What is compost tea?
Compost tea is a brewed beverage for your vegetable plants that serves as an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is made by brewing compost, sugars, and other micro-amendments like one would brew a cup of tea, in order to encourage a solution teeming with microbial life that provides the necessary link between the nutrients in your soil and the roots of your plants.
What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic compost tea?
The microbial life required to sustain and enhance the living soil web requires oxygen to thrive. For this reason, our brewing process vigorously aerates the steeping tea solution so that microbial growth is encouraged. This also means that our compost tea is a fresh product, which should be applied to your vegetable plants as soon as possible in order to receive the maximum benefits.
What are the benefits of using compost tea?
Compost tea offers a diversity of benefits, including: supporting the microbial life necessary for a healthy living soil web; adding to the nutrients that will be taken in by the plant root system; aerating the soil immediately around the root system; boosting defenses against soil pathogens; suppressing airborne predatory insects (when used as a foliar spray); and reducing the harmful usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Is compost tea organic?
Yes. It is an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides that damage the living soil web and the relationship with the local ecology.
Where do you source your compost?
Some of our compost we produce ourselves; the rest is complemented by farmers within the region who specialize in producing plant-based organic compost products. We do not use free municipal compost or big box retail commercial compost, as it often contains bits of plastic or other unwanted pathogens.
How do I apply the compost tea?
Important: You must dilute the compost tea you receive! The ratio is 15:1 water to tea, which is approximately equivalent to pouring your mason jar of tea in a five gallon bucket and filling the rest with water before using the mix to water your plants. Alternatively, you might spray a more concentrated amount (10:1) on the leaves of your plants using a hand-held spray bottle or backpack sprayer (aka. a ‘foliar application’): this will help naturally discourage pests from eating the leaves of your vegetables.
What ratio do I need to dilute the compost tea before applying?
15:1, water-to-tea. Do not apply the tea directly to the plant! As with chemical-based fertilizer products that must be diluted before application, compost tea must also be diluted. Failure to do so could burn your plants or have other negative consequences. As always, pay close attention to the leaves of your vegetable plants and listen to what they are saying.
Will it smell?
No! Well-aged compost, and the compost tea we produce with it, should have a pleasant, earthy aroma. In fact, we encourage you to inhale deeply from your brew each week to attune to this earthy aroma and imagine the benefits your garden will receive. If the smell is ‘off’, then you may not have applied the tea quickly enough after delivery—please contact us for further information.
Does compost tea attract rodents?
No! Rodents are attracted to other types of food products and odors. Well-aged compost will not attract rodents.
Can I use compost tea as a foliar spray?
Yes! Simply dilute your tea using a 10:1 ratio and apply using a backpack sprayer or handheld spray bottle that has not contained chemicals before. Spray directly on the leaves to boost your plant’s natural resistances against predatory insects.
What does a Crooked Farmz subscription entail?
A Crooked Farmz Summer 2019 compost tea and creative community subscription includes 4 deliveries of compost tea over 16 weeks, 4 issues of our special literary eco-zine, invitations to monthly ‘creative art challenges’, and participation in the Crooked Farmz social community network of skill-sharing, information, and care.
What are my responsibilities as a subscriber?
The Crooked Farmz model of providing freshly-brewed aerobic compost teas for your home vegetable garden with the lowest possible carbon footprint only works if all of us are partners in the logistics of tea delivery. What this means in practice is that you must have the previous week’s mason jars rinsed and outside for pickup on the morning of your delivery (Tuesday or Thursday) so that the switch can be made and the whole process continues to run smoothly.
What happens if I am away on vacation?
There is a 3-4 week window in which you can redeem that session’s tea for delivery. If you will be away for longer than a month, please send a message and we can either skip your delivery or gift it to your next-door neighbour.
Can I purchase a subscription as a gift for someone else?
Absolutely, yes! Please check the ‘Gift?’ checkbox at the checkout when making your order, and we will send you a gift certificate by email made out in the subscriber’s name.
How do you deliver the compost teas?
We will contact you to choose a delivery window for each session’s tea. We will then optimize our delivery schedules based on these requests, which allows us to maintain the lowest possible carbon footprint and create a sustainable business suitable for the scale of our community.
When will I receive my weekly delivery?
You will either receive your delivery on a Tuesday or Thursday, depending on which week in the month-long window you choose, where the other subscribers live in East York and what ultimately is the most efficient way to deliver freshly-brewed aerobic compost tea to your doorstep.
Do I have to be home to receive my delivery?
No you do not. Before the season begins you will provide a safe and convenient spot where we can drop off the current week’s compost tea, and pick up last week’s rinsed mason jars (ie. front doorstep, backyard, porch, etc.). This will be the same spot each week.
Do I need to apply the compost tea right away?
Because this is a freshly-brewed aerobic compost tea, it is at its most biodynamically active as soon as it is bottled. You will receive maximum benefits if you use it to water your garden on the day it is delivered to you — plan ahead, and don’t forget to dilute it with water 15:1.
Do you offer the ability to make bulk purchases?
Yes! On top of our summer subscription and social network model of compost tea brewing and delivery, we also offer single-order purchases in bulk quantity for advance seasonal preparation, soil remediation, or newly-created raised beds. Bulk orders will be available by appointment in late April/early May, and continue throughout the summer. Please contact us for further information.
Do I need to participate in the ‘creative art challenges’ to be a subscriber?
Not at all. The idea behind our Crooked Farmz subscription packages and very local distribution strategy is to create a local social network of people who want to improve their gardening capabilities, find alternative to harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and build community relations. Part of this idea involves appreciating the aesthetics of gardening and food growing, and the ‘creative art challenges’ provide an opportunity to share your creative expression with other people.
How do I pay for a Crooked Farmz subscription?
We accept payment by Interac e-payment transfer. Upon completing your subscription form you will receive an Interac e-payment transfer request by email. Your subscription purchase is completed once this transfer is completed and you receive a confirmation email.
What is your refund policy?
All sales are final.
What is your liability policy?
As with the major fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers, we are not liable for your usage of our products or the results in your garden. We do, however, share any gardening risk with you by applying all of our compost teas to our own home vegetable gardens.
How do I file a complaint?
Please contact us here and we will be happy to respond to your concerns.