Raising eco-consciousness one week at a time

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eco-Cycle’s Microbe Brew “Compost Tea” Makes Gardens Happy

So far this spring, we’ve been Buzzing about the wonders of compost: Why compost is so good for the earth, how composting reduces your climate change impact, how to make your own nutritious compost with the help of worms, even if you don’t have a backyard, and how to best maintain your backyard compost pile in a dry climate.

This week, let’s talk about how Eco-Cycle’s homemade Microbe Brew can help make your plants, garden and lawn happy in the dry spring and summer heat. Our Microbe Brew “compost tea” is made from worm castings (aka worm poop) and is full of living microbes that instantly go to work balancing your soil and feeding your plants by releasing the minerals and nutrients already present in your soil.

What does Microbe Brew do?

Microbe Brew basil plant trial
With depleted soils, dry heat, little rainwater, pests and weeds, Colorado’s spring and summer climate doesn’t exactly create ideal garden conditions. But Eco-Cycle’s Microbe Brew tackles all of the above. It has been proven to retain moisture in your soil, save water and yield more plentiful and more pest-resistant plants.

Unlike conventional plant foods you’ll find at the store, which act as an “IV” to transfer artificial nutrients directly to your plants, Microbe Brew infuses your soil with millions of live microbes, giving your plants an ideal habitat.

Learn more about the benefits of the Brew here.

How is Microbe Brew made?

Microbe Brew tomato plant trial
The Brew is a great example of how food scraps that often end up in the trash can become a vital natural resource for improving local soils.

To make Microbe Brew, we start with vermicomposting, or composting with red worms (Eisenia fetida). As organic material passes through the gut of the worm, it is converted to castings—stable little balls of nutrients readily available for uptake by plant roots. The castings are then brewed in highly oxygenated water under conditions that are optimal for the beneficial micro-organisms present in the castings to reproduce rapidly. When finished, Microbe Brew tea is a liquid teeming with living microbes and beneficial plant-growth compounds.

Learn more about how we make the brew here.

How do you use Microbe Brew?

The Brew is easy to use and requires no prep work: Just sprinkle some on your lawn, garden beds and potted plants with a standard watering can. Then, thoroughly moisten the soil with water. Be sure to use the Brew within 24 hours of purchase because the brew is alive! One gallon of Microbe Brew covers 200-400 square feet; five gallons cover an average city lot.

Check out the applications for specific plant types and other tips on our website.

Where you can purchase Microbe Brew

April 2 - July 16: Saturdays only, at the Boulder Farmers’ Market, from 8 am – 2 pm
April 6 - August 17: Wednesdays only, at the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM), from 9 am – 4 pm

Because the Microbe Brew is alive, it is very important to plan to use it on the day of purchase. This also limits our ability to sell the tea on other days, so pick up your fresh batch on Wednesdays or Saturdays!

Prices and a special Buzz discount!

Mention that you heard about Microbe Brew on the Eco-Buzz and we’ll give you $2 off a 1-gallon container or $5 off a 5-gallon container! This discount only applies on May 7, 2011 at the Boulder Farmers’ Market and May 11, 2011 at the CHaRM.

  • 1 gallon: $6  (covers all planted areas of a typical city lot)
  • 5 gallons: $25  (covers all planted areas of a typical city lot)

    (plus $.50 refundable container deposit; $5 for 5 gal. container)

Are you a fan of Microbe Brew? Have you tried it before? We want to hear your Microbe Brew story! Let us know below how it’s helped your plants or garden grow.