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Gardening enthusiasts are always on the lookout for natural and sustainable ways to nourish their plants and enhance soil fertility. At first I wasn’t sure about this… but one such tried-and-true method is brewing horse manure tea, a potent liquid fertiliser that can significantly boost the health and vitality of your garden. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the step-by-step process of creating horse manure tea, discuss its application methods, and explore the myriad benefits it offers to your plants and soil.

The Brewing Process:

Brewing horse manure tea is a simple yet highly effective way to extract the rich nutrients from horse manure and create a powerful liquid fertiliser for your garden. Follow these steps to create your own elixir of fertility:

  1. Gather Your Materials:
    • High-quality horse manure: Ensure it is well-aged and free from contaminants.
    • A large bucket or container
    • Water
    • Aeration device (such as an aquarium pump and air stone)
    • Cheesecloth or burlap for straining
    • Optional additives (such as seaweed extract for enhanced microbial activity)
  2. Mix the Ingredients:
    • Fill the bucket or container with water, leaving some space at the top.
    • Add a generous amount of well-aged horse manure. A ratio of 1 part manure to 5 parts water is a good starting point.
    • If desired, add a tablespoon of seaweed extract to boost microbial activity.
  3. Aerate the Mixture:
    • Attach the aquarium pump to the air stone and place it in the bottom of the container.
    • Turn on the pump to introduce oxygen into the mixture. Aeration helps stimulate microbial growth and accelerates the breakdown of organic matter.
  4. Let it Brew:
    • Allow the mixture to steep for 3 to 5 days, stirring occasionally. The tea will develop a rich, earthy aroma as the beneficial microbes work their magic.
  5. Strain the Tea:
    • After the brewing period, use cheesecloth or burlap to strain the tea into another container. This will remove any solid particles and leave you with a nutrient-rich liquid.

Application Methods:

Now that you have brewed your horse manure tea, it’s time to unleash its benefits on your garden. Consider the following methods for applying this natural fertiliser:

  1. Foliar Spray:
    • Dilute the horse manure tea with water at a ratio of 1:1.
    • Use a spray bottle or garden sprayer to apply the diluted tea directly onto the leaves of your plants.
    • Foliar spraying provides a quick and direct absorption of nutrients, promoting vigorous growth and increased resistance to pests and diseases.
  2. Soil Drench:
    • Dilute the horse manure tea with water at a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3.
    • Pour the diluted tea directly onto the soil around the base of your plants.
    • Soil drenching ensures that the root systems receive a concentrated dose of nutrients, fostering strong and healthy plant development.

When to Apply:

Timing is crucial when it comes to applying horse manure tea to your garden. Consider these guidelines for optimal results:

  1. Early Spring:
    • Apply horse manure tea in early spring to kickstart the growing season. This provides plants with a nutrient boost as they begin to emerge from dormancy.
  2. During Vegetative Growth:
    • Apply the tea during the vegetative growth phase, typically in late spring and early summer. This supports robust foliage development and ensures the plants have ample nutrients for photosynthesis.
  3. Before Flowering:
    • Apply horse manure tea before the flowering stage to enhance the formation of buds and blossoms. The increased nutrient availability encourages a profusion of blooms.
  4. Mid to Late Summer:
    • As the growing season progresses, continue to apply horse manure tea to sustain the plants through the peak of summer. This helps prevent nutrient deficiencies and supports overall plant health.

Benefits of Horse Manure Tea:

  1. Balanced Nutrient Profile:
    • Horse manure tea is a complete fertiliser, providing a balanced mix of essential nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This balanced profile promotes overall plant health and resilience.
  2. Improved Soil Structure:
    • The organic matter in horse manure tea improves soil structure by enhancing water retention and drainage. This results in a loamy, well-aerated soil that encourages healthy root development.
  3. Boosted Microbial Activity:
    • The brewing process encourages the growth of beneficial microbes in the tea. These microbes contribute to the breakdown of organic matter in the soil, releasing nutrients in a form that plants can readily absorb.
  4. Enhanced Plant Growth:
    • Regular application of horse manure tea promotes vigorous plant growth, leading to lusher foliage, increased flower and fruit production, and overall garden abundance.

Why Horse Manure Tea is Superior to Direct Application:

While incorporating horse manure directly into your garden can offer some benefits, brewing horse manure tea provides several advantages that make it a superior choice:

  1. Reduced Risk of Burn:
    • Fresh horse manure can be high in ammonia, which may burn plant roots if applied directly. Brewing horse manure tea allows for proper decomposition, reducing the risk of nutrient burn.
  2. Easier Nutrient Absorption:
    • The brewing process breaks down organic matter into a more soluble form, making nutrients more readily available for plant uptake. This enhances nutrient absorption and utilisation by your plants.
  3. Customisable Concentration:
    • Horse manure tea can be easily diluted to tailor the nutrient concentration to your specific plants’ needs. This level of customisation ensures that your garden receives the optimal balance of nutrients without the risk of over-fertilisation.
  4. Enhanced Microbial Activity:
    • Brewing horse manure tea promotes the growth of beneficial microbes, which contribute to the overall health of the soil ecosystem. This microbial activity enhances nutrient cycling and improves soil fertility over time.


Brewing and using horse manure tea is a sustainable and effective method to enhance the health and productivity of your garden. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can harness the natural benefits of horse manure in a form that is easily absorbed by your plants. From the brewing process to application methods and timing, horse manure tea offers a holistic approach to garden care, promoting balanced growth, improved soil structure, and a thriving ecosystem. Make the switch to this liquid gold, and watch your garden flourish with vitality and abundance.