Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Compost Tea

How many of us really think about what is going on under the soil when we think of our gardens?  Too often the focus is on the visible parts of the plants but when the visible parts start to show signs of suffering it is often something going on (or not going on) under the soil that is the cause of the problem.

Here in Southern California especially we are faced with soils that have been stripped of their natural organisms and minerals by the scraping that comes with our building practices or smothered with turf and compacted by years of improper care.

Our natural soils (yes even our granite and clay based soils here in the Southwest) would normally teem with life in the form of fungi, beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms that are necessary to the health of plant roots. 

In addition to mulching heavily and breaking up heavily compacted soils the application of compost tea can help to reintroduce these essential microorganisms to the soil and speed up the rehabilitation of your soil.

Compost tea can be self-brewed with the right tools but it needs proper aeration and food (molasses) to be successful.  There are many recipes available if you do an online search.

For an easier method you can also purchase tea bags through Malibu Compost here and AgriService, Inc. in Oceanside is also a great resource for larger batches but be sure to call ahead to make sure that they will be brewing it when you need it.

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