How to Make Manure Tea Fertilizer

How to make manure tea fertilizer for your garden, using economical, readily available parts and materials salvaged from your homestead.

| May/June 1975

It's here — gardening time again — and most likely you're spending a good part of every day out there in the vegetable patch, urging on the hardier crops and getting the others tucked into the ground.

How well those crops do, of course, depends on the state of the ground you tuck them into. Some important first steps toward a good harvest were taken way back last fall when (I hope) you mulched the soil heavily, or planted it to a green manure crop, or treated it to several good loads of animal droppings. And, naturally, you'll have added compost, kitchen scraps, and other organic fertilizer to the plot's surface and subsurface to ensure even greater fertility.

All the same, you may find that some parts of your garden need extra help as the summer goes on. Many plants (notably the vine crops and cereal grains) are deep, heavy feeders that make severe demands on even highly fertile soils. During their period of greatest productivity, they may require additional nutrition in the form of readily assimilated organic fertilizers.

Liquids — which rapidly penetrate to the vicinity of the roots and are taken up almost immediately — are the easiest foods for plants to absorb. A number of concentrated liquid organic fertilizers are available commercially and can be used to supply the vital nutrients in the form best utilized by your crops.

If you prefer, though, you can offer your garden an excellent liquid fertilizer without purchasing any such products. The plant food I'm referring to is called "manure tea" fertilizer . . . and to make it you need only a supply of animal droppings and a device which you can put together at no cost by means of careful scrounging.

How to Make Manure Tea Fertilizer

Our own "manure teapot" project started with the acquisition of a 50-gallon oil drum which a friend had once used to hold grain for his horses. The top had been cut out neatly and the inside well scrubbed to remove any trace of oil residue. The total cost of the barrel was the gasoline we used to haul it home . . . and, since we were going home anyway, that didn't really count.

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