The Q&A Archives: Fertilizer

Question: A friend heard about a " Manure Tea" that can be mixed for a fertilizer. Do you know about this and know how to mix it for the lawn and garden?

Answer: There are two different ways that I know of to make manure tea. One for fresh manure, one for composted manure. Here is the recipe for using fresh manure: Fill a burlap sack with 18 gallons of fresh cow, horse or chicken manure. Place the sack in your55 gallon barrel and cover it with water. The volume ratio should always be at least three parts water to one part manure. Steep the mixture for a month. During that time the water may bubble and darken. When bubbling has finished and the color is dark brown, remove the sack and dilute the mixture to an amber color. Manure tea is most effective when used as a soil drench around young transplants and seedlings for a nitrogen boost. Apply about one pint of diluted tea per vegetable or flower plant every one to two weeks. To use composted manure such as you purchase in the garden center, I fill a cheese cloth with the composted manure, tie it with twine and soak it in a 5 gallon bucket of warm water overnight. This type does not need to be diluted before applied to plants.

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