Is this alfalfa tea right?

gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)June 10, 2004

My alfalfa tea has been sitting for 6 days. FYI, it also has a few cups of corn meal in it. As of today, it looks and smells like vomit. Is that normal?

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Sophie Wheeler

No, that doesn't sound like it smells bad enough. ;~) You're looking for week old vomit from a vegetarian wino who has a dead fish in his pocket.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 1:40AM
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Holly Springs Ha!!! LMAO...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 8:24PM
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This is grossly accurate..... I like mine with a touch of epsom salts added....

    Bookmark   June 20, 2004 at 6:47PM
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Tanski(55407 MN)

I put half a bag of alfalfa, a whole quart container of epson salts in my rain barrel. Waited and week and yesterday I watered all my roses with it. YUck, peeuwwww what a smell! I hope those silly roses really love it cause it was disgusting to dip into that barrel. I do have a struggle with one of my rose bushes. I think its shrips because the buds are black and not right. It could be a fungus too anyway, I am treating it with dishsoap, mixed with fishmeal fertilizer and sulpher, in water of course. Hope it gets better or I might have to resort to something stronger. If you have any hints let me know.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 12:42AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

We used to make what we called "rabbit tea"...rabbit manure in a barrel...alfalfa tea smells worse, but the roses do love it, and I had a chance to get even with my husband for his "stink bait" on the door knob. ;)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 7:55AM
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loree7(z5 OK)

After one makes Alfafa Tea, Can you add more water to the solids, and make more tea, or do you need to throw the solids out and start fresh?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2004 at 7:52PM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

I refill the barrel with water for another round. Usually that is all of that stuff they get per year. Don't think I could stand any more. Had an accident with mine this year...I was hauling a 5 gallon bucket of the "stuff" in a dump trailor behind a garden tractor...well it dumped. Would anyone like to guess that it happened as far from the house as it could? Rats! I thought not. LOL Three heavy rains can still smell it on a damp morning when the sun comes out. Yuck!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 8:37PM
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rini(Rochester, NY)

Gardenfanatic -

You may want to stir it periodically to let it all mix together. But unfortunately that is the smell of it. My roses love it -- I don't think I've ever seen them this healthy. But I have to take a deep breath and hold it when I open the top of the garbage can -- it will knock you out.

If you are going to be moving it around, definitely be careful. And wear clothes that you are not going to wear anywhere else -- there's nothing worse than walking into work and realizing that you dripped some alfalfa tea on my sneakers.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 4:14PM
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When I make up the Witches Brew for the roses, I mix and mix and mix, and let it stand for a few days, mixing each day. It is a goopy sort of sludge, and the whole stuff goes on the roses at the drip line, I don't strain it to have anything for another go round. I use it about every 6 weeks, up until the end of September here, then start again the end of February.

Alfalfa pellets, Medina Plus (the one with kelp), Fish emulsion, sheep manure, epsom salts, Superthrive,.... whatever else is handy that seems reasonable, sometimes bone or blood meal.... see why I call it a witches brew?

I have so many roses and other plants that love this gunk, that I make a mass quantity for them to comsume in a big barrel. I fill it the rest of the way with water, and mix up and wait a few days as I described above. PEEEE--UUUU!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 9:58PM
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I was re-reading this thread, and I forgot to ask, what does the cornmeal provide for the mixture? I have never used that ingredient.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 10:25PM
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Wow, I think you all may have just given me the perfect fix for both my roses AND my nosy neighbor, who is always poking his head onto my patio to see what I am doing. Stinking alfalfa tea...who knew!?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 12:45AM
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Wouldn't it be just easier to put the pellets in the garden and let Ma Nature break it down in the soil? This sounds like just too much work to me!!

Lazy Susan

    Bookmark   February 11, 2005 at 9:32AM
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rosieo(7 NC)

Yep it's a lot of work alright. But I put the rest of a bag of pellets around some plants before the hurricanes last fall. When I took up the mulch today there were large dry patches of the pellets. They apparently rehydrated then hardened into a hard mass and stayed that way. I don't think they ever totally dissolve and they surely don't do it fast. Maybe it's the fermenting process but the roses LOVE the alfalfa tea. They get SOMETHING out of it that's more than just the alfalfa.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 1:49PM
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brskovich(z8 OR)

Alfalfa contains a growth hormone called Triacontanol that is released into
the soil as it decomposes. It's good stuff for plants.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 9:19PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

So is there anything on the market shelves that compares without all the smell? Sounds intriguing but I don't think I have the courage to make this grotesque smelling brew.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 11:21AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

You can just spread alfalfa meal or pellets or cubes on the ground. It will break down and provide the same benefits, just not as quickly as with the "tea".

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 2:09PM
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Quote "No, that doesn't sound like it smells bad enough. ;~) You're looking for week old vomit from a vegetarian wino who has a dead fish in his pocket."


Nothing like being a newbie, poking my head in and finding this! @@

I've already got comments from my three year old, who was complaining about the smell of alfalfa meal in my van "Mommy, the car smells like alfa-falfa!" with his little crinkled up nose...

One question, are you guys brewing this gak in the garage or outside? And how far does the smell travel?

I ask because, as a former nurse, I think that I can stand brewing a vat of rose vomit, but I have one set of neighbors that are very close by and they might not be very understanding. :p

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 10:55AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

The smell doesn't travel much - I make the brew in a 35 gallon trash barrel and keep the lid on. You can't smell it till you get next to the barrel. I wouldn't do it in the garage - what if it accidently got spilled? YUCK!! You would be smelling that for the rest of your life!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 1:51AM
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Thanks...I'm also still laughing over this...

Unfortunately, if I end up doing this, I won't be able to think of it anything other than 'rose vomit'...Somehow, that doesn't seem right!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 12:44PM
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non smelly alfafla tea that worked. Stick the alfalfa cubes you get in the grocery store pet section in water for a day, then pour over the roses. Less stinky and they loved it. But i didn't have the courage to let it ferment. Ok it was a little stinky but not as errr expressive as it was put here. didn't have to hold my nose at all.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 4:53PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

For the person who asked about cornmeal - not certain, but I think it's sugars help to jump start the bacteria feeding and other bioactivity as the stuff brews. It is most likely an alternative to adding molasses.

When I begin regular Compost Tea in my Kitchen Bucket, as a sweetener I like to throw in old brown bananna peels that still have some mushy bannana on it. (I generally have some in the freezer for making banana bread) If they are there, I don't need to add sugar to see that nice froth start to form, it starts to cook pretty quick.

The Kitchen Compost tea only takes a few days, is aerated frequently (I do that by using adding more greywater from up high daily, or occaisionally by stirring, and by using a cup or pitcher to scoop out then pour the brew back in a few times to oxygenate. One uses this while it is still frothy and alive, and you don't let it sit long enuf to get stale or anaerbic - nor as stinky. Have done so accidentally - and WHEW you are right that it's a mistake to splash this yuk on your shoes or jeans. Actually I'm afraind to use it on plants too, as it is so intense. Seems like it would burn averything else, and may be a baaad shock for worms. I'm even nervous about pouring it on I don't want to overdo it.

Do you guys dilute it alot first?

(Thanx for the laff)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 12:19AM
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GreenThumbGA(8b GA)

what about areation in your teas....

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 10:44AM
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what other plants have you found to really respond well to alfalfa tea?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 3:14PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

All of them respond well to alfalfa (I just use the dry meal). I use it on my vegetables and herbs. The growth hormone that it releases is good for all plants.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 10:11AM
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You can use alfalfa pellets directly on the rose beds, but I would caution anyone who uses them this way to use them sparingly.

I used too many one time and the smell was the least of my worries. The pellets get really big if you add a lot of water. In my zeal I added a two inch layer of alfalfa pellets to my rose beds the night before we got a slow gentle 6 hour rain.

And next morning I couldn't see some of my roses! They were gone! Nothing there but a brown hill. They were completely hidden by the expanded pellets. Just little green branches sticking out the top of the brown mounds. It was so sad!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 8:00PM
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Yep! Stinky is good! I also add a shovelfull of compost to the mixture. (along with epsom salts - but only 2x a season) Mix every few days. The triacontanol is the alcohol produced by fermentation that promotes the basal breaks in roses.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 3:32PM
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the real way to tell if the tea is ready for the plants is to drink a big glass of the tea. I like is as iced tea. if you are still alive then you can use it for the plants. but if you are dead then you get a free pass into garden heaven.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 7:04PM
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cormac(z5 IN)

wow i guess i will have to try this :) -- anything for my roses :D

ok let me get the recipe pared down here :)

one bag of alfalfa pellets -- what size bag? is there any particular type i should look for? ingredients i should look for or avoid?

water -- i read 'rain barrel' and think 50 gallon drum or so ... about right? i have a 30 gal garbage can i use out in the shed ... how much alfalfa seed to what amount of water?

corn meal -- just regular old corn meal? how much to what amount of water?

Do i need to be this anal about amounts? lol (sorry -- i'm just that way lol)

do you cover this concoction with a lid? you stir every day for 4 days and then you can use it right? and then you can refill and use those leftover sediments again right? one gallon for rose? one gallon for other large plants like tomatos, etc?

sorry for all the questions ... just trying to get it right

oh wait ... one more question ... anyone ever have any trouble with dogs being attracted to this? (god knows my young one loves to roll in some god awful smelling stuff)

oh and GardeniaRose -- i have one of those neighbors too ... altho a lot more than nosey -- i've started a rose 'fence' behind their house so those roses will get the first dose of this tonic lol :D

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:55PM
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pacnwgrdngirl(z8 WA)

I have rabbits, so I have an actual bale of compressed alfalfa, should I use this as well as their droppings? Maybe add some worm castings, I have a box of bat guano, what else should be used, I really want to try this. You guys don't aerate? I even have Alaska fish emulsion. (Boy, my husband is really gonna wonder about me after he sees & smells this concoction!!!)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 12:14PM
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kernel_z9b(Sunset 17)

I finally got around to making it. Can't believe how much bigger my tomatos are using it!

As to smell. Think of it as unprocessed horse manure! Now you know why it works so well.

Da Kernel

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 4:32PM
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I am using this from 1985.Sure it stinks. Need to take a shower if one ever gets its on clothing. Or on the body
It works on all plants including bulbs. The sediment is used in compost making, lasagna gardening, or mixed with straw and used as mulch. I add a teaspoon of brown sugar, a handful of Soya bean meal or corn meal.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 1:40AM
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The only alfalfa products I have been able to find where I live are either seeds or the sprouts at the supermarket. Can I use either of these in this magic tea or in any other way for the roses?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 3:53PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

No, unfortunately that won't work. Other names for it are Lucerne, Purple Medic and Trefoil. It is used for horse and rabbit feed here, I don't know if that helps Joanna.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 4:56PM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

Great reading on this horrible tea. I got a huge bag of alfalfa pellets at a feed store out west of town. It only cost about $10. I need to make up another batch of this stinky brew and feed everything. I once put some on roses in my main garden and I overheard the neighbor say next door, (privacy fencing so we didn't see each other and he didn't know I was there) What is that awful smell? ;-)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 2:11PM
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just use plain alfalfa pellets ask to be sure they dont have added salt or sugar. Also ask if they have damaged or wet bags because they cant sell these as feed and might be discounted. Just make sure you tell them its for plant food or they will think you are trying to poison your horse!
If you are using a thirty gal can use 10 big handfulls of pellets.
add 1/2 cup epsome salts only twice a year.
couple tbls molasses or other unrefined sugar (handfull of cornmeal might work, I hear it is a natural fungicide though so I could change something)
add anything that you have or that sounds good
fish or kelp fertilizer
well composted manure or compost etc.

stir as often as possible
I am going to add a fish tank air pump with a bubble stone I have read in the compost tea section that it will bring a whole new dimension of microorganism activity to the tea.

Keep covered tightly, tea is ready when it is foamy on top
and can also be used as a foliar fertilizer spray that combats diseases and pests.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 5:21PM
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hi..this sounds fun to me! what is the ammonia someone mentioned? Like regular old ammonia cleaner?

Do you guys remember the guy on TV..he was a infommerical. He spoke about organic..anyway I remember he said beer was great for putting good things into the earth..What do you think about beer?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:59AM
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No was sulfur that was mentioned..what is that and where do I get it?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 12:01PM
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gigim(8A SC)

On my second batch of tea (added more water to sludge left over from first batch). Got busy and forgot to stir for a few days - now I have mold on top.

Is that ok or should i dump it out and start again? Of course where in the world I would dump out that much stinky tea I have no idea!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:51PM
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