Monday, January 12, 2009

My Home-Made Compost Tea

by Richard Chew

I like to share how I make compost tea for my roses. At this time of writing, I have already made 3 attempts to fine tune the compost tea to suit my roses. It was successful for some, but for majority cases not so successful.

This posting is just to give you an idea. I suggest you wait for my later postings if you decide to to make your own. My caution to you is that, if its not done correctly it may infect your roses with unfavourable diseases.

Let me share with you my purpose and goal for making this compost tea. It is my dream to grow roses in Malaysia with 'zero' fungicide and pesticide. If I may elaborate further, no chemicals, meaning fully organic; fully natural. In order to achieve this goal, it is critical to identify the right soil organism for growing roses.

The purpose of this experiment is to find the correct ingredients to innoculate the right soil organism that favours roses.

It is quite simple. The following were the tools that I used.

1. Air Pump (similar those used for fish aquarium)

2. Air Stone

3. Pail (5 to 8 litre)

4. Air Tube

5. Air Stone Holder (with rubber suction)

I purchased a battery operated Air Pump but battery failed after running for 12 hours or so. I suggest that you purchase electrical powered ones and with a silencer feature, so that it can run quietly for at 48 hours continously without interuption. This is the amount of time required to complete the brewing process.

I half filled the plastic pail with water. And placed the air stone to the bottom of the pail. I used the rubber suction holder to hold the air stone so that it was locked firmly at the bottom.

Found an odd stocking at my wife's cabinet.

Filled the small pot with soil. The details of the soil is described at the end of this posting.

Poured the soil into the stocking. And inserted the soil to the center of the stocking.

Placed the stocking (with the soil) and tied both ends at the ear of the pail. Adjusted it so that the soil stayed submerged at the surface of the water.

Ensured the air stone was positioned correctly so that the air bubbles worked the entire compost tea.

Added some seaweed solution into the compost tea, to feed the soil organism.

Left it to brew for 48 hours.

After 2 days, removed the 'compost tea bag' (stocking with soil).

The compost tea was ready.

Filled the sprayer with the compost tea.

Sprayed the tea on the soil to innoculate the soil with new soil organism.

After about a week, some of my roses got infected with black spots on the stem. However for the more established ones there were no effect at all.

The positive result is that my chlorotic rose responded well. Initially the leaves turned lighter green (with dark green veins) quite rapidly. Then gradually the leaves turned darker.

Below were the ingredients that I used for my compost tea bag.

At this point of time, my conclusion is that compost tea works better for established roses (healthy ones). If the roses are young or not so healthy, feeding compost tea may weakened the roses. I believe the main reason is due to inability to deal with more variety of soil organism introduced into the soil, thus weakened the rose. If its sprayed on established roses, it seemed to respond better for example my chlorotic rose and my French Lace rose.
Based on my obeservation, AACT compost tea (Active Aerated Compost Teat) provides a noticeable reaction on my roses. However I suspect the soil type used to brew the compost tea wasn't suited for my roses. I believed I may have innoculated the wrong type of soil organism that caused the infection on some of the roses.
The next step is to source the right kind of soil medium to brew the compost tea.


  1. Hello Richard....ahhh at last i've s'one....errrm couldnt find d best word adjective here...well wat i wantd to say is that i m also a rose crazy...err u may prefer d word ..enthusiast....but over time my enthusiasm gets seriously eroded..think u'll know u i hv idealistic dreams of rose cultivation without all d dangerous -cides...but i kept losing d battle...!! now d spirit is at a dangerous low level...glad to have found u ...may help 2 revive d spirit...hopefully...kudos....norhaini...

  2. Can you tell me how to plant roses with cuttings?

  3. thank you for the info! realy helpful experiment.