Fermented horsetail tea is an effective fungicide that helps avoid most fruit tree and vegetable patch diseases.
Horsetail can be harvested virtually anywhere since it is one of the most common wild plants. Fermented tea is very easy to prepare from it, and waiting time before use is short.
Finally, avoid growing it in your own garden, it is a truly invasive species that will overtake your plot unless you lock it in as if it were bamboo!
An alternative is to have it grow in a large tub. It also does great at the foot of conifer hedges, that can be locked in by pavement on either side.
Steps to prepare fermented horsetail tea
- Harvest 35 oz (1 kg) fresh leaves.
- Add 9 quarts (9 liters) rainwater (softer).
- Macerate for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Avoid using metallic containers for maceration.
- Mix regularly (twice a day is ideal) or use a bubble blower as for aquariums.
- Filter to remove any residues and produce a perfectly clear liquid.
An alternative recipe, instead of two-week cold maceration, is to let it macerate for only 24 hours and after boil the leaves and the water together for 20 minutes. After boiling, cool and filter before use. This makes the fermented tea available for use much earlier.
Boiling, however, degrades some of the nutrients of the plant so it won’t have such a high fertilizing side-effect, but that’s a secondary consideration when treating against diseases.
Using fermented horsetail tea
Fermented horsetail tea is mainly used in spring and in fall, when diseases are most certain to appear.
- Since it is absolutely harmless to plants, it can be used all year round.
Mixing ratio is 10% fermented horsetail tea to 90% water.
- If my 10-quart (10 liter) sprayer contains 9 quarts (9 liters) water, I’ll add 1 quart (1 liter) fermented tea and have a great disease repellent.
Spray regularly to avoid all chance of disease.
Horsetail tea is particularly effective against
- Powdery mildew
- European brown rot or rotting fruit
- Peach leaf curl
- Apple scab
- Grape erineum mite
- Different types of Septoria and black spot: rose black spot, maple black spot and strawberry tree black spot among others.
Horsetail tea from dried powder
Out of season, it’s hard to get fresh horsetail. You can still make this “magic potion” from dried power!
- Use one-tenth the weight. For instance, instead of 35 oz, just use 3.5 oz of fresh material (100g instead of 1 kg).
- Try to add in a couple handfuls of any other fresh weed (nettles, comfrey…). These will bring in the yeasts necessary for fermentation to start off fast.
Other than that, follow the same process!
Keeping excess fermented horsetail tea
Again, choose a sealed container that is not made from metal.
Use a wood barrel or plastic jug or barrels.
Avoid iron, copper and other metal-like containers since they would react with active ingredients and render them ineffective.
Most important is to keep the fermented tea “alive”: all yeasts contained in such fermented weeds must be protected from freezing and from heat waves.
Although the base material is free, the time you put in it shouldn’t be wasted. You can spray leftover tea on healthy plants to give their immune system a boost, too!
Indeed, sometimes fungal diseases are present even if the plants don’t show any symptoms yet. For instance, on some Septoria host plants like tomato, incubation can last from 2 to 4 weeks before the first spots appear.
Smart tip about horsetail tea
- Magic potions for to help you garden naturally
- Fermented nettle tea, fertilizer and disease repellent