Am I Making Compost Tea?

by Gene Fish
(Lemon Grove, CA,USA)

From my chipper I put this mulch into a bath tub which is elevated above a 5 gal. bucket. Water is poured over the mulch and collected in the bucket under the tub. What do I have and where do I go from here?

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Jan 26, 2012
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Leachate Vs. Compost Tea
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Gene, I know we've sent a couple emails back and forth since you originally sent in this question. Is it still relevant? Nonetheless, I will provide you with my two cents...

What's in your Bucket

Unless you're withholding information, I'd say your bucket is filled with water that has passed over a bunch of mulch. If you're wondering if this water has some nutrient value or microbial life, I'd have to say no.

Where to Go From Here

I have a suspicion that you're not understanding the difference between compost leachate and aerated compost tea, neither of which are you making when you run water over mulch.

Just to reiterate what I said in my email...

Compost leachate is the liquid that comes from squeezing wet compost, or running water through compost, and allowing it to leach out.

Aerated Compost Tea, on the other hand, is the liquid product that is created by combining the following ingredients - high quality compost, microbial foods (e.g. molasses, humic acids, seaweed), and dechlorinated water. These ingredients are then placed in a container, such as a 5-gallon plastic bucket. An oxygen source (e.g. air pump and air tubes) is then placed into this bucket. Once in place, the air supply is turned on and oxygen is bubbled through the mixture for 12-72 hours. When completed, the air supply is removed, and the liquid is applied to your garden plants or soil.

Hopefully, that clarifies the issue. If not, please read the information on the following pages and if you still have questions, ask away!

Making Compost Tea

Compost Tea Recipe

Step-by-Step Instructions to Make Compost Tea

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