Gardeners and Their Tea – 1
Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20
I am going to seriously ache in the morning, hell l am already aching but it’s not the result of some nefarious activity or overdoing the Sunday nookie – although l was seriously dirty earlier today!
The weathermen had promised sun to appear at around 11am and it did so l decided to take advantage of it and raked the bomb site garden after all the winds and rains of last week, pottered around tidying up, the usual refilling of bird feeders and then l tackled my compost heap, which l shall discuss in more detail tomorrow, however this afternoon , l wanted to talk ‘Tea!’Principally Gardener’s Tea aka ‘Compost Tea! But there are quite a few teas which l shall discuss over season 3.
You may recall when l discussed that l would be working a no rules composting strategy from this point onwards, and that also there were lots of new ideas l wanted to work into the strategy this season. One of these new things was to try and get ‘more’ from the garden in so far as composting ideas went.
Looking for a way to successfully tackle awkward vegetation that can prove difficult to break down and compost such as ‘strappy/scrappy’ foliages like, palm fronds, roots, woody roots, woody vegetations, fern leaves and stringy roots as well as thorny stems and leaves like rose bushes and holly leaves. Of course l could simply throw them all into a huge garden bag and put them out for collection to the local green recycler. But whilst l can do that, l want to see if l can perhaps trial some of these newer crazy ideas and see if l can ‘compost’ with a twist.
I have recently bought myself six new rubbish bins, which the sole purpose of is to keep newly sieved compost in, but also to trial different tea batches and composting methods.
The biggest problem with some of the more awkward vegetations like those mentioned above is that they are difficult to decompose down without additional help and they require more dedication time wise too, than some folks might be willing to employ. The image above displays some of the foliage l mean – although l have added some compost soil on top which will also help to assist the process as an accelerator once wet. Inside this bin, l have added pure urine directly to the content, although whilst it is pure l am also adding rainwater.
The content has been cut as well as added in full, to see if there is any difference. Prior to the new bins arriving l was using one of my older green bins to collect the foliage and vegetations in.
In addition to the difficult vegetation, l have also added a few scoops of raw compost – my thinking is that l am going to kill two birds with one stone here:
1] Produce a compost tea – which acts as a superb fertiliser to use on your plants – great for the likes of vegetables, trees, bushes, flowers and herbs – basically this is a richly nutrient based balanced fertiliser. But mine will be purely for the compost heap as a further accelerator.
2] To act as an aggressor to the decompostion process on the tougher vegetations we have like the fern leaves and the palm fronds.
There are many ways to simply make compost tea and l have included a few videos for your perusal below – whilst there are two variations of ‘compost tea’ as in hot brewed and steeped cold l personally prefer to use steeped as it is quicker and more effective in my eyes and that is just the best way to make and produce a natural and environmental liquid fertiliser using aged compost.
However the compost tea l shall be preparing will in fact be ‘cold stewed’ as in comparison to ‘hot brewed. Mine will not be served directly to the plants but will hold the awkward foliage content for a longer period of time, perhaps 2 – 4 weeks, will have more pure urine added weekly and less water and over the course of the fortnight or month – this process will in fact hopefully speed up the breakdown of the vegetations themselves. Should this work then l believe after a few weeks in this stewed bin, they should start to break down and then they can be added to the actual compost pile itself to continue on with the decompostion process in the normal fashion.
The liquid itself at this point could either be kept for a new breakdown batch or poured into the compost heap and then a fresh batch is developed. That’s the theory anyway – it may not make the slightest bit of difference to the breakdown process – but it’s a gamble l am willing to take. My new bin has a lid that can be closed as l feel there might be a stench to this method and an open lid l do not think would be fair on the neighbours behind us.
Either way, l’ll let you know of the outcome … if it does work and efficiently, it will be a terrific way especially of breaking the backbone to the palm fronds. I think cutting the fronds themselves is a better option and then adding them to the compost tea rather than simply adding them in as whole. I recently purchased a top notch pair of Japanese garden pruners which should cut through these fronds with ease and therefore if l can make the leaves smaller l think this will help the process as well.
For the time being l leave you with some videos concerning the various methods of producing your average ‘compost tea’. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the overall effectiveness of ‘compost teas’ and so if you choose to make your own teas that choice is yours….
However some of the benefits of the tea are reputed to be:
a] Promotes growth and bloomage of plants,
b] Increases yields of vegetables and houseplants alike,
c] Can protect plants again disease,
d] Can encourage microbial activity to the garden
e] Can add much needed nutrient richness to your soils.
Of course there is always two sides to this coin as in for and against the overall efficiency of the tea and its use so you might like to study and research the fors and against before embarking on making your first batch.
Personally l find that by using both compost and compost tea together is the best bet … but it always comes down to personal opinions with gardeners. But when l do use compost tea, l am only applying it to the ground around the roots and the bases of the plants and vegetables themselves and l would always advise users of ‘tea’ to ensure that they wash all edible vegetables properly before consumption and not to simply eat content after applying the teas direct. Your compost heap might have an E.coli presence and more so if gardeners compost animal feces and manures.
However, for me and this batch, my sole purose is to produce an aggressive accelerator to hopefully break down awkward vegetations and roots for the decomposition process of the compost heap.
Steeped Compost Tea
Brewed Compost Tea
Anyway l’ll take my leave of you now
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …