Today’s recipe is something a little different as we really don’t recommend you eat it! This one’s a treat for your garden instead so happy brewing.

Ingredients

Large tub (I used a 70 litre container, but smaller containers are fine. It’s possible to use large plastic rubbish bins, but the shape makes it more difficult to separate the plants out from the liquid when you’re ready to use the tea.)
Wire mesh such as aviary mesh, and a cutting implement, such as tin snips
Clips for securing mesh to tub (optional)
Air pump
Clear plastic tubing for air pump
Weight to hold the air pump down
1 bucket of weeds
½ bucket of compost
¼ cup rock minerals
1 bucket rotted wood chips (such as mulch) with
or without fungi
Kelp or kelp powder
½ cup non-sulphured molasses (which feeds
the bacteria)

Method

1. Cut the mesh a few centimetres wider than the width of the tub, and slightly higher than the depth of the tub.

2. Place the mesh in the centre of the tub, bending the edges so it stays in place. Secure with clips if necessary.

3. Attach the tubing to the air pump.

4. Tie a weight, such as a small rock, to each tube.

5. Place the bubbler in the tub, and connect the air pump to an electricity source; if making the tea outside (as opposed to in a shed), make sure you use a safe external electricity source.

6. Fill the tub with water and turn the air pump on. If using tap water, allow to bubble for a few hours before adding the compost ingredients.

7. Add the compost ingredients to the side of the mesh on opposite side to the air pump.

8. Aerate for about 24 hours.

9. Take the tea from the non-compost side of the mesh and use it to water your plants.

10.Remove the plant matter from the tub and put it in the compost.

11.Wash the tub and equipment and allow to dry in the sun.

The Story Behind The Recipe

Of this recipe, A.B. Bishop says ‘As with worm juice and other liquid tonics, dilute your compost brew until it is the colour of weak tea to avoid burning plant roots. Edible plants that have been fertilised with compost tea should be washed before eating.

Compost tea is best made in warm conditions. Avoid making it in winter in southern Australia and the cool mountain zones. Place your compost bubbler under cover near an outdoor electrical outlet. Don’t use the tub for anything other than compost tea.’

For more wonderful tips and tricks when growing food in your garden, pick up a copy of A.B.’s new book Habitat of Food. Click on the cover below to find your nearest retailer.

Images and text from Habitat of Food by A.B Bishop, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99 Cover Photography by A.B Bishop, Georgina Steytler, Heather Thorning. Photos from Compost tea extract by A.B Bishop.