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Compost Tea

Subject:  Compost tea

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phat joe

Zurich, Ontario Canada

I have made some compost tea in the past. But all I do is get a 40 gallon barrel half full of water, put in compost, chopped up weeds and stir every day. I only use as a root drench as I am scared to burn leaves. This brew also tends to smell like sewage. Could I be hurting the plant or should I get more scientific with my brewing. p.s. Time per day is a factor(got to keep it simple)

6/13/2013 9:04:07 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

Tad...thiZ one iZ all yourZ.....

6/14/2013 9:49:11 AM

Orangeneck (Team HAMMER)

Eastern Pennsylvania

Sounds like you are attempting to make fertilizer. We are not interested in nutrients when it comes to compost tea- only the microbes. The tea you describe is anearobic whereas the teas we make are aerobic. I oxygenate my tea and brew for 18-24 hours max. Your mix could add nutrients, but it is definitely introducing pathogens at the same time.

Wiz- bp probably ran tad off with that last post. I hope not.

6/14/2013 10:11:06 AM

KC Kevin

Mission Viejo, CA

If it stinks like sewage? I would very hesitant to dump it on my patch. Even my worm tea gets tossed if it doesn't smell nice.

6/14/2013 11:51:02 AM

Tad12

Seattle, WA

Wiz, so it's okay for me to post about compost tea without growing a giant pumpkin, but not mycorrhizal fungus? I do wonder why I still look on here from time to time... :)

I would agree with Orangeneck though, that you probably brewed up some anaerobic bacteria.

I'm pasting from an article I wrote on www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com that may help explain the difference:

Plant Tea - This is where plants are soaked directly in water for an extended period of time. Compost is not involved, and any bacteria or fungi on the surface of the plant will be extracted. May contain some soluble nutrients.

6/14/2013 1:17:33 PM

Tad12

Seattle, WA

Manure Tea - Typically manure is placed in a permeable bag (burlap) into a bucket or barrel and left to soak for an (# of days) extended period of time. Compost is not involved, and will be dominated by anaerobic organisms (bacteria and ciliates). Pathogens will be present in most instances, and may burn the leaf surfaces of plants. These teas will contain some soluble nutrients, but may also contain antibiotics and growth hormones such as tetracycline, that are not broken down during the composting process.

"Put To Sleep" Tea - These teas are typically advertised as "instant" compost teas. Specific organisms are cultured or extracted from compost and then put into a dormant state. Even with hundreds of different species, it won't contain even 1% of the diversity or quantities you would find in properly made aerated compost tea. These teas may be helpful in certain instances when you wish to combat certain diseases and know the proper microbe that has been documented to prevent or suppress it (eg. trichoderma).

Compost Leachate - These teas is sometimes referred as "worm tea" as it is the liquid that leaches out of the base of worm bins or compost piles during the composting process. Leachates will consist primarily of soluble nutrients, but will contain some small amount of biology. This can serve as a good food substrate for the biology in your soil.

6/14/2013 1:17:41 PM

Tad12

Seattle, WA

Compost Extract - Compost extract is where the microorganisms are stripped from the soil aggregates using water and extracted into a liquid form. This process will contain good biology for soil drenches, and can be made very quickly, as it does not require a brewing process. It does however require a large amount of compost relative to the final liquid product, and is primarily used in large commercial productions.

Non-Aerated Compost Tea - This is where compost is put into a container with water and foods are added for the microbes. The tea is then stirred occasionally or left to sit for a period of time. These teas may or may not produce beneficial results and could potentially harm your plants depending on the anaerobic organisms in your starting compost.

Aerated Compost Tea (AACT or ACT) - Similar to the tea above, this process involves adding oxygen to the tea and a food source for the biology in the compost. By creating optimal conditions for aerobic microbes, AACT allows you to multiply the biology in the starting compost by over 10,000 times. Many plant pathogens are anaerobic and prefer low to no oxygen conditions. By making sure the tea and the compost itself are well oxygenated and highly aerobic, you can potentially eliminate 75 percent of the potential plant-disease-causing bacteria and plant-toxic products.

For the past 5 years, AACT has become the standard within the organic industry in regards to compost teas. It's currently being used by golf courses, vineyards, farmers, and homeowners as a means of growing healthier plants.

6/14/2013 1:17:44 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:57 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:57 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:57 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:57 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:57 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

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6/14/2013 4:00:58 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

Wow.... must be a Unix command....lol Ill have to tryZ that one again.

6/14/2013 4:02:08 PM

phat joe

Zurich, Ontario Canada

So I think you guys all answered my question. I think the proper way to make tea is too high tech for my liking. I'll wait until I have more time to play with this stuff. Thanks for the info!!!!

6/14/2013 8:33:10 PM

afveteran

Deerfield, Michigan

Thanks for the breakdown Tad12. Glad to see everything in easy to read terms.

6/15/2013 12:50:39 AM

WiZZy

President - GPC

RTI makes a brewer and an all in one system to make it EAZY to brew...check'em out....

6/17/2013 10:25:16 AM

Tad12

Seattle, WA

Keep in mind the best way to compare brewing systems is through biological tests and direct microscopy. Otherwise it's just a bucket of brown water. Beware claims from manufacturers that may not be accurate, it's not a silver bullet. If they ever claim that you can refrigerate it or that it has a shelf life, I'd avoid their products!

6/17/2013 12:32:00 PM

WiZZy

President - GPC

ThatZ whatZ great about RTI, they do the scoping and test their products to be what they say they are....I run two brewerZ... and both have great sampleZ of compost tea....one from RTI, and one from Keep it simple...and I love Dr Seuss land under the microscope...

6/17/2013 2:55:31 PM

pap

Rhode Island

you cant beat a professional system. all the ingredients are there and when brewed correctly is very effective.is it a majic bullet? no, but another effective piece of your program.

you will never see a more healthy rich looking plant especially just after spraying. that next morning the plant seems to shine.
pap

6/19/2013 6:39:56 AM

abbynormal

Johnston, R.I.

Keep posting Tad.

6/19/2013 7:32:22 PM

Bubba Presley

Muddy Waters

Yes Bountea has a kit also

6/19/2013 10:05:57 PM

Bubba Presley

Muddy Waters

https://www.google.com/search?q=Bountea&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=rcs

6/19/2013 10:06:37 PM

Tad12

Seattle, WA

For those people looking for a larger than 5 gallon brewer, I would recommend www.microbeorganics.com. He's a good friend of mine, whose microscope work has been published in the Smithsonian. He incorporates an air lift into his design, raising dissolved oxygen levels exponentially over the more traditional designs (like what we use on our 5 gallon). When he came out with his 50 gallon brewer, we decided to offer it as a replacement for our existing systems because it was 1/4 the cost and produced an excellent ACT. His 12 gallon system is also a vortex brewer, for those interested in biodynamics.

If you want to see what a lab test looks like, you can see an example here:
http://simplici-tea.com/4-03_5g_tea_test.pdf

Keep in mind that bacterial numbers are very easy to achieve, it's the fungal content that requires proper oxygen levels and a good recipe.

6/20/2013 1:35:46 PM

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