The beginner cannabis grower may be confused and even slightly intimidated by exactly what products they should purchase and employ during different stages of the grow cycle. The current market is absolutely loaded with different products, chemicals, uppers, and downers. It almost seems like it’s impossible to manifest a successful harvest without a different potion for every day of the week.

Well, this isn’t exactly the case. Cannabis plants do require a revolving supply of nutrients to ensure proper growth, but not all of these need to come out of the end of a costly bottle. Those growing upon acres of land or in their empty closet can all make their own fertiliser at home for a small cost.

Compost tea is a form of brewed compost that can provide your cannabis plants with plenty of high-quality nutrients, contributing to plant health, vigour, and even defence against pathogens. Despite its many beneficial effects, compost tea isn’t hard to make and requires minimal cost and effort. The main requirement for the tea is simply a bit of patience.


If you don’t already have a compost bin, now would be a perfect time to start creating your own abundant supply of plant nutrients! And don’t worry if you think this might take some time, you can always source some compost tea from a neighbour or garden centre whilst waiting for your own supply to be ready for some plant-nourishing action.

The main component of compost tea is some quality and highly refined compost. Compost is made up of mainly waste products that would otherwise end up straight in the trash, which makes such an operation very financially friendly. Anything from food scraps, garden prunings, egg shells, tea bags, and grass trimmings can be used.

Compost bins can be made of a variety of materials, with non-treated wood probably being the most environmentally friendly. Bins should be placed in an area where temperature and moisture don’t fluctuate to extremes, as this will affect the microorganisms that help to break down organic matter into quality compost. Placing the bin upon earth as opposed to concrete will help the compost drain its liquid.


Although many materials can be added to compost, it’s important to strike a balance between the types of materials used. A mixture of green and brown material is optimal for the hard-working microorganisms within the compost bin to thrive. Aiming for around 25–50% of green material such as weeds, clippings, and vegetable waste is ideal. The remainder should be made up of brown material such as wood chips, straw, and dead leaves.

Once you’ve started adding material to your compost bin, you will need to start routinely turning the heap that develops inside. This will help to aerate the materials, allowing them to break down at a faster rate.

Composting isn’t a quick process, and can take between 6 months to 2 years to breakdown into a fine and ready-to-use soil. Of course, you can source compost elsewhere for use in the meantime.


Now that you know how to make your own supply of compost for teas in the future, it’s time to start brewing. Compost tea is just as it sounds. Like in the creation of a herbal drink, compost tea involves steeping and brewing the desired material inside water. Simple really.

However, just before we delve into the recipe, let’s learn what makes this process so worthwhile. What benefits does compost tea really provide?


Compost tea can assist the cannabis grower and their plants in numerous ways. One of its main benefits, and perhaps the most important to many growers out there, is that it helps to boost plant growth—a very important factor for those cultivators looking for large and resinous buds when harvest time swings around.

The sheer volume of nutrients within compost tea massively assists in the health of plants, ensuring proper and robust development. Such a potent dose of nutrients will help prevent deficiencies from setting in, which can ultimately reduce yields and obstruct proper growth and size.



As well as introducing nutrients into the soil, compost tea will also bring beneficial microorganisms onto the scene, which include lifeforms such as mycorrhizal fungi and predatory nematodes.

Mycorrhizal fungi can help boost the root network of cannabis plants, allowing them to extract nutrients from further afield, boosting their uptake. These fungi can also help to defend roots against microbial parasites. Predatory nematodes also act as a natural defence, feeding upon microbes that have an appetite for cannabis roots.

Compost tea will also introduce predatory nematodes into the rhizosphere of your herbal garden. These tiny, worm-like creatures help to protect plants against a variety of other microorganisms, including others types of nematodes.

When compost tea is applied as a foliar spray, the nematodes within can even attack and defend against insect pests on leaves and stems, such as leaf miners.


Using compost tea may remove the need for you to apply chemicals to your garden that are toxic to you and the environment. Compost tea is a nutritious elixir, removing the need for synthetic fertilisers that sometimes burn roots.


The following compost tea recipe was devised by soil microbiologist and researcher Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc.


First of all, measure up 95 litres (25 gallons) of water into a container. If your water supply is chlorinated, then aerate your water to remove this chemical. Add 2 teaspoons of humic acid solution directly into the water. Humic acid can be purchased or extracted from your own supply of compost.


Next up, scoop 1–2 tablespoons of humic acid and dilute it in 2 cups of water before adding it into the compost tea. As an alternative, use 1–2 tablespoons of fish hydrolysate. This should also be prediluted if the product states that it contains acid preservatives, in order to neutralise them.



Now go ahead and mix ½ cup of kelp into 5 cups of water. Once adequately mixed, add this into the compost tea for a highly nutritious punch.


Now it's time to add in the compost. Before doing so, conduct a final check to really make sure your supply has broken down correctly and is looking healthy and biodiverse. It should be aerobic, and therefore, should smell nice and rich, like soil from a forest. This should serve as a vessel of beneficial bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. 2.3kg (5lbs) of compost should be added.

To make sure these beneficial bacteria are inside and ready to be applied to your plants, a microscope can be used. If you own one or have access to one, asses the compost using a 1:5 dilution of compost and 400X magnification. You should be able to detect thousands of bacteria in each field view, 1 stand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view, and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.

If fungi are lacking in your compost, you can add foods to enhance their growth such as 1 cup of steel cut oats, bran flour, or shrimp shells. If plants need a nitrogen boost, growers should replace humic acid with the same amount of fish hydrolysate.


Much like compost tea, sprouted seed tea (SST) is a nutrient-dense, low-cost cannabis fertiliser. SST is a preparation popular among organic growers for its simplicity and effectiveness, utilising fast-growing plants such as rye, barley, or corn.

Once sprouted, these seeds contain a wealth of nutrients that stimulate root growth and fulfil key physiological functions. These include a battery of proteins, amino acids, and enzymes. Sprouted seeds also contain gibberellic acids—growth hormones involved in the growth of shoots, leaves, and flowers. SST serves as both a root drench and a foliar spray.


It’s not hard to see why so many growers are turning to this cheap and natural method of fertilisation. All it takes is a bag of seeds, a bit of water, and time. Learn how to make your own supply of SST below.



• 56 grams barley seed
• Clean water
• Large bowl
• Jar
• Sieve
• Blender
• Bucket



Place your barley seeds in a large bowl and cover in water. Let them soak for eight hours.


Most of the seeds will be floating on the surface. Give them a gentle tap and watch them sink to the bottom. You’ll notice a layer of debris floating on top. Remove it by skimming it off or pouring it into the sink.


Strain your clean seeds from your water using a sieve, and transfer them into the jar for sprouting. Allow them to sprout for a total of three days, rinsing them each morning and evening. Within 24 hours, you’ll notice small white tendrils emerging from the seeds. This is where all that valuable nutrition resides. By day three, these structures will be significantly longer.


Place your sprouted seeds into a blender and fill halfway with water. Blend them for around 20 seconds to create a soapy white mixture.


Fill a bucket with 5 gallons (19l) of clean water. Strain the mixture through a sieve and into the bucket. Mix the solution well.


Apply the SST as a foliar spray or directly into the soil. Happy growing!

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