How to Make a Homemade Compost Tea Maker

Overview

Compost is the result of allowing organic material to decay using heat and moisture. Composting is an effective method of adding natural nutrients and material to your plants. You can use liquid compost as a spray to fertilize potted plants, for spot fertilizing or to fertilize hard to reach areas. Liquid compost is called "compost tea." Compost tea is made by adding water and oxygen to compost and allowing it to percolate. You can build a simple compost tea maker using common items found in larger retail stores.

Step 1

Set a bucket on the ground. Fill the bucket one-third full with compost.

Step 2

Set the aquarium pump on the ground. Connect the 12-inch tubing to the pump.

Step 3

Attach the three pieces of 18-inch tubing to the gang valve. Attach the other end of the tubing to the bubblers. Bury the bubblers in the compost with the gang valve hanging over the edge of the bucket. Attach the open end of the 12-inch tubing to the gang valve.

Step 4

Add water to fill the bucket to withing 6 inches of the lip. The compost will be soupy, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Add 1oz. of molasses to the mixture. Stir the contents of the bucket with the stick.

Step 5

Plug in the aquarium pump to an electrical outlet. Turn on the pump. Make sure the pump and bubblers are working properly. Adjust the bubblers to a position where they remain at the bottom of the bucket.

Step 6

Allow the pump to run for three days. Mix the contents of the bucket three times daily. Check to ensure the bubblers are at the bottom of the bucket; if not, put them back into position. Turn the pump off after three days. Remove all of the tubing.

Step 7

Set the second bucket on the ground near the first bucket. Put the cheesecloth over the top of the bucket.

Step 8

Strain the compost by carefully pouring the liquid from the first bucket, through the cheesecloth, into the second bucket. The resulting contents of the second bucket is your compost tea.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the compost tea smells bad, do not use it on your plants, advises PDEP.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 plastic buckets, 5-gallon
  • Aquarium pump
  • Gang valve
  • 3 aquarium bubblers
  • 6 feet of plastic tubing
  • Tubing cutter
  • 1 oz. molasses
  • Water
  • Large stick
  • Cheesecloth

References

  • National Organic Standards Board: Compost Tea Task Force Report (2004)
  • Chester Mandrik: How to Make Compost Tea
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: How to Make Compost Tea
Keywords: compost tea maker, homemade organic fertilizer, using organic fertlizer

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.