The Big Stinky Barrel O' Fertility Manure Tea – An Easy Way to Stretch Your Compost

Don’t Kill Yourself Making Compost!

Long ago, I used to spend a lot of time making big piles of greens and browns – carefully mixed, watered, turned, and sifted… And yet I never had enough compost to go around.

I’m sure you know the feeling!

I still make piles, since I like to have fine compost for sprinkling on new garden beds and making my own potting mixes; however, I no longer rely on finished compost for the majority of my fertilizing.

Instead, I’ve got a much easier system.

Read more: How to Make Composting Easy

Watch Me Make Manure Tea

This is my favorite way to make free fertilizer. I use moringa leaves, manure, urine, compost, weeds and other nitrogen-rich materials. I put them in a big barrel, top off with water, and then let it rot on down into liquid fertilizer for my gardens. I’ll also add a cup or two of Epsom salts if I have them available for the extra magnesium and sulfur.

After a couple of weeks of sitting in the sun and rotting, you’ve got a “tea” with some serious fertilizing power. Take a look:

How to Use Manure Tea

I’ve fed big plots of corn and other crops effectively with very little trouble and very little material after discovering how well this anaerobic composting method works. It’s similar to Bokashi composting but without having to buy Bokashi starter. Just let nature take its course and you’ll have a rich, green garden like I do.

Warning: You Don’t want to pour this stuff on your greens or other crops you’re going to eat right away as it is most definitely not safe for consumption!

I cover this method in my popular book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting and I’ve had people write in and share their own successful experiments with the “big stinky barrel o’ fertility” method. Give it a try. Aside from the smell, I think you’ll like it.

A Quick Update

Here’s another video I made the other day… Even more stinky goodness from my “tea pot”! Won’t you be my neighbor?

david-the-good-top-10-survival-crops

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David The Good (Bioneer Blogger)


Contributor

David the Good is a naturalist, part-time scientist, and hardcore gardener who has grown his own food since 1984. At age five, he sprouted a bean in a paper cup of soil and hasn't stopped growing since. You can find more of David's ongoing experiments in the Grow Network Lab and on his own website at www.thesurvivalgardener.com.


5 Comments
  • Tom Mallard

    I found this a good technical overview of what to watch out for and a common setup for the grower; “An Introduction to Actively Aerated Compost Tea Brewers “; ::Paul Taylor and Dr. Elaine Ingham of the Soil Food Web Institute demonstrate different design for actively aerated compost tea brewers and the importance of sufficient oxygen in the brewing process; 9:51; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dEJg0Ob5cg

  • Kate Price

    Hi, It is good to know you are continuing this time honored way of watering with Manure Tea. I am seventy four. My mother, who was the REAL gardener learned how to do this from her mother. We always had a full (wooden) barrel of this tea. Of course we also had a barrel of vinegar brewing too–carefully placed AWAY from the plants tea! Mother had to watch Dad when the Hard Cider stage was reached so she could actually get the vinegar she needed!! Kate

  • Profile photo of James Judd

    What if you only have access to grass clippings, and dead leaves? How often do you apply the “brew”?

  • How often do you fertilize? I’m here in southeast Texas. The temperatures reach 95+ degrees a day and crazy humidity. I’m having some trouble with my garden right now. I planted at the end of February and had crazy good output with the beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers. My peppers and eggplant are doing fabulous still. Then the rain came, lots of it…then the slugs and snails, and squash bugs. I tried organic remedies to rid myself these pests but it didn’t work that well. I used beer for the slugs and snails (that worked) and a garlic/mint/soap combo for the squash bugs. I had big, beautiful squash plants with with only male flowers. I got two small zucchini and that was it.

    Anyway, my tomato, cucumbers, and beans are very sad and I’m trying to save them. I have been fertilizing and they are starting to recover, albeit slowly. The bean plants have lots of flowers but they are not producing beans. It is watered daily at this point (city water mostly. I collect rain water and use that when I can but it hasn’t rained well in 3 weeks)

    My garden is made up of a strawbale garden that was started last fall and did wonderfully with the fall planting. I planted everything into that (except the peppers that were planted into compost).

  • Pam

    I laughed so hard that I disturbed my husband nap time.
    Thanks really enjoyed this video.
    More Please!

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