Vegetable Garden Soil Amendments: Compost or Manure Tea

Posted on Sep 24 2010 - 3:14am by Mike Lieberman

It’s been almost two months since I started to test the soil amendments in my container garden.

I was testing using manure tea versus using regular compost. I had two cucumber plants that I had started from seeds.

In looking at the two containers, it’s hard to make a definitive statement on which works better. If you were just to look at the containers, you’d think that the regular compost was performing better since it’s a larger plant and has more flowers.

If you were to take a closer look at the plants, you might think otherwise. The plant that just had compost in it was a bit larger to start with, so it had a headstart. When I lifted the planting container from the reservoir container, I noticed something very interesting.

The container that I was putting the manure tea in had much deeper roots. The roots were coming through the drainage holes in the planting container. They were hanging at least a foot out of the container. The roots of the larger plant barely had any roots growing out of the bottom of the container.

This makes me believe that if the plants were in the ground that the container with the manure tea would be doing much better. Since it’s in a container it is restricted and can’t grow as well.

I’m not sure if this is coincidence or if the longer roots are due to the manure tea. So at this point, I don’t have a definitive answer as to which vegetable garden soil amendments work best, especially in a container garden.

What are your thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    I would say that in the end the way to measure the value of each fertilizing method is 1) how many cucs you ultimately harvest from each plant and 2) which ones taste best.

  • Mike Lieberman

    That would def be a good way.

  • Bren / BGgarden

    I wonder if I can do this in my greenhouse …. I would love to have cucumbers during the winter! LOOK AT THOSE ROOTS MAN!

  • Mike Lieberman

    I’m sure you could. Why not?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sonexposure Jonathan Lawrence

    so, was there a noticable difference between the quality & qauntity of cucumbers in the two plants?