Nutrients play a vital role in the growth and development of a plant. Manures and fertilizers are the major source of nutrients to them. But most of the chemical fertilizers are in various capacities harmful to the soil as well as human health. Alternative solutions to these fertilizers are organic fertilizers that are comparatively safer and indigenous.
Tea Leaves, the Organic Fertilizer
Tea is the 2nd most-consumed drink in the world and has become part and parcel of Indian food habits and culture. Globally, India ranks as the 2nd largest producer of tea. The routinely consumed part of any tea plant is the “tea leaves”. The varieties of leaves are brewed to derive their enriching flavor and aroma. Apart from refreshing properties, the herbal properties of tea leaves are inordinately huge. Tea leaves are abundant organic nutrient suppliers!
Where humans have good reasons to consume tea one can also count it as a potential nutrient supplement for plants. The tea leaves are rich in nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus which are the primary requirement of the plants. The drained tea leaves may also help to increase the oxygenation levels in the soil.
Benefits of adding Tea Leaves to your garden –
Tea leaves may help the soil to retain higher moisture content. It may act as mulch by decreasing the evaporation rate from the soil.
Just like ordinary compost, the tea leaves provide a good texture to the soil. Along with the composition, they increase the soil aeration capacity and make it better for the plant roots.
The nutrients- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential to plant growth and health. Several reports show that dried tea leaves have 4.4% nitrogen, 0.24% phosphorus, and 0.25% potassium. Apart from them, tea leaves also provide other valuable nutrients.
Note: The tea leaves even have tannic acid present in them. This acid decreases the pH level and increases the acidity of the soil.
It’s therefore essential to know your soil’s pH level before applying the fertilizer. The plant variety is also a factor that must be taken care of before utilization. Yellowing of the plant's leaf would be an indication of high acidity.
How to make your Tea Leaf Fertilizer?
Collect the tea leaves (leftover).
Clean them with running water. (Avoid the milk or sugar as they may retard the plant growth).
Allow the collected residue to dry.
Sprinkle the dried leaves over the topsoil or the compost or can store it for later use.
The used tea mixture can also be used directly. Before applying to the soil, the waste must be washed off to avoid bad odor and ants. After that, the excess water should be drained well before use.
The tea mix decomposes itself. There is no need to add water to the plant as the tea mix is moist.