Every time we harvest vegetables and fruits, we are taking nutrients and minerals from the soils, which needs to be replaced or the soil is diminished.
One of the easiest ways we can do this is by applying compost, worm castings or some homemade fertilisers made from things we typically have around our house. By using what we have already, we are reducing the number of inputs we are bringing into our system and helping to create a more closed lopped system - from soil to soil.
Below are 10 of the simple teas and applications I use in and around our gardens to help keep them thriving
1. MANURE TEA
An excellent source of nitrogen. You'll need at least 1 part well-aged manure and 5 parts water, a large bucket (with a lid) and a hessian bag.
Chicken, horse, cattle or sheep are all good to use for a manure tea. But no manure from domestic animals as it can contain pathogens we do not want in our gardens
Add the manure into the hessian bag and place it in the bucket. Fill with water and cover (like a giant teabag).
Let it sit for two weeks. When you're ready to use it, dilute it to the ratio of 1:10.
You can empty the manure-filled hessian bag into your compost afterwards.
2. COMPOST TEA
Use the same ratio, 1 part compost to 5 parts water.
In a bucket, add in 1 part compost and fill it up with 5 parts water. Give it a healthy stir and let it sit for four days.
When it's ready to use, strain it through. Use it straight away and dilute to the ratio of 1:10.
3. SEAWEED LIQUID FERTILISER
Seaweed is full of nutrients for your plants, including potassium, nitrogen, phosphate and magnesium. It also a great help to stop transplant shock when moving plants and seedlings.
Rinse the seaweed thoroughly to remove salt. Then place it in a bucket, cover with water and let it sit. Allow it to sit for about eight weeks in the dark, with a lid on the bucket - this can get a bit stinky if you are not careful. Dilute to a ratio of 1:10.
4. BANANA PEEL LIQUID FERTILISER
Banana are packed with potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
Soak four banana skins in 1 litre of water for a few days. The minerals and nutrients will leach into the water. I always dilute to a 1:10 ratio to keep it consistent and spread the love further. Then I place the remaining skins into my worm farm.
5. WEEDY TEA
This has to be the easiest liquid tea to make.
You use all the weeds from around your garden for this.
using the same 1:5 ratio (1 part weeds, 5 parts water), fill a bucket with your unwanted garden plants. Cover them with water then put a lid on the bucket. Let it brew for about four weeks.
Again sticking with the same ratio of 1:10 for dilution and then use it anywhere in the garden.
Once the weeds have broken down in the bucket, use them in the compost and start again.
6. CITRUS PEEL FERTILISER
Allow peel from citrus that you have eaten or used to dry out and then burn down to ash. This ash will be very high in potassium which can be added to a garden bed or to any compost or worm farm.
7. COFFEE GROUNDS.
Spent coffee grounds have lots of uses. One of their best is as a fertiliser. Lots of plants can benefit from the nutrient-rich resource. There are a couple of ways we can do this— you can sprinkle the used grounds over the surface of the earth, or you can make "coffee tea" to use in our gardens. Soak up to six cups of used coffee grounds for up to a week in 20 litres of water to make garden coffee, then use it to water your acid-loving plants.
8. MOLASSES FERTILISER
Molasses helps to increase the microbes and beneficial bacteria in our soils. This helps all of our plants to grow. To make molasses tea, we just mix approx. 4 tablespoons of molasses into 4 litres of water. Then just add this tea to your plants once a week or so and watch them grow!
9. COOKING WATER
Many different nutrients are released into water we boil our food in. Water that is used to boil our vegetables, eggs, and even pasta or rice can be used as a fertiliser. Always let the water cool before applying it to your soil.
10. EGG SHELLS
Eggshells contain a little nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and other trace elements that help make them a practical fertiliser we can use in our garden. Calcium is also a main component which our plants need to grow happily and healthily. Simply crush them, powder them in a mortar and pestle, and sprinkle them around your garden soil.