Every year I grow a couple of sweet pepper plants at the front of the house - they're south-facing, protected by the porch and receive radiated heat from the house behind them.
Normally I feed the peppers with tomato feed. This year they've had tea. Every day, after the daily pot, I topped up the dregs with cold water and delivered the contents, tea leaves and all, with each plant receiving half a teapotful.
And they've loved it. Tight-skinned, shiny peppers, no disease. A plus point was the increasing depth of tea-leaf mulch (which confused one passer-by, who wondered if they were receiving breakfast cereal), which creates a fast-draining surface that seems to discourage slugs and snails.
Is this an anomaly? It's certainly an experiment that seems to be a standard part of American school's science fairs.
Gardening Which? disagrees. In October 2010, in an article on old wives' tales, they warned that tea might be harmful, as it contains aluminium, fluorine and manganese which in high concentrations can slow plant growth. They felt that the nitrogen in tea probably wouldn't be very available to plants and said that regular watering and an occasional liquid feed would be better for the plants' health.
I'm sure that regular watering has played quite a part in the success this year. My peppers received a regular drench at the same time each day. It was easy to remember to do it, as we have a pot of tea at the same time each afternoon.
However, it's worth noting that dried tea leaves contain phosphorus and potassium, and tea also makes soil slightly acidic. Peppers like a bit of acidity.
All I can say, as you can see from the picture above, is that it appears to have worked beautifully. I've saved on liquid feed and not had to sieve the tea leaves out of the pot to add to the compost.
I'll definitely do it again. If you've tried fertilising with tea, I'd love you to comment below on how you got on.