Herbal Tea Fertilizer

scardanelliJanuary 6, 2010

I've been reading a lot about comfrey tea used as a fertilizer and planted a patch last fall to use this spring. Does anyone know of any other herbs or plants that I could grow to round out the nutrient value of the comfrey?

I know that comfrey is high in potassium, so i'm looking for another plant that I could use as a nitrogen source. I've heard that borage is high in N. Are there any others?

My plan was to brew the comfrey with another plant in a bucket with water for a good all around fertilizer. I also figured that I could brew them separately and use the comfrey tea on fruiting and flowering plants and the other plant (borage?) tea on more nitrogen hungry plants. Does this sound like a good idea?

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You can brew everything. Not wrong with that.
When you are brewing (everything) take into account money you spend for gas. If it is cheap, not a problem.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 4:35PM
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I don't understand...why gas?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:03AM
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Perhaps you will find the following link useful:

Alfalfa is high in N. I would guess that a "tea" of the plant would liquify the nutrient for quick release to plant roots.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Scardanelli -- while scouting around, I found this site, which tells how to make alfalfa "tea" from rabbit food pellets.
""Add a small coffee can of rabbit pellets (alfalfa) to a 5-gallon plastic bucket and then fill with water and 1 tablespoon of molasses. Molasses speeds up microbial growth. Pour the mixture back and forth to a second empty 5-gallon bucket several times (a process called boxing). Let it age three days, boxing it back and forth at least once a day. What do you get? Alfalfa tea for plants. Water your new plantings with it and youÂll have the earthworms doing circus tricks in your soil.""


Re: the question about use of gas to make "tea" -- I think that is confusion between tea brewed in kitchen for human consumption and "tea" manufactured thru method described above for use on plants. Truth to tell, the use of the word 'tea' to describe something made from fertilizer, sort of grosses me out .... wish we had a different popular term for this process to create a liquid fertilizer. [but you know what they say about wishes and horses... :) ]

Here is a link that might be useful: Plants need tea, too

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:23PM
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Oh, I see. Like driving to the store to buy tea instead of brewing it from homegrown herbs?

Anyway, thanks for the link, that helps out a lot. I'm trying to make the garden as self sufficient as possible, using materials on hand for whatever the garden needs. That's how I came to the idea of growing my own fertilizer. I understand the importance of building the soil for long term fertility. I've added lots of organic matter including fall leaves and composted horse manure. But in the short term, until the soil builds up it's reserve, it seems like a good idea to have a supply of specific nutrients.

About alfalfa: I considered growing alfalfa for this application, but it was my understanding that the nitrogen in legumes was stored below ground in the roots...is that right? I suppose that if they make alfalfa pellets out of the above ground plants and those pellets are high in nitrogen, the above ground alfalfa plant must be high in nitrogen as well. Is this the same for all legumes, or just alfalfa?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 2:23PM
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Re: alfalfa .... I think that nitrogen must also be stored in the plant itself ... because when used as a cover crop, it is also till-under or used as mulch [slow release] PLUS alfalfa is used as animal feed ... rabbits in particular have a high metabolism and need lots of nitrogen ... and of course horses and cattle are often given alfalfa as a high-end feed. PLUS that online article about making liquid fertilizer specifically used alfalfa rabbit feed as the "motor" for a nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer. So that leads me to think that alfalfa plants are likewise a good candidate for "home brew" liquid fertilizer. BTW - when I was a kid, we used to eat the rabbit food pellets .... but then kids will eat anything!

Ooops ... just noticed that I repeated what you had already said about nutritive value of above-ground plant. Oh well.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 3:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Organic fertilizer consists of protein. There is absolutely no substitute for putting pounds and pounds of protein on the soil. There is no tea I'm aware of that will provide more than a few ounces of micro-nutrients (not protein).

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:37PM
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Hey dchall, I see you're in San Antonio. I'm a 5th generation San Antonian, but I recently moved north a bit to Oklahoma City. I miss San Antonio and the hill country every day...rolling hills, live oak, mountain laurel...it's too bad it's being eaten alive by developers. Where in town do you live?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:42AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I live about 4 blocks south of the Quarry Mall between Broadway and 281.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Great! I used to live just south of Trinity...midtown as it was called then. That's my favorite part of town.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:38AM
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I've always heard that stinging nettle is loaded with all kinds of micronutrients and was a healthy tea for drinking, but I never thought of teas being used as fertilizer.

When DCHall talks about protien, I wonder if the leftover plants themselve would serve as a good mulch adding protien to the soil after the nutrients had been extracted as much as possible?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 4:46AM
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