Compost tea is made from soaking compost in water to extract beneficial bacteria and organisms from the compost. The resulting "tea" or brown liquid can be applied around and over plants to increase soil and plant health. Compost tea can be made in 24 hours using the proper methods and equipment.
A container that holds at least 5 gallons of water is essential for the compost tea making process. A 5-gallon bucket is usually sufficient to create enough compost to fill a 4-gallon backpack-style sprayer. Also, a full 5-gallon bucket is not too heavy to move around the garden if applying the compost tea directly to the root base of a plant.
Chlorinated tap water kills the beneficial bacteria present in compost and compost tea because of the chlorine in the water. If using chlorinated water, allow it to sit for 24 hours so the chlorine will dissipate before using to make compost tea.
Aquarium Air Pump
A good-quality aquarium air pump that can be found at pet stores that sell aquarium supplies will keep the water agitated during the compost tea making process. Adding air to the tea will accelerate the process.
Air Hose for Air Pump
Several feet of plastic air hose is essential so the air from the air pump will be able to agitate the water during the compost tea making process. The hose needs to reach from the air pump to the bottom of the container containing the compost tea mixture.
Use well-rotted compost to make compost tea. Compost is done when it no longer has an earthy smell and the particles look like soil with no recognizable matter such as leaves or twigs. It should have the consistency of moist soil.
Bag to Hold Compost
You need a bag or "tea bag" to hold the compost during the tea making process. The bag needs to have openings large enough so the bacteria and beneficial microbes can enter the water while keeping the water free enough of debris to use in a sprayer. Suggested tea bags are old burlap or a nylon hose. If not using in a sprayer, then you don't need to filter the compost tea before adding to the garden.