Monday, February 9, 2009

Cup O' Tea?

No, this is not about the tea you brew on a chill morning to sip as you watch the sunrise. (I, personally, favor chai tea for that!)
This little blog is about MANURE tea.
Yes, tea made from horse, cow, goat or chicken manure.
( a whole new meaning to "one lump or two" doesn't it?)

Manure tea is one of the best things you can put on your garden.
Unlike *straight* manure, you can better control the amount of nitrogen and other beneficial minerals, organics and other goodies come in contact with your plants.

If you mix chicken manure into your garden, you may *burn* the roots of your plants, causing them to die or become stunted.
But, dump a shovel full into a 5 gallon bucket, fill that bucket with water and let it *steep* for a day or three, strain it and then you can put one cup of the *tea* per gallon of water. A *gentle* boost to your plants productivity and growth.

I prefer to use horse manure, sometimes mixed with a bit of chicken manure. The problem I have found with cow manure is many weed seeds pass unscathed through the bovine digestive tract and if you use *straight* cow manure, you will be mixing weeds into your garden soil! That will cause you problems and extra work later.

My method is this, regardless of whatever kind of manure I use:
Equipment Needed:
2- 5 gallon buckets
1 square of window screen big enough to cover top of 5 gallon bucket
Manure of choice

I put one shovel full (about 1 gallon) of manure in a bucket, fill to within an inch of the top with water. I give it a good mix or two (if you are squeamish, use a small long handle garden spade or fork, if not squeamish, use your hand and wash up well after wards), breaking up the manure as much as I can. The next day, I mix it again. Then I let it *steep* for another day.
On the third day, I put the window screening over the 2nd (empty) bucket and pour my *tea* into the 2nd bucket, straining out the solids.
The full strength tea is too strong for young seedlings, so you have to water it down. I suggest 1 cup *tea* to 1 gallon of water initially.
As your seedlings grow, increase the strength until you get to 50/50 strength.

Do NOT toss out the solids that you strained out! Use them one more time to make manure tea. After that, put them in your compost heap.

If you despair over finding manure for your garden, have no fear. Even if there is no farm nearby, there is still hope! Call your local garden Lowes, Home Depot. Wal-Mart (I hate that store), or your local garden nursery. Most carry cow manure in 25 or 50 pound bags. Just make your tea from that! If you just mix the manure into your soil, it is very expensive buying it from a garden center. But making manure *tea* is a frugal way to stretch the goodness of that manure for your garden.

Now, while you watch your garden grow, sip some chai tea and day dream about those lovely veggies...
Chai Tea Bulk Recipe:

* 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
* 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
* 1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
* 2 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


1. In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.
2. To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons Chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water.


You may choose to omit the French vanilla creamer, and use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract instead. To do so, mix the vanilla into the sugar, let it dry, then break the sugar into small lumps. Follow the same procedure as above.

I got this recipe from

I have a much more complicated recipe for the mix I use...but I'll post that another bulk mix is more *from scratch* and doesn't use any white sugar for sweetening. I use honey.

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