What is manure tea? It is the “tea” made by steeping aged or composted manure in water. Fertile soil is important to a good garden. However, if you have poor soil, it can offer a quick source of nutrients to help get you by until you have a chance to improve your soil. I always supplement my tea applications with ever so important trace minerals to more fully meet the needs of plants and soil.
Manure is rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen. For those times when plants need more nitrogen, like the early stages of plant growth, this tea can be a real life saver. Nitrogen is good for helping plants to grow vegetation, but not for fruit setting. Once plants are ready to set fruit, you will want to back off on the nitrogen, or you may have a lot of leaves, but little fruit.
Some plants, like asparagus, are heavy feeders, and respond well to tea made from manure. I add in some sea minerals to broaden the scope of nutrients in my tea.
Goal of Manure Tea
Because compost tea is all about increasing aerobic bacteria, you add molasses to feed the bacteria and brew it by bubbling air through it, at a temperature best for bacterial growth.
For tea brewed from manure, no microbe food source or air bubbles are necessary. Just break up the clods, let it sit and steep, and occasionally stir, or “box” it by pouring it back and forth between 2 buckets. Warmer water helps to pull these nutrients out of the manure, so brew it in the sun.
Some manures are more desirable than others, as follows:
1. Cow manure - at the top of the list!
2. Horse manure
3. Goat manure
4. Rabbit droppings
5. Chicken litter
6. Turkey litter
7. Pig manure, dog manure, cat manure
This tea is special, since it is actually possible to use it without composting it first. However, it is better to compost it before using..
If your manure has not been composted or “baked” in the sun long enough, there may be a danger of E Coli. It is best not to spray it on leaf crops like lettuce, cabbage, etc.