Keeping our heirloom roses in top condition is a high priority as the bushes are about to be at their prime flowering in the coming weeks. The most common problems we have with the roses are black spot, powdery mildew and rose caterpillar.
We are able to keep all of these menaces under control using a compost tea recipe from Filoli, the stately gardens south of San Francisco. Follow the easy steps below to make your own tea get your garden even greener by eliminating harmful chemicals.
Aquarium pump with clear tubing and air bubbler, available from any pet store
5-gal clean bucket
Clean old pillowcase
Stick or piece of wood
Compost Tea Ingredients:
5 gallons non-chlorinated water
1 cup aerobic compost
1 cup worm castings
Handful alfalfa meal
1 Tbsp feather-meal
1 Tbsp fishmeal
1 Tbsp kelp
2 cups fish hydrolzate
1 capful ancient humate
How to prepare the compost tea:
It takes about 3 days from the set up to the application of compost tea
Step 1 – day 1
Set up water in 5-gallon bucket and let it air, using air pump for at least 24 hours, to remove the chlorine.
Step 2 – day 2
Combine all dry ingredients into
the clean pillowcase. Close the pillowcase and tie with a string. Tie the pillowcase onto the stick and suspend over the air bubbler in the water.
Make sure that the bottom of the pillowcase does not touch the bottom of the bucket. There needs to be a gap for air to bubble through the suspended tea bag.
Let it steep for 24 hours with the air pump on.
Step 3 – day 3
Transfer compost tea to the sprayer and apply it over the plant’s leaves and soil.
After finishing make sure to carefully clean the pillowcase, bucket, and sprayer, especially all of the taps and nozzles. This will prevent bad bacteria from developing (and smelling).