Before the onslaught of summer – heat and heavy harvest season that tax the plants and soil. It’s that time of year to give the garden a spring booster shot!

Here on the urban homestead not only is our primary effort to grow our own food – but soil.  Number one thing to remember when starting a garden is: healthy soil = healthy plants.

Don’t we all enjoy tea now and again?  Guess what the garden and plants do too!

This week, buckets lined up ready to be filled with Farmer J’s concoction of EM that he mixes up and doses the plants and soil in on a weekly basis.

What is EM?

Besides EM-Bokashi tea, Farmer Justin also bucket fertilizes with other liquid concoctions such as

* Compost/Humus
* Worm Castings
* Animal Manure ( from our own backyard barnyard)
* Green Manures / Nettles (read about our recent natural nitrogen brewing efforts with nettle)

Compost Tea

Compost tea is an “liquid gold” version of compost. It acts as a very mild, organic liquid fertilizer.

Compost tea can be considered yogurt for the soil.

This concentrated liquid compost extract is teeming with live beneficial microorganisms, and is one of the best way to ‘feed the soil’. Microorganisms are responsible for producing robust plants, more resistant to insect and disease problems and plants and trees that are more productive and able to withstand extremes in temperature and moisture.

Compost tea that is correctly brewed has a wealth of microorganisms that will benefit your plants’ growth and health as well as the soil that they live in.

Steep a shovel full of compost in a 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket for a few days. Pour on plants (dilute for seedlings) and use within the week.

:: Resources ::

You can brew your own cheap and potent liquid fertilizer right at home with some compost and a bucket – best of all it saves money on store bought fertilizers (if you have a compost pile – it’s cheap, easy and practically free!)

More about the benefits of using compost tea in the garden

What is compost tea

DIY Compost tea


  1. Paul Gardener says:

    Hey Anais,
    I have a question for you on your use of compost tea. DO you pour the compost that’s been steeping on the plants as well or do you strain it off? What can we do with what’s left after straining out the water besides adding it back to the compost pile.

    Also, have you ever steeped your chicken manure straight or is it best to let it age in the compost pile first?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. Laura says:

    Very nice! I like how you use multiple methods for creating compost. I will be looking into all of thse.

  3. Brad says:

    You don’t mention that compost tea should be aerated to provide oxygen for the beneficial aerobic organisms. I was under the impression that steeping compost for a few days in stagnant water could be more harmful than good, as it’s a breeding ground for anaerobic organisms. Thoughts?

  4. Sonja says:

    I noticed the micro-organisms listed in the EM are similar to the ones found in kefir grains. Could I use Kefir to add goodness to the soil? Thank you for all you do.

  5. Jed says:

    Great connection Sonja! I also cultivate milk kefir grains daily and could easily make a little more and add with love to the garden.

    Anyone out there ever tried “kefir tea” for the garden?


  6. Mari Yoder says:

    I make kefir to …with raw milk and grains…so what are you suggesting could be added to the plants..? My grains ( so precious) or the kifir which seems to add up in the frig.

  7. MAY HARVEST TALLY | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] We had a good spring – green wise.  Also were pleasantly surprised with the wonderful heads of cabbage we were able to grow this year.  To get an early start on any signs of blight Farmer Justin’s been spraying the tomatoes with our homemade nettle tea (note to self: brew some more!) […]

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