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Manure tea is a specific type of compost tea, and although not as common as dried manure, it is widely used in home and commercial agriculture. It is easy to prepare, easy to use, and easy for plants to absorb. Many people find manure tea to be one of the most effective and beneficial liquid fertilizers, and it is made from common ingredients that are freely available in many areas.
To make manure tea, you will first want to start with well-cured animal manure. Human manure should absolutely not be used on any edible gardening, and in some areas it is illegal to use it even on ornamental gardens. If human manure is to be used, it first needs to be treated to ensure all parasites and diseases have been killed, otherwise it can act as an avenue that can contaminate an entire garden and lead to serious illness. The same considerations should be looked at when dealing with manure from pigs, dogs, cats, or most other omnivores.
It is important to cure your manure so that it is no longer generating heat, which can actually burn a plant’s roots. To cure it, just dump the manure on to a big tarp, fold it up around the edges, and cover it with another tarp. Weigh that tarp down, and cut a few small vents in the top so that the heat doesn’t build up gasses. Then let it cure out in the sun for four to six months, and when you remove the top tarp you should have an odorless form of inert, but mineral and nutrient rich, manure.
Once you have your cured manure, making your manure tea is a snap. Just take a large bucket or bin, and fill it about a third of the way with manure. Then fill the rest of the container with water. Let it sit for three days or more, until the water has taken on the rich colors of the manure. This is known as steeping your manure tea, just like you would steep your drinking tea. Then strain out the solids by pouring the manure tea through some sort of fabric, like cheesecloth, which should leave you with a pure, deeply-colored tea.
Straight manure tea is stronger than you need for most purposes, so dilute the mixture down with extra water, until what you have is roughly the color of a weak tea. What you’re left with is manure tea, which can be used for all sorts of applications. Many people dip their plants’ roots in manure tea before transplanting it, others water freshly tilled soil with manure tea before planting, and still others spray the foliage of their plants with the tea.
Manure tea is an easy way to get densely-packed nutrients and minerals into your plants when they most need it, in a way that is incredibly easy for the plant to absorb. Many people look at manure tea as a sort of power-shake for your plants, helping them through hard times like transplanting or growing seasons. Different plants respond better to different treatments and dosages, so it is best to consult a chart or book to find out how best to use manure tea in your garden.