How to Make Compost Tea

Elfie Taylor, the composting queen, shows how to keep soil rich.

February 4, 2015

Elfie Taylor of Aurora, Ontario describes herself as a "composting queen." Her domain includes the home garden she keeps for "impulse shopping" and her community's garden, where all the surplus produce she and other members don't need goes to the local food banks. Taylor has tried all sorts of composting bins and containers before finally settling on her current approach. At home, she has a large wooden crate with chicken wire stapled on all sides and an open top. At the community plot, she helped build a three-bin composting condo constructed from plans in The Rodale Book of Composting. It produced a hefty load of top-quality compost this past fall.

"At home, I'm always adding kitchen scraps to the pile. I cover each addition of scraps with leaves, straw—anything brown," Taylor explains. In winter, when the scraps freeze rather than decompose, Taylor uses a blender to first turn them into a nutrient-filled soup that she pours right on the pile.


She uses nearly-finished compost to make a plant-nourishing drench that she calls "buckets-o-yuck," which she generously distributes to lucky neighbors and fellow community gardeners.

When her town's garbage truck rolls by, Taylor just waves. "They can't have my veggie scraps," the composting queen proclaims, adding with a regal smile, "I'd rather that big diesel truck didn't stop and accelerate any more than necessary."

Fast food for hungry plants

1. Fill a large bucket with one shovelful of nearly finished compost and water.

2. Stir vigorously once a day for at least three days. The "tea" is ready when it gets frothy on top and the bubbles don't disappear right after stirring.

3. Scoop out a dose of tea using a plastic container with small holes punched in the bottom to sprinkle onto your plants.

Read More:
The Ultimate Compost Bin