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COMPOST TEA: SNAKE OIL OR PLANT ELIXIR?

Is the Jury Still Out on Compost Tea?

    In gardening, as in life, you can’t help but want to love some things, compost tea being one of them. After all, compost is good, tea is soothing, so what’s not to love about compost tea?    Perhaps it depends on how you brew your tea. Traditional compost tea was and is made by hanging a burlap bag of compost in water, then diluting and drenching the ground or the potting mix of a potted plant with the nutritious, coffee-brown liquid.    More recently, “aerated compost tea” (ACT) has soothed gardeners from coast to coast, the result mostly of the promotional efforts of soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham. This tea is brewed similarly to the traditional tea, except that extra foods, such as molasses (honey would seem more in keeping with the tea theme), brewers yeast, and bran, are also added, and — most …

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