I consider today the sweetest day of the season, I cut the very first zinnias of 2013 just now on my evening walk. The first to bloom this year is my personal favorite, the mini Oklahoma Zinnia. These petite beauties are what you will find on my kitchen table all season in my grandma’s little white McCoy pitcher. It looks like the Benary’s Giant Zinnias will be joining the ranks of blooming perhaps next week. Also in my little mix is a mini sunflower.
I’m actually pretty surprised to get a few blossoms while still in May, granted it is the 31st— but considering that this garden of heat lovers was planted in mid-April and suffered through several very cold nights, I am pleased. I think the boost I gave them several weeks ago with a spray bath of compost tea helped them to overcome their early sufferings.
Compost tea is easy to make and apply.
You will need:
- A five-gallon bucket
- Good quality compost (we purchase a bag when needed)
- Old pair of pantyhoses
- Fish tank pump and bubbler
Fill one leg of the pantyhoses with compost, fill the bucket with water, place the filled pantyhose in the bucket of water (like a teabag in a cup), drop the bubbler into the bucket, I rubber band a little plastic bag of gravel to the bubbler to keep it on the bottom. Allow it to steep out of direct sunlight for 36 to 48 hours. Once you unplug the bubbler you have 6 hours to apply the tea before the living microorganisms begin to die. Use a pump sprayer to apply the tea, covering as much of the plant as possible, the bottom and top of the leaves. Remove all screens in the sprayer before spraying—they will shred the microorganisms.
Our experience has been that our plants become super plants when they get a compost tea shower, especially during the establishment and growing-up stage. Remember that compost should not have an odor nor should compost tea. Compost tea can be applied weekly.
It is easy and powerful to make tea—try it!
Summer is coming!!
Founder of The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online and the publisher of Farmer-Florist School Online and Florist School Online. Award-winning Author of Vegetables Love Flowers and Cool Flowers. Watch Lisa’s Story and view her blog Field & Garden. Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Instagram!