Zero waste compost tea for houseplants and garden

Posted by Sacred Elements on

After so many requests for this recipe, we wanted to share how taking kitchen scraps like banana peels, eggshells, coffee grounds and onion skins can quickly turn into a compost tea or blend up a compost smoothie to feed your garden soil. Please note that these four ingredients are common foods our family uses weekly, so if you don’t drink coffee or are vegan and don’t eat eggs, no problem! Just use what you have. For instance, replace coffee with tea leaves and garlic skins with onions to get similar benefits from your food scraps! 

Here’s how:

In a quart sized mason jar or container similar in size and shape, fill halfway with tap water, leave uncovered. Over the course of 5 days, every time you or someone in your home eats a banana, make sure the peel ends up in this jar. Used coffee grounds, yup. Egg shells? Crush them up in your hand and place in the jar. Onion skins—into the jar they go!

We keep our compost tea next to the kitchen sink, by the recycling and compost bins so everyone sees it and remembers not to toss that golden peel, or else! We’ve come to think of bananas like treasure because they’re jammed packed with highly valuable soil boosters like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium and sodium, we just can’t help but consider them a gold mine for the tea and smoothie! 

Onion skins are rich in potassium, calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium so be sure to save those precious peels and add them to the jar as you go about making your soups and pasta sauces! Also, an added benefit is that onions and garlic skins keep some pests away like: flea beetles, mosquitoes, aphids, ants, carrot flies, grubs, onion flies, Japanese beetles weevils, aphids and red spider mites. What? So cool! 

Used coffee grounds and used tea leaves provide rich sources of nitrogen, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Eggshells provide calcium and blended eggshells and coffee grounds greatly improve soil composition when added to your soil, too! 

It’s been about five days and the jar is full, now what? 

Compost tea: Strain the liquid (tea) into a larger container and use one part tea to four parts water next time you water your starts or houseplants. They will thank you for all that yummy, distilled goodness!

Compost smoothie: Now you have a jar of peels, skins, grounds and shells, don’t compost or toss away yet, there are still plenty of nutrients left in there! Add the remaining ingredients and a few cups of water (enough to blend into a shake or smoothie consistency) to the blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth.

*Note it can be a tad bit stinky if you’ve added a fair amount of’s become a bit of a family joke to exit stage left when mama starts up the blender these days. Worth it! And, easily remedied by soapy hot water, a little lemon oil or fresh lemon juice and a sponge.

Just be sure to clean the blender immediately after you’ve added the smoothie to your garden soil to avoid a lingering compost-y flavor in your next batch of kale smoothie or blended margarita!  We’ll dive more deeply into specific benefits and applications for all these ingredients in upcoming blog posts, too. Stay tuned and happy growing friends!

Be well.

With love,

Karina and the Sacred Elements Team


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