Homemade Garden Tonic


Compost, which is decayed organic matter, is used as a soil amendment, and as a potting medium and mulch. However, it can also be used to produce an old-fashioned garden tonic called compost tea. Compost tea gives plants a healthy dose of nutrients.

Step 1

Fill an old pillowcase with approximately 1 gallon of compost and secure the open end.

Step 2

Fill a bucket with 3 to 4 gallons of water and place the pillowcase in the water.

Step 3

Allow the compost to steep in the water for approximately three days. The compost will leach vital nutrients into the water. The finished result should be a reddish-brown color, similar to tea.

Step 4

Empty the finished compost tea into a garden sprayer and apply on and around plants. This mixture is nutrient rich without harsh chemicals and can be applied as often as necessary.

Step 5

Dump the used compost from the pillowcase back into the compost pile. Although the tea absorbed much of the nutrients the compost can still be used as a soil additive or as mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Pillowcase
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Garden sprayer


  • University of Illinois Extension: Benefits of Compost
Keywords: Compost Tea, Organic Fertilizer, Garden Soil Amendment, Garden Additives, Using Compost

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including eHow.com, Trails.com and Associated Content.