Here's a secret from savvy gardeners who know how to get even more from compost without all the hard work and months of "cooking." They steep it to make a "compost tea" and then spray it on their plants, vegetables and lawns. Home gardeners can brew the same concentrated, highly nutritious compost. Seattle-based SoilSoup Inc. has introduced a 6.5-gallon compost tea brewing system perfect for lawns and backyard gardens. Ann Lovejoy, author of Organic Garden Design School, provides these tips for using SoilSoup:
For first-time applications, use the tea at full strength. It is especially beneficial to apply the tea just before and after planting.
Make the second application two weeks later, using tea diluted with water to half strength.
For maintenance, spray about once a month, using tea diluted by as much as eight gallons of water to one gallon of tea. If the garden has been chemically maintained, dilute monthly sprays to two gallons of water to each gallon of tea.
To promote healthy lawns, spray SoilSoup monthly year-round. This is especially helpful where drainage and soil are poor.
To avoid or minimize foliage disorders such as powdery mildew, black spot, and so on, spray twice a month in the spring, then monthly through fall. Spray when the leaves are damp from rain or being watered.
For meaty, healthy vegetables, spray directly on plants monthly.
Cost of the 6.5-gallon brewing-system, complete with manual and starter ingredients, is $329. For more information and tips, call (877) 711-7687 and visit www.soilsoup.com on the Web.