Noémie Messier shows a cistern outfitted with an oxygenizer and pump at New Mountain Farm

Noémie Messier shows a cistern outfitted with an oxygenizer and pump at New Mountain Farm

Home and Yard: Compost tea, a nutrient boost for plants

Garden growing green thumbs are seeing the added benefit of feeding crops with compost tea

Collecting rainwater for garden and lawn watering is an age old practice, and thanks to new technologies (and growing water bills) it’s becoming a common place trend in residential homes.

Connecting the down spout of a house gutter to a cistern is the first step. The second step, however, provides a greater challenge, says Noémie Messier of New Mountain Farm (at Haliburton Farm) in Saanich.

“Filling the cisterns is easy but getting the water out is the hard part, that’s what the submersible pump is for,” she says.

Garden growing green thumbs are seeing the added benefit of using cisterns as a way to feed crops with compost without having to layer it on with a shovel.

“The compost tea is pretty simple, just load up a burlap sack with worm compost and let it sit in the cistern for a few days,” Messier says.

Messier and her co-farmers keep a dedicated cistern on a dolly so they can drag it around New Mountain’s sizeable L-shaped section of Haliburton’s land. The submersible pump is fairly affordable,  and can run off a car battery   or deep cycle battery. The savings accumulate the more it’s used, as it eases the amount of tap water used to water the lawn or garden, and the savings come back two-fold by spraying a compost tea twice a month as it’s a nutritional boost that would otherwise  need to be purchased.

“In two days we get a tea that’s great for the plants. We do it every other week,” Messier says.

“You can’t have too much water in the cistern though, maybe half full, or you won’t be able to move it around. Maybe you don’t need a dolly, just get a 100-foot hose and you’re good to go.”

The proof is in the yield of the crops. Grass loves it too, as the roots of a well fed lawn will dig deep, becoming more resistant to drought and weeds, great for those keen on green grass throughout the summer.

New Mountain has added an oxygenizer to speed up the process, feeding the compost and helping it ferment quickly. But it’s not necessary.

“You don’t have to use compost, just use borage, nettle, and other plants that are easy to grow,” Messier says.

Catch and release

Submersible sump pumps are available at local hardware stores and range in quality. A strong enough pump will drive a sprinkler, making it rain compost tea.

– There are other methods to drain the water from a cistern with enough force to spray it onto a garden/lawn.

Cisterns that collect water on a second floor or raised balcony will drain at a moderate pace.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)
WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems

A new multi-family residential project at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street will feature nine below market-priced units aimed at middle-income, first-time homebuyers, through a partnership between BC Housing and the developer. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Middle-income first time homebuyers gain access to nine homes in Victoria

BC Housing partners with development community to create affordable purchases

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

(Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure closes Oak Bay pub, restaurant

Penny Farthing, Vis-a-Vis expected to reopen Wednesday after deep clean

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

Most Read