Adding Compost Tea and Charcoal to Organic Soil
Organic soil is a highly-recommended variety of garden soil. It is reputed to have the best soil texture and being effortlessly workable. This makes planting seedlings and maneuvering the soil a much easier task. Even if your present garden soil is not organic in nature, its properties can be altered by adding organic materials like compost tea or charcoal. These two materials are also added to established organic soil beds to sustain the nourishment level of the soil. The presence of organic matter creates a cycle through which the garden soil is replenished with nutrients.
Compost Tea — It is also called worm tea. Compost tea is made through oxygenating the compost, which is commonly called brewing the compost. This process helps to raise the density of a particular bacteria type which slowly turns the compost into compost tea.
Charcoal — It is also called biochar. Charcoal increases the biological activity in the soil by making it more hospitable for microorganisms. This helps to create a pH level in the soil that aids the roots in absorbing the nutrients.
Creating the soil mix — To preparing the soil mixture, follow the square-foot garden method. This is the most commonly used method for approximating the amount of organic elements that should be added to the soil. For creating the right blend, your soil bed should be composed of 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 peat or coir and 1/3 compost tea.
Tips for Preparing Charcoal, Compost
- To make the pile start collecting yard waste like tree debris, shrub trimmings, small weeds, pine cones or acorns, unused seeds and any other form of wasted vegetation. These are rich in carbon that is needed for creating the carbon-rich organic additives.
- For making compost, you would need to add nitrogen-rich materials like grasses, manure and algae.
- Prepare a deep pit in your garden. The average depth is about 4 to 6 feet. This is used for dumping the wastage and letting it decompose naturally.
- You should use separate pits for preparing compost and charcoal. This is because charcoal is prepared by burning the pile and compost by decomposing it. The pit used for making compost should have a basic drainage.
- Though the pits need a minimum moisture level, ensure that it is not exposed to rainwater. Keeping the pits covered with a plastic sheet is a good idea.
A common way of adding charcoal to the soil is by digging the pit where it has to be prepared, in the garden itself. Once the semi-burnt, brown-colored charcoal is ready, grind it. The garden soil and compost are added only after the ground charcoal has been left in the pit for a few days. Even if you use commercial charcoal, the pit-based method is advised, as it helps the soil and compost to bind better with the charcoal.
Tips for Adding Compost Tea
- Ensure that you don’t store the compost tea for too long. Ideally, it should be sprayed within 6 hours after being brewed.
- Compost tea is added through foliar sprays and soil drench. However, if you want to keep your expenses to the minimum, a watering can or backpack sprayers can also be used.
- Compost tea is best applied during the mornings. It can be applied when it is raining, but when applied on the leaves, the climate should be dry.
- Never use sprayers that have been used for chemical spraying, as they tend to kill the beneficial microorganisms in the compost tea.
- A typical variety of compost tea is used for citrus plants, shrubs and perennial plants. It is brewed from compost prepared from paper and woody materials.