Fertilizing with manure is no new concept. Animal dung has been put to use by farmers and homesteaders in their fields and gardens for centuries, providing the organic materials that build soil structure, thereby helping it to hold more nutrients and water and thus become more fertile. Thankfully for those of us without a herd of cattle in our backyards, there’s manure tea. An ideal way to give your indoor and outdoor plants a boost without resorting to harmful chemical fertilizers, these teas are made from all-natural animal leavings. Harvested from cows and horses that graze freely on permanent, native grass pastures, the manure is dried and aged so that it has little to no odor and carries only a vaguely earthy smell. It’s then packaged into 100% cotton baggies. No chemicals or synthetic additives are used at any point in this process. Simply put, it doesn’t get much more natural than manure tea. If manure isn’t your cup of tea, why not try alfalfa? Often used as a feed crop, it’s a natural, non-burning source of nitrogen that benefits roses in particular. This tea is made from dried alfalfa leaves that are absolutely free of any pesticides or herbicides. Applied to your bushes, this nutrient-rich liquid promotes a strong root system, boosts bloom production, and helps prevent black spot and mildew.
To brew these natural fertilizers, simply place a bag of the variety of your choosing in a five gallon container of tap water. Allow the tea to steep for one to three days (placing the container in the sun will help speed the brewing process, but is not necessary). Once the water is a deep golden brown color, it's ready for use. This liquid can be used in a misting bottle, watering can, or hose-end sprayer to fertilize all types of plants, and can also be poured onto your compost pile to add nitrogen and help accelerate the decomposition process. Unlike fresh manure, these aged manure teas will never burn delicate leaves. Unused tea can be stored for a day or two longer in any container that has a lid. The quicker you use the tea, however, the more your greenery will benefit. Note: the Alfalfa Tea is specifically designed for use on roses, and will help your bushes develop a strong root system, in turn producing more growth and brighter, fuller blooms. Brew and store the same way as you would the manure teas.
Some people will tell you that there are cattle people and there are farm people, but never both. Annie Haven, owner of the ranch that produces these teas, is an example of this rarest of hybrids. Her family has had a hand in everything from seed production to farming roses and longhorn cattle in the rolling hills of South County, CA for generations. Since 1924, the Havens have only raised natural, grass-fed livestock, grazed on permanent, native grass pastures which are free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides. The manure used in these teas is harvested solely from the bi-products of these happy, healthy cows and horses. Once the manure is collected, it is composted in the sun over the course of several months. This material is then packaged in an all-natural cotton tea bag that makes brewing the manure tea a quick, easy, and virtually odorless experience.
All-natural soil conditioning teas made from manure and alfalfa to help your garden and houseplants grow a strong, healthy root base. Packaged in compostable cotton tea bags. Available in Alfalfa, Cow and Horse varieties. Made in California. (more info)
- Each bag is approximately 4 inches (10 cm) long and 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) wide
- Each package contains three individual tea bags
- All-natural cow or horse manure
- All-natural alfalfa
- 100% cotton bags
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