How to Make Your Own Compost Tea


Compost tea is a nutrient-packed, liquid super food for your plants. The solution lets you provide your plants with all the nutrient benefits of compost, without having to add the extra bulk of humus to your plant soil. Whether you only have a few potted plants or an entire vegetable garden, you can use the compost tea as a quick way to perk up your plants. The University of Illinois Cooperative Extension suggests that you use the compost tea to water your plant soil or spray the plants directly. Not only does it provide a quick pick-me-up for your plants, but it also cleanses their leaves and dampens the air around them.

Step 1

Check your compost to ensure that it's completely decomposed and ready for use in your tea. Look for signs that the compost is mature, which include an earthy odor, a lack of mold and a fluffy texture, according to the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension.

Step 2

Scoop finished compost up with a trowel and dump it into a 5-gallon bucket. Fill the bottom quarter of the bucket with the compost. Add warm water to the bucket, filling it up to within 2 inches of the bucket's top edge.

Step 3

Stir the compost and the water together with a 2-foot-long piece of scrap board. Move your stirring implement clockwise around the bucket several times before changing directions and stirring it counterclockwise several times. Repeat this process for about 5 minutes, then move your compost tea brewing bucket and the stirring stick to a nearby outdoor location, such as your back porch or patio.

Step 4

Let the compost tea brew for three to four days. Stir the compost tea for five minutes, two to three times each day.

Step 5

Fit a pillowcase into a second 5-gallon bucket, just as if you're lining a trash can. Pour the brewing compost tea into pillowcase in the second 5-gallon bucket. Bring the edges of the pillowcase together and lift it slowly from the bucket, just as if you're removing a trash bag from a trash can.

Step 6

Hold the compost-filled pillowcase in the air about 3 inches above the bucket to let it drip for one to two minutes. Set the pillowcase in the original bucket and leave it to finish draining. Store your strained compost tea in sealed plastic buckets out of the sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Finished compost
  • Trowel
  • 5-gallon plastic buckets (2)
  • Warm water
  • 2-foot-long piece of scrap board
  • Old pillowcase
  • Plastic buckets with lids


  • University of Illinois Extension: Compost Benefits and Uses
  • "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide;" Barbara Pleasant & Deborah Martin; 2008
Keywords: compost tea, homemade compost tea, liquid fertilizer

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.