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Compost Tips

Make your own compost tumbler. Buy a reasonably sized plastic garbage can. Drill drainage holes in the bottom. Toss in organics and roll around to mix the goodies. Don't forget to add some soil for microbes!

How to make excellent leaf mold: bag those fall leaves in a black bag, leave over the winter season in a sunny spot. By spring the leaves will have decomposed.

Caffeine is known to be a natural herbicide. All the tea bags and coffee grounds make wonderful compost, but don't over do it.

For fast composting, locate in full sun.

Shred as much as possible. The more surfaces exposed, the faster it will break down.

No grease or oils, please. Coffee/tea and water as well as sugar water will help to decompose.

Compost everything that's organic.

Do not compost fat, cat and dog droppings, nor dairy products.

Compost and mulch are entirely two different things. Compost is a soil amendment. Mulch is used on top to protect the plant from heat or cold depending on the time of the year.

Coffee grounds help diminish alkaline soil. Worms love to help decompose them.

Alfalfa Tea

Here is a recipe submitted by a reader:

May I share with you and your many gardening friends my recipe for "Alfalfa Tea"  I use it to fertilize everything in my garden.  I have wonderful results.  I can water a plant with it and the next day the blooms are more intense in their color and the foliage is more healthy.  The only drawback is the "barnyard odor".

Add the pellets to the trash can.  Fill trash can with water.  Stir.  Cover trash can tightly with lid.  For the next three days stir "tea" several times a day in order to dissolve the pellets.  Keep covered.  On the third day add epsom salts and fish emulsion.  It is ready to use on any vegetable, plant, tree or bush.  I guarantee success.  You will never want to use a commercially prepared fertilizer again.  At times I have been out of epsom salts and the fish emulsion and I have omitted those products and the results have been good but not as spectacular.  I store the "tea" in gallon plastic containers and hide these around my garden so that I don't have to always take the "tea" from the trash can.

When all the "tea" is used, there will be enough pellet residue in the bottom of the trash can that you again fill the trash can with water and make more "tea".

Rachel Reed

Compost Tea

Compost tea is quite easy to make - almost like making a real cup of tea only on a larger scale. Shovel in some compost in an old pillow case or burlap bag. Sink it into a large bucket or barrel of water. Cover the container and just let it steep for a few days. Remember, the longer you steep the stronger it is.

You may use this as a light fertilizer to give your plants a little boost. It can also be used as a foliar feeding medium.

So, let's go have a cup of tea! Er, I mean compost tea. Your plants will love you for it.