Brew Compost Tea The Easy Way

compost tea

There are several ways to brew your own compost tea, from buying some expensive equipment (some brewers range from $100 to $600) to brewing it right in the backyard with supplies that you may already have or can get very cheaply. Compost tea is the best fertilizer you can get, and it is totally natural and organic. Brewing this wonderful concoction yourself is an easy way to supercharge your vegetable garden.

What Is Compost Tea?

Compost tea is the process of straining the vital nutrients, beneficial microbes, and minerals that are in compost, using water. Compost tea contains everything a commercial fertilizer could only dream it had. One thing that compost and compost tea does that no other fertilizer can do is its ability to control diseases and fungi on vegetable (or flowering) plants.

How To Brew Your Own Compost Tea

Brewing your own compost tea is very simple and does not require much work at all. Here are the items you will need in order to easily brew compost tea:

  • 2 – 5 gallon buckets, cleaned and free of any dirt
  • some well-aged compost, enough to fill the bucket at least halfway
  • a fine screen strainer or old piece of burlap
  • a stirring stick

Once you have acquired the need supplies, you are ready to start brewing!

  1. First, shovel some of the well-aged compost into one of the clean 5 gallon buckets, filling it almost halfway.
  2. Fill the rest of the bucket with fresh, clean water (using gray water or water from a rain barrel will do also). Make sure you don’t overfill the bucket with water, just fill the bucket about 3 inches from the top. You will need this room when stirring the tea.
  3. Leave the bucket with the compost and water outside for a couple of days. It is very important to make sure the bucket stays out of the sunlight. The sunlight can foul the tea.
  4. Occasionally stir the mixture to make sure it separates properly and to allow the mixture to aerate. Oxygen is important in the mixture because this helps the microbes thrive and keeps the tea from becoming a stinky mess.
  5. After a few days, the tea is ready to strain. Take the other clean bucket and place the strainer on top (an old piece of burlap works better). Gently and carefully pour the liquid from the compost bucket into the strainer. The valuable compost tea will pour through the strainer and into the second bucket. Continue this until you have strained all the good compost tea from the compost bucket.

That’s it! You know have some great compost tea ready for those thirsty vegetable plants. Dilute the strained compost tea with water at a rate of 5 to 1, or put in a bottle hose sprayer and apply to garden plants. You will notice a difference in your vegetables in no time!

Here’s a great video on how to brew compost tea from

Start Composting Today

9 Comments on Brew Compost Tea The Easy Way

  1. Great post! Every week, I buy lots of organic fruits and vegetables, wash them carefully and then I prepare them for cooking. I pull off the ugly leaves, I remove the flesh from the rind, I cut off the ends, I remove the outer layers, etc. I use only the most tender and tastiest parts of the vegetables for my clients.

    This leaves a large pile of organic kitchen scraps that is perfect for composting, I’ve been saying I need to compost, for a long time. This year, I’ve joined a CSA with Sang Lee Farms and I expect to get large quantities of fruits and vegetables that will create piles of kitchen scraps for composting. Well this year, I’ve taken another step to be greener by purchasing a composter and setting it up behind my shed.
    Thanks for making compost tea look so easy.
    Chef Vanda
    The Organic Personal Chef

  2. It will also be very beneficial to use an aquarium aerator to prevent the nitrogen from being utilized by anaerobic bacteria.

  3. Is it ok to get the leaves wet with the tea like that?

    • Yes, this is referred to as foliar feeding and the leaves of the plant will directly suck in the beneficial compost tea. It is best to do this in early morning or mid-day so that the plant dries off before nightfall. Moisture of any kind on a plant over night encourages growth of fungi and disease.

      To note: never put compost tea on a plant or in a garden bed if it stinks (a sign it has gone anaerobic).

  4. This is great. I have already made the tea. Tomorrow is the third day. I will be serving my garden plants their morning tea tomorrow. However, I have a question. Is it 5 parts tea to 1 part water, or 5 parts water to 1 part tea? My husband and I disagree. I say since you listed the tea first and then the water, it must be 5 parts tea and 1 part water. He says, no, there should be more water than tea. Who’s right? Thanks!

  5. What do you do with the compost after you it has been used to make the tea?

  6. danielle northern // May 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm // Reply

    How long does the tea stay good after you make it? Also how often do you need to give this to your garden? Once a week, every other week?

  7. can I still use last seasons tea as I still have a large tub quite full ive give it a stir and it seems fine but will it have lost its nutrients?

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