Compost Tea

(Question)

I have a question about compost tea. I used compost tea to water my basil last summer. The leaves turned yellow and fell off. What did I do wrong? Was the tea too strong? Is there a recipe I should be following to make compost tea? How is it best used? Thanks in advance.

(Answer)

Oh dear! What a disappointment! It is so lovely to be able to snip fresh basil and add it to our food.

One of the easiest and most popular culinary herbs to grow is the common or sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum. A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), it is native to southern Asia and islands of the south Pacific. This tender annual is popular for its aromatic leaves, used fresh or dried. Basil seeds are common in Thai foods.

Like most herbs, basil requires a sunny location that receives at least six to eight hours of bright light per day, and well drained soil conditions.

Depending on the amount of regular rainfall, you should water deeply every seven to ten days to insure the roots are receiving enough moisture. Improper watering – root rot, a result of too much water, is one of the most common reasons for yellow leaves on basil plants. You might consider watering basil only when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry. Please remember that slightly dry soil is healthier than soggy soil.

Plants grown in containers will dry out faster than those in garden beds. Water them more frequently.

Choose a container with holes in the bottom for proper drainage.

A soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 is optimal. Fertilizing sparingly is best.

I do hope that you try growing basil again this summer. Good luck.

Here is a link to a website which will provide additional information.

http://extension.illinois.edu/herbs/basil.cfm