Here’s How to Make Compost Tea for Your Marijuana Garden

With legal changes sweeping the U.S. as states do a U-turn on their cannabis laws, there has been a rise in the number of cannabis enthusiasts growing their marijuana at home. We love a good do-it-yourself, and today, we are bringing you just the things you need to help your crops thrive all year round!

If you have ever tried to grow your own cannabis, then you will know that many strains out there need some extra special TLC to help them thrive. Compost tea is the current growing trend for cannabis cultivators, and the past twenty years have seen more and more people opting for an organic nutritional booster for their plants.

With a wealth of information out there on compost tea, it can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you have never grown cannabis before. So today, we are going to tell you why you should consider compost tea for your cannabis garden and how you can brew your very own batch at home!

What is Compost Tea and Why Should You Be Using it for Your Cannabis Garden?

There are many types of compost tea out there, and with the popularity of this elixir growing rapidly in recent years, we have seen some pretty inventive versions of the mixture. Put simply, compost tea is the act of steeping and brewing compost in water to make a liquid ‘tea’ solution.

But why bother? The benefits of compost tea are threefold: A well-brewed mixture can improve the resilience of your cannabis plant by providing it with helpful bacteria, introducing vital nutrients for healthy growth and larger yields, and improving the plant’s nutrient absorption.

You can use compost tea in many ways, and the way you make your mixture will differ depending on the type of solution you are aiming for e.g., bacterial or fungal tea. However, the vast majority of teas will consist of an amalgamation of similar ingredients that tend to crop up time and time again.

Once you are happy with your compost tea, you can use it as a root drench to provide the soil with much-needed nutrients and introduce aerobic microorganisms to the plant’s roots. Alternatively, you can use the compost tea as a foliar spray, which can be applied to the plant’s leaves for beneficial bacteria and to help strengthen the plant against possible diseases.

Your simplest version of compost tea may consist simply of compost and water steeped and left to brew for a couple of hours. However, experienced cannabis cultivators will tell you that for the best results, you want to add those extras.

There are hundreds of store-bought brands of compost tea out there, many of which offer different variations on key ingredients, but making your own from home can be just as simple as picking it up at the shops and much more cost-friendly!

What Do You Need to Make Compost Tea?

This is where things can become confusing, as we have already touched on the fact that there are so many variations of compost tea—it can be hard to know where to begin! That being said, knowing and understanding the very core ingredients will help you get a grip on things, and from there, you can experiment with different additional ingredients if you wish to.

  1. Compost

At the base of any compost tea is, well, compost! We always recommend that anyone serious about cultivation have a compost bin, which can take years to establish but is super easy and very environmentally friendly! A good quality, healthy compost is necessary for compost tea, so if you are making your own, ensure there is a good balance of greenery and brown items to supply it with the optimal level of nutrients.

If you don’t have your own source of compost or yours isn’t ready for use yet, you can find good-quality options in many gardening stores!

  1. Food & Nutrients

This is the part where those added extras come in! We have seen plenty of people brew compost tea using nothing but natural, healthy compost and a bucket of water! Although you can indeed get better end results when incorporating additional food and nutrients, it is possible to keep things simple if your compost is good enough.

Assuming you do want to add in some additional extras, here are some of the most common and popular choices:

  • Molasses
  • Liquid seaweed
  • Liquid Kelp
  • Worm castings
  • Fish hydrolysate

Each of the above, along with a range of other ingredients that can be added, offers food and additional nutrients for your compost tea that can benefit your cannabis plant.

Ingredients such as molasses feed the microorganisms in the compost, helping them multiply dramatically, while liquid kelp can improve the overall health of the soil and provide a good source of food for the organisms that cycle nutrients and feed plants.

Many organic food sources can be added to cannabis plants to feed the organisms, and this can help in the successful cultivation of your favorite bud.

  1. Oxygen

The final core ingredient in compost tea is oxygen, which is vital to aerate the tea and allow microorganisms to thrive. This can be tricky to get right, as fast-growing microorganisms can require more oxygen than is available, leading to potentially toxic materials. A good air pump large enough to provide a 6 ppm threshold will usually be adequate for most brewing jobs.

We could talk all day about the various ingredients needed for compost tea, but the bare bones are a healthy compost, a good oxygen system, and additional nutrients – you shouldn’t go too far wrong with these!

In terms of equipment, a large bucket, a decent air pump, an aerator, and a good pair of pantyhose or a mesh bag will be your most vital items. Anything else you wish to use can be an afterthought—if you have these items, you have all you will need.

How to Make Compost Tea

Okay, so you have your compost, you’ve got your nutritional additions, and equipment. Now what? Below is our simple step-by-step method for making a good-quality compost tea. Remember that there are, of course, more complex ways you can do this, but we want to keep things simple!

  1. The first thing you want to do is fill your bucket with water. If you have used water that contains chlorine, you will need an aerator to remove it. If you have used fresh water without chlorine, then it is possible to make compost tea without using an aerator.
  2. With the water in the bucket, you need to attach your air pump to the outside of the bucket, and (if necessary), your aerator device also needs to be connected at this stage.
  3. Using a clean pair of pantyhose or a mesh bag, place your compost inside with any other ingredients you want to use. If you aren’t ready to go it alone yet, you can also buy pre-built compost mixtures!
  4. Tea brewing is pretty simple. Once you have your setup going, the only thing you need is patience! Usually, compost tea will take between 24 and 36 hours to brew, and during this time, it is important to monitor the temperature.
  5. The optimum temperature for healthy compost tea is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too warm, you run the risk of the tea brewing too fast, which can make it too anaerobic and allow for pathogens to grow. If the brew is too cold, then it can slow down the process and prevent microorganisms from populating full stop. Keep your brew out of direct sunlight.
  6. If you are opting to add additional ingredients, then you can do this during the brewing process. You can find tonnes of compost tea recipes online, which will be tailored to specific needs, so check out what you are looking for to find exact quantities. As a general rule of thumb, most foods and nutrients are either added right at the beginning of the brewing process or towards the end. However, this does depend on the product you are adding, for example, Sea Green is added just before you apply the tea to your plants, whereas food designed for bacteria should be added halfway through, so always check first!
  7. That’s it! You can apply your tea either to the roots, the leaves, or even both anytime within 26 hours of brewing. We advise against using the batch anytime after this.

Round-Up: Should You Be Adding Compost Tea to Your Cannabis Garden?

There is no denying that compost tea has taken the cannabis market by storm in recent years. You can now look anywhere online and find a raft of information, techniques, and all-singing, all-dancing products!

Yes, compost tea is beneficial—but it doesn’t have to be hard work! We hope that by following our simple guide, you will feel more confident about making your own batch of compost tea. First, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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