What can I do with my excess kombucha and kefir?

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Waste Free Living | 3 comments

So you’ve fallen in love with fermenting your food and making your kombucha. Still, you suddenly realise that you have a massive amount of kombucha, kefir and other yummy goods growing out of control. Your family isn’t as big as your microbe family.

kombucha scobySo now what? It is time to step up your waste-free living a notch.

Waste-free living

If you have been making kombucha for a while, you would know that the kombucha scoby multiplies and grows every time you feed it. However, we only need a few scoby to ferment enough kombucha for the whole family.

Now, throwing them away in the trash is an unnecessary waste. One of my favourite ways to repurpose kombucha and kefir is in the garden. Kombucha and kefir are classified as effective microbes as they can aid in rebuilding soil. By feeding your soil beneficial microbes and nutrients, you help to re-mineralise and activate the ground, increasing the plant’s resistance to pests and potentially increasing harvest.

kefir grains

The fastest way to utilise your excess kombucha and kefir is to throw them straight into your compost or bury them in your garden bed. But this means only a small area of your garden receives the beneficial bacteria. A more effective way is to make a biological fertilizer (biofertilizer) for your entire garden. By doing this, you can see all your plants enjoying the benefits of the kombucha and kefir.

How to Make an Effective All-Natural Biofertilizer

Biofertilizers are like a liquid version of your original compost. They are easy and affordable to make. Studies have shown that biofertilizers:

  • stimulate plant growth, activate the soil, restore soil fertility and improve the soil’s resistance to disease.
  • provide a certain level of fungicidal, insecticidal and bactericidal action that helps to protect your plants.
  • ensure the health of your organic soil, so you will not need to apply any chemicals.
  • increases harvest yield by 20-30%.

Biofertilizers assist with quick nutrient absorption through the plant’s leaves and roots. It can be made in two ways:

– aerobic (with oxygen): it will take about 90 days

– anaerobic (without oxygen): will take about 30 days

Aerobic biofertilizer

Today, we will look at aerobic biofertilizers, your no-fuss option. Aerobic biofertilizers are easy, quick and affordable.

You require minimum materials. You will need a plastic bucket with a lid, water and organic matter.

  • Half-fill a bucket with organic materials.
  • Fill with water (rainwater if possible).
  • Stir with a stick and close the lid.

The bucket should remain closed. Now and again, open the bucket to release the gases that are produced during fermentation to escape. Or make a tiny pinprick in the lid, ensuring the hole is too small for insects.

kombucha sprayIn about 90 days, bacteria will ferment all the organic matter, transforming the material into biofertilizer. However, when you add kombucha, scoby, yogurt or kefir, you increase the beneficial bacteria within the fertilizer, which speeds up fermentation.

When using biofertilizer as a foliar spray, dilute the fertiliser with 20 parts water and 1 part biofertiliser. Spray on leaves either before 10 am or after 3 pm. If you want to add it to the soil, dilute ten parts water and one part biofertilizer. I usually pour this straight onto the sugar cane mulch.

Sign up for our mailing list and subscribe to our YouTube channel to learn about anaerobic biofertilizers.

How to Make Compost Break Down Faster

Add kombucha and kefir to it! When I first started to ferment foods, I washed all my containers and threw the water into the compost bin; Magic started to happen. The compost began to break down at a much faster rate. This made perfect sense, as the healthy microbes in the kombucha and kefir assist with increasing the microbes within the compost. As a result, the compost breaks down faster. So now I always wash my excess into a bucket and add straight onto mulch or into the compost bin.

nutrient dense soilIf you enjoy all things soil, you can purchase our popular eBooks

  1. How to make natural fertilizers
  2. How to make healthy soil 
  3. Building soil with worms

Happy Reading!


  1. Cristina Danila

    May I use the kombucha or water kefir as a fertilizer? For roses or tomatoes?
    Thank you!

    • Lucy Legan

      Hey Cristina, we have used both kombucha and kefir on our tomatoes. We pour in onto our mulch which is usually sugar cane mulch. Tell us how it goes!



  1. Free resources for permaculture living and Homeschooling during these challenging times – Planet Schooling - […] What can I do with my excess kombucha and kefir? – recycling at its best. […]

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