How to make aerated compost tea for your garden

compost for teaIf you’re a gardener who’s been conscientiously composting your kitchen waste and using the rich, crumbly material as a soil conditioner in your garden, it’s time to take your composting to the next level.

By mixing that earthy concoction with water and allowing it to steep, you can create a beneficial tea loaded with the nutrients that plants love.

Digging compost into flower and vegetable beds is an important part of any gardening program, but why stop at adding millions of beneficial bacteria to the soil when you add billions of bacteria instead?

The process of brewing compost into tea not only makes the organic matter more effective, but it improves its usefulness, too.

Compost tea can be used as both a foliar spray and a soil drench.

  • As a foliar spray, the tea’s soluble nutrients give the plant a healthy boost and help control plant diseases like black spot and early blight.

Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Loam

BuffaLoam is a 100% organic, all-natural plant food and soil amendment known as “America’s First Fertilizer.”

The Diamond Tail Ranch in north-central Colorado has found a way into gardener’s hearts by recycling tons of manure from its herd of 700 American bison.

BuffaLoam is a 100% organic, all natural plant food and soil amendment for indoor and outdoor organic gardening.

I spotted a bag of BuffaLoam at an Aurora Vitamin Cottage and decided to give it a try with my houseplants. These plants suffer from neglect all summer because I spend my gardening time either in the vegetable garden or doting on the container garden.

The bison responsible for this product graze on native grasses, just like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. The manure is collected and blended with locally-produced wood shavings and then composted long enough to create a fine, dark compost that has a pleasant earthy fragrance.

Grounds for gardening success

The best use for coffee grounds is as an addition to the compost pile.

coffee-grounds-blogThe “Grounds for your Garden” program started by Starbucks in 1999 is a terrific example of win-win-win-win in business.

By giving away tons of used coffee grounds, the company has been able to recycle a product it would normally throw away, frugal gardeners get a free soil amendment, compost piles get a good source of nitrogen and birds, bees, butterflies and other insects are the ultimate beneficiaries.

Used coffee grounds are a good soil amendment but, contrary to popular belief grounds don’t make a good fertilizer when used alone. The best use of used coffee grounds is to add them to the compost bin as another source of “green.”

The researchers at the Oregon State University Extension Service say when coffee grounds are used as a soil amendment “keep them damp and add some nitrogen fertilizer when you do this.” Apparently the grounds feed microbes in the soil, which depletes nitrogen and needs to be replaced.

Gardeners Flock to Free Mulch Day 2009

It’s not spring until the free mulch giveaway sponsored by Denver Recycles and Denver Parks and Recreation.

mulch-day-2009-blog1Following an annual spring tradition, we woke up early, grabbed coffee and headed out the door for the TreeCycle Mulch Giveaway. We arrived 40 minutes before opening and took our places as the 10th and 11th in line. It seems every Denver resident has discovered the benefits of mulch—especially when it’s free.

Christmas trees are chopped, crushed and turned into mulch between January and May by Denver Recycles, a program of Denver Public Works and Solid Waste Management, and Denver Parks and Recreation. In addition to the huge piles of mulch, A1 Organics sells dark rich compost at the south side of the lot.

In 2001, when we first started taking advantage of the free mulch and low-cost compost, it wasn’t nearly as popular. We’d get to the giveaway around 8:00, pull right in and load up our cars, first with bags of compost and then with bags of mulch.

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