DIY Manure Tea – Putting Manure to Work in Your Garden
You can make a liquid, rich in nutrients, that can easily be applied to your garden and patio plants. Do you have manure lying around your property? If you live in the city, probably not…but maybe you know someone who does. If you can’t find a “fresh source” you can purchase bagged manure at a garden supply store.
Manure tea is exactly what it sounds like: manure steeped in water. You can use horse, cow, goat, rabbit or chicken. Aged manure has begun the composting process and is less likely to burn your plants. It is not safe to use cat or dog manure – these contain harmful pathogens that could make you sick if they come into contact with your food.
Manure tea, a natural fertilizer, provides the nitrogen your plants need. Root crops like potatoes, beets and carrots need more potassium than nitrogen, so using manure tea on them will get you healthy plants, but not much root growth. Just about any other plant in your garden will benefit from using it.
Make DIY Manure Tea
Get three handfuls of aged manure – I’ve used horse manure for this batch
Wrap it in cloth, burlap or an old pillowcase – something you don’t want to keep. Think of it like making a tea bag to steep the manure in.
Secure the bundle to the side of a bucket, I used clothespins. Fill with water and steep it for 7 days and then wring it out to get all the manure goodness into your concoction. Use gloves (and maybe nose plugs, it doesn’t smell the best!) Put the used manure in your compost pile.
Use your DIY Manure Tea:
Use water to further dilute your tea before using it. It should be the color of weak tea, pale brown. A full strength batch will likely be too much for your plants to handle.
Apply your diluted tea as a weekly feed, directly on the soil around the plants. You can also put it in a spray bottle and use manure tea directly on the foliage of your plants. Apply through the entire growing season.
How long will a batch of DIY Manure Tea last? As long as it takes you to use it! Try putting some of this beneficial natural fertilizer in your garden next week and look for the results.
CalRecycles has a web page about the benefits of manure tea, compost tea and other herbal teas. It’s worth a look.