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is this compost tea? — The Grow Network Community
The plants have enough spirit to transform our limited vision.

- Rosemary Gladstar

is this compost tea?

So many of my potted plants have my compost mix in them, they also have plates and bowls at the bottom to catch the runoff water. When the water that comes out of them stinks, is that "compost tea"?

or just stinky water? I'm trying to figure out if when I pour the water out, I'm actually pouring nutrients out.



  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 457 ✭✭✭✭

    @findbeth-1 , now I am not 100% sure of this so we will have to see what others answer but my vote is "Stinky Water" (which to me means you really should repot those plants. The soil has become "tainted" somehow.)

    There's many ways to make compost tea but all of them I have heard of require a cycle of aeration they must go thru before the actual nutrients have been acceptably produced which results in the end product compost tea.

    Some recipes use an actual aerator, some recipes just rely on time with water and green plant matter with some added nutrition to establish the correct end product. There is actual names for this cycle called aerobic and non-aerobic processing.

    But just pouring water over soil does not produce compost tea.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    @findbeth-1 No that is not compost tea. You can leave the water in the basin/bottom of the plants and when the roots need additional moisture/water in the future they can pull it from there.

  • findbeth-1findbeth-1 Posts: 4
    edited October 2019

    So maybe I did not make my question clear...

    The water that sits in the bottom of the basin, smells like my compost pile when it is too wet...

    @Obiora E  I can not let it sit on my porch for long, (It becomes overwhelming). Does that water contain nutrients from the compost that is in the pot? Should I be returning it to the pot, or a pot further from my porch? or is it just bad? and if it's not "tea" why does it stink?

    @greyfurball these plants are recently potted... I'm partially using rainwater if that makes a difference

    Thanks again.

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 119 ✭✭✭

    Hmmmmmmmmm....intriguing. Does the water smell of sweet earth or sour?

    If it smells of sweet earth than it's likely good water to use for watering plants. Actinomycetes bacteria, healthy aerobic little fellows produce that sweet smell.

    A sour smell would be caused by anaerobic conditions. Don't reuses that water.

    You may already know this, compost tea is brewed like a cup of tea. Add a bag of compost to a bucket of water and stir like made for minutes or aerate it for a few days. One can even feed the bacteria something sweet like molasses to encourage their rapid reproduction.

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