Is Compost Tea Safe for Seedlings?

I have a nice little crop of tomato and cucumber seedlings going. Is it safe to feed them a little compost tea to give them a boost, or is this too much for them? Should tea be diluted? I have seen conflicting information about this on the internet.



  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @anndelap Great question-----I have wondered about using compost tea to give to seedlings. I will be following this post!

  • tinarock
    tinarock Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    If your babies are seedlings, I don't think compost tea is necessary. Let them get older first.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @tinarock Then use the tea compost?---How big should they be?

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,542 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2022

    According to what I have read small seedlings have enough food in their seed to last them until they ave their first true seedling leaves so don't really need fertilized until then.

    And for small seedlings I use a diluted mix of any fertilizing mix or compost tea. when they reach 6 inches or so or start to set blossoms I will them feed them more.

    One disadvantage of feeding them too much to fast is that they will become root bound in their seedling cell or small pot if you have used a smaller one. Root bound plants produce slower and have more issues.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was learning how to grow microgreens I read they have all the nutrients they need. So I agree with Monek Marie. Although I didn't know they'll get root bound, always good to learn new information 😊

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When the seedlings get to the point that they need a little boost, considering doing a foiliar feeding. Spray a diluted compost tea or seaweed tea directly on the leaves.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 755 ✭✭✭✭

    Good information here. It did not occur to me that seeds had so much nutrition for the plant at first. I have much to learn. Grateful for grow network.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,604 admin

    @anndelap I'm not sure if you've seen all the great replies in this thread, so I'm tagging you in case you haven't checked back in or received more than one answer in your email. 😉

  • anndelap
    anndelap Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    WOW! I am impressed with the responses to my question! Great info! My tomato seedlings tend to germinate and then "stall out" for several weeks. They are slow to develop the third set of leaves. Eventually, they come around, but I am wondering if there is anything I need to do to encourage them.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @anndelap How warm is the place you start your tomato seedlings?

    I've found that tomatoes will germinate and sprout in surprisingly cool conditions, but they love heat and will grow faster if it's very warm.

    Even peas, which will germinate in extremely cool conditions and survive frost, don't seem to do much actual growing until the weather warms up a bit.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,604 admin

    @anndelap I am pleased that you were able to see all the answers to your question. Yes forum is an awesome place from which to learn. Our members are knowledgeable & awesome!

    I noticed that haven't welcomed you properly! So, welcome! 😄

    If you have a moment, please leave a short introduction here (link below) so that we know approximately where you are from. Perhaps it will help you to connect & network with another member who is near you.

    Our Front Porch Welcome also has a place for FAQ & tutorials if you need technical help on the forum.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Good thread. I also have had problems with getting tomato seedlings to keep growing. They always seem to stall after sprouting and first true leaves.