Common Compost Tea Ingredients

The Basic Ingredients of Compost Tea

  1. Quality Compost (homemade or store-bought; bacterial, fungal or balanced), Bat Guano (bacterial, fungal or balanced) and/or Worm Castings (typically bacterial)
  2. Unchlorinated Water (if your water is chlorinated, fill your brewing container with water and allow to sit for 24 hours to let the chlorine burn-off or aerate the water for 20-30 minutes)
  3. Additives to enrich microbial growth

Common Compost Tea Additives

Ingredient Feeds
Cane Sugar Bacteria
White Sugar Bacteria
Maple Syrup Bacteria
Corn Syrup Bacteria
Fish Emulsion Bacteria
Yeast Extract Bacteria
Bone Meal Bacteria
Raw Milk or Nonfat Dried Milk Bacteria
Organic Unsulfured Molasses Bacteria/Fungi
Sea Kelp Bacteria/Fungi
Fruit Pulp Bacteria/Fungi
Humic Acids Bacteria/Fungi
Rock Dusts Bacteria/Fungi
Fish Hydrolysate Fungi
Ground Oatmeal Fungi
Oat Bran Fungi
Yucca Fungi
Lignin Fungi
Cellulose Fungi
Soybean Meal Fungi

Note: A wide variety of compost teas can be made using the above ingredients. For example, to make a bacterial-dominated compost tea, start with a high-quality bacterial (high nitrogen) compost and unchlorinated water and add any number of additives that feed bacteria. Conversely, to make fungal-dominated compost tea, use fungal (high carbon) compost and unchlorinated water and include additives that feed fungi.  And finally, to make a balanced compost tea, use balanced compost and unchlorinated water and include additives to feed both bacteria and fungi.

Importance of Plant and Soil Type

When applying compost tea to your plants and soil it may be useful to follow this VERY SIMPLE guide:

  • Annuals, perennials, grasses and vegetables prefer bacterial-dominated soil and should therefore receive compost tea applications that range from highly bacterial to balanced.
  • Berries prefer balanced soil and should receive compost tea applications that are bacteria-fungi balanced.
  • Trees prefer fungal-dominated soil, so they should receive compost tea applications that range from highly fungal to balanced.