much work. With her wonderfully simple Compost Tea Maker you will save time, space and money. What more could a gardener want?
To make your very own Compost Tea Maker you need one 32 gal. plastic garbage can. Make 3 holes 3 inches apart at the bottom edge of the garbage can. To make your holes you can use a hammer and nail or a drill. The garbage can should be placed high enough for a 5-gal bucket to fit underneath the holes. Rozetta’s son Kurt Newman, also a Johnson County Master Gardener, used stacked concrete blocks to support the garbage can and placed it at a slight angle for the compost tea to run into the buckets easily. Rozetta had a great idea for keeping the critters out of the compost. She recycled an old round fan cover to place over the compost. Air and water get in but the critters don’t. Many things can be used for the cover, wire, screens, grating and the base can also be made out of anything that the cans can sit on to make it stable and high enough for the 5-gal bucket to fit under. So before you run out and buy anything take a look around the garage or shed for things you can recycle.
The Compost Tea ingredients are dead leaves, grass, garden waste, and kitchen scraps. Rozetta also recommends adding fishing worms to the mix with a dried cow patty on top. In composting we usually alternate wet and dry materials in the compost bin and do not use oil based or meat products. She also says not to put dirt in your can because it clogs up the holes.
Compost Tea gets its name from the color because it looks like drinking tea. If the water runs through too fast it will be too light in color. You will then need to add composting material and make sure it stays moist. If the tea is too dark keeping a hose handy to add water is all that is needed. Once she has her Compost Tea made she fills her watering cans. In the garden she walks up and down the isle swinging her arm with the spout pointed down fertilizing the plants as she goes. Rozetta never buys fertilizer because it is always just a 5-gal bucket away.
Rozetta Tary we THANK YOU for sharing your Compost Tea Maker with the gardeners of Johnson County.