Compost coffee (thankfully!) isn’t a drink for YOU to enjoy, but your plants will love it! I’ve been experimenting with various natural “brews” that are nutrient-rich for my vegetable plants. This one is a definite keeper!
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The Compost Coffee Story
For years and years, I bought a box of bright blue colored pellet fertilizer for all my flowers and plants. Once a week, I diluted it in watering cans and went to town on all my flowers. It worked well, and my flowers always looked pretty. But once we moved into our farmhouse fixer upper and started embracing true organic gardening, the blue crystals got kicked to the curb. There was no way I was going to eat, or let my family eat tomatoes, artisan lettuces, or anything else for that matter if it was drenched in that chemical-laden stuff. And that’s how “compost coffee” was born.
How to Make Your Own Compost
There’s this sense that you have to live on a farm to make your own compost, but that’s not true at all! I know LOTS of people who have a tabletop compost bit like this one that they keep on their counter. Every time you chop veggies or peel a banana, the peels and scraps go in the composter, along with egg shells and coffee grounds. You can’t put dairy or meat products in a compost bin without spoiling it, but everything else is fair game.
Once the tabletop bin is full, you can toss it into a large bucket until it decomposes and is ready to go. A good mix of brown ingredients like cardboard, and green ingredients like grass clippings, ensure your compost is good to go quickly. Matt built me a few large compost bins right out by our garden shortly after we moved here. I take a pitchfork and toss what’s in the bins once a week to make sure it aerates, but other than that, I can ignore it and it still generates great compost!
How to Make Compost Coffee
I call this concoction compost coffee in jest. Of course, you are never going to drink this stuff. It’s for your plants, but I came up with the name because a) I like coffee and b) it’s memorable. That’s all there is to it. Here are the great things about compost coffee, while we’re on the subject:
- The recipe is easy to master. The ratios remain the same regardless of the batch size you make!
- If you don’t have your own compost, you can easily make compost coffee for just a few dollars. You just have to commit to doing it!
- It’s 100% natural. You’ll never have to buy it if you commit to making it.
To make compost coffee, you only need a few things:
- A 5-gallon bucket (or smaller, depending on your batch size)
- A long stir stick. I used a paint stick made for a 5-gallon bucket but you don’t need anything fancy. A simple tree branch will do if need be.
- Water. It IS important that you use well water or distilled water to make this “brew.” Regular, filtered drinking water contains chlorine, which is not ideal. We are fortunate to have treated water in our house for drinking and laundry, We recently had to bite a big financial bullet to have it, but nearby construction sort of forced our hand. I will elaborate when it’s fitting!
Steps to Making Compost Coffee
- Fill your 5-gallon bucket one third of the way full with fresh compost. IF you don’t have your own compost, don’t agonize. Your local gardening center should stock compost in bags, or you can buy it here. For small-batch compost coffee, I highly recommend this tabletop composter you can buy from Grove. They’re always running promotions. For example, you can get a starter set of your choosing for FREE here! I’ve been a member for years and I LOVE knowing that all my purchases can be made with a clean conscience!
- Fill the bucket within an inch or two of the top with well or distilled water.
- Using a 5 gallon-sized stir stick, mix the concoction.
- Store in a garage or barn, out of the reach of pets and small children, and stir 2-3 times a day for 5 days.
- After 5 days, strain the compost over a sieve if necessary and pour into watering cans. Water your veggie and/or flowers with the compost mixture, pouring most over the root area, but making sure to splash some on the leaves of your veggies or flowers.
- Toss whatever remains of your compost back into your bins or tabletop composter and make another batch for the future.
Watch the Video!
Your plants will thrive on this 100% natural “brew” every 7-10 days until harvest time. After making this compost coffee continuously, I’m saving lots of money. But best of all, I can rest assured my family can eat whatever I harvest with no fear of chemicals leaching into my food! I hope this tip inspires you to take control of one more thing in your garden that does NOT need chemicals to thrive. Happy gardening!