Make Compost Tea With Less Mess
Try this DIY method if you, like me, would like to make organic fertilizer on a small scale without the stink. Since suggesting that thrifty small-space gardeners hang on to empty detergent containers for just this purpose, I have tested the idea with good results: rich tea, smell-free, on the balcony, happy family — and even happier vegetables.
- a detergent container with a pour spout,
- an old pair of pantyhose or some other semi-porous sack,
- a good handful of compost (such as worm castings),
…and gloves. First, don those gloves and shut yourself in the bathroom, utility room, or wherever you have access to a tap and permission to make a foul mess for a brief period. Shovel that handful of compost into the foot of the pantyhose and tie it off. Squeeze the whole shebang into the container’s (non-spout) opening. Keep a hold of the pantyhose — you’ll want to tie them onto the container’s handle so you can more easily refill and reuse this contraption as you wish. Finally, fill the container with water, cap it off, and set it outdoors (or out of the way) to brew. Shake it/kick it every couple days, and within a week or two, you’ll have a dark, nutritious concoction for your plants. Pour some from the spout and water it down until it doesn’t smell (that’s my rule of thumb) to ensure that it doesn’t burn your plants.
Easy as that, and better for everybody. Dull as it might sound, a fair percentage of condo container gardening goes into keeping the mess to a minimum; in my case, this means maintaining some amount of order and cleanliness so that my toddler doesn’t get into something particularly nasty and so that none of us feel crowded in close quarters. This was daunting at first, but now it’s become routine — and, besides, we’re all about progress, not perfection!