Are you a cannabis grower who is interested in the zero-waste movement?
Then, compost tea is the perfect place to start. Just a heads up, this is not the kind of tea that you pour into a mug and sip to enjoy.
This is the kind of tea that is for your plants.
What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is an organic mixture of active nutrients and microorganisms steeped in aerated water.
The brew packs a nutritional powerhouse for soil, roots, and leaves while introducing healthy fungal colonies and beneficial bacteria to cannabis plants.
The results are a boost in plant growth and protection from disease.
Benefits of Compost Tea
Not all growers agree on whether compost tea is any more effective than ordinary compost, but cultivators have mentioned these potential benefits (Weedmaps):
- Reducing the presence of weeds and pests, which consequently helps cannabis plants fend off diseases such as blight. Compost tea may shield marijuana from pathogens that could harm or even kill the plant.
- Infusing the cannabis plant with a strong dose of nutrients, which can potentially increase plant size due to a strengthened immune system from a diversity of trace minerals.
- Eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers that ultimately harm the soil and the environment when contaminated water leads to runoff and seeps into public water supplies. With compost tea, you are creating something 100% organic, which facilitates a thriving and self-sustaining ecosystem.
- Maximizing water retention in the soil, meaning less wasted water.
- Improving the overall health of the plant with a beneficial cocktail of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes of multiple species.
5 Main Ingredients
To make the best compost tea that strengthens your cannabis plants, you’ll need five main ingredients (Weedmaps):
- Compost: The first and most important ingredient is compost with a rich biome of nutrients and microorganisms. The more developed the compost’s fungal colonies, the stronger the compost tea will be. Organic compost from local sources provides the best foundation for this recipe.
- Kelp: This sea ingredient feeds the fungal colonies and aids in development, ultimately activating the potency of compost tea.
- Molasses: More commonly used as an ingredient in baking, molasses feeds the helpful bacteria, encouraging them to proliferate and maximize the benefits of compost tea. For an extra infusion of potency, try blackstrap molasses, which is saltier and more bitter than the ordinary kind, making it better for brewing compost.
- Worm Castings: Though not the most appetizing ingredient, worm castings are dense in easily absorbed nutrients and introduce a host of microorganisms to the tea.
- Fish Hydrolysate: Like kelp, fish hydrolysate feeds fungi, but it also contains nitrogen and chitin, the latter of which serves as an immune booster to marijuana plants.
Once you’ve gathered these five ingredients, you’ll need to grab few supplies.
In addition to those above, you’ll just need:
- Non-chlorinated water. It can be tap water that sits for 24 hours or, for a super organic experience, rainwater.
- 5-gallon bucket
- Watering can
If you would like to aerate the compost, which is recommended, you will need:
- Air pump.
- Aquarium bubbler.
- 400-micron mesh bag or breathable fabric, such as pantyhose or any porous cloth.
These can all be purchased at a fish or aquarium supply store.
Directions To Follow
The three steps to making compost tea are simple and to the point ( WeedMaps):
- Build the brewer: Place the aquarium bubbler in the bottom of the bucket and use plastic tubing to attach it to the air pump outside the bucket. Fill the bucket with non-chlorinated water.
- Fill the teabag (aka the mesh bag): Remove any worms from the compost before you proceed with this step. Then, pour the tea ingredients into the mesh bag.
- Brew the tea: Carve out at least a 24-hour period to let the pump run continuously and brew the tea. Be prepared to apply the compost tea to the soil as soon as possible, preferably within 36 hours of adding the bag to the brewer.
There is an optional fourth step. You can supplement the compost tea with items in addition to the kelp, molasses, and castings. Try a biologically active product such as Actinovate along with supplemental food for fungi and bacteria, if desired.
Compost tea has a very short shelf-life and needs to be applied to the soil immediately to enrich the health of cannabis plants.
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