Feed your garden for free with this simple DIY manure tea fertilizer recipe!
There are lots of ways to make your own homemade garden fertilizer, but one of the cheapest and easiest is simply to use the “free fertilizer” that your animals provide! Manure from most kinds of livestock* can be used in the garden with just a bit of preparation.
Keep in mind that fresh manure is usually too strong to add directly, so you should always age or dry your manure before using in the garden. For most types of manure, aging for about 6 months should do it. For “hot” types of manure – like chicken poop – you will want to age it a year or more. (We add chicken coop bedding to our compost pile and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 years before using it in the garden.)
You can mix your aged manure with compost, or simply add it directly to your garden soil – preferably in the fall or winter, to give it time to be integrated into the soil for spring planting. Or, you can also use it to prepare a nutritious manure “tea”, which can be mixed with water and poured around your plants, or used as a foliar feed.
Manure tea fertilizer is a nutritious liquid fertilizer that can help your plants grow healthy and strong. It’s great for container plants, and can also be applied to your lawn to encourage lush, green growth. You will want to make sure to dilute the “tea” prior to use so it won’t burn the roots or foliage of your plants. Dilute in a 1-1 ratio with water for watering, and a 1-2 ratio for spraying as a foliar feed.
* Note that you can use horse, cow, chicken, sheep, turkey, or rabbit manure in your garden, but you should not use manure from meat-eating animals such as cats or dogs to grow any food that you plan to eat, as they may carry harmful parasites.
You will also want to be careful of the source of your manure, and be sure not to use any manure that comes from animals that have grazed on fields treated with broad-leaf herbicides, such as Grazon, as this could kill your garden.
Manure Tea Fertilizer Recipe
- Place a shovelful of well-aged manure in a large burlap sack or pillowcase.
- Make certain that the manure has been sufficiently aged or “cured” beforehand. Fresh manure is much too strong for plants, and it can also contain harmful bacteria.
- Suspend the manure-filled “tea bag” in a 5-gallon bucket, and add water to create a ratio of 5 parts water to 1 part manure.
- Allow this mixture to steep for up to 2 weeks.
- After steeping, remove the bag, allowing it to hang above the container until the dripping has stopped. Then add the contents of the bag to your compost pile.
- Alternatively, skipping the tea bag and adding the manure directly to the water usually speeds up the brewing process. Without a bag, the tea is usually ready within only a few days if you stir it thoroughly a few times during this period. Once it has fully brewed, you will have to strain it to separate the solids from the liquid. The remaining manure can then be added to the compost pile.
- To use, dilute the tea by half, as mentioned above, prior to use.
- Apply every 3 weeks or so during the growing season.
Find more DIY fertilizer recipes at TheGrowNetwork.com…