Compost Tea

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by crazy1, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. crazy1

    crazy1 Seedling

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    To make "compost tea" here's what you need:
    BASICS
    5 gal bucket w/lid
    An old nylon stocking
    some compost

    Put the compost (2 cups or so) in the stocking, then tie the top off, put this in the bucket filled with water 3/4 of the way full. Place the lid on and let step in the sun 3-6 days


    ADVANCED
    In the stocking you may also add:
    molasses
    2 Tbls Epsom salts
    lake or sea weed
    stinging nettle
    Alfalfa cubes

    You may also add a bit of Apple Cider vinegar to the water, 2 Tbls is enough.
    Also adding a fish tank air pump with an air stone will increase your aerobic bacteria, an added bonus for sure. I just drilled a hole in the lid big enough to run the air hose through.

    Then apply as a foliar feed with a hand sprayer, spray tops and bottoms of the leaves, or water with it once a week, or both.
    And I've been asked before about spraying the bottom of the leaves. It's OK I've done it for years now.
    Also foliar feeding feeds your plants 90% of the goodies now as to root feeding feeds your plants 10 - 15% eventually.
     



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  2. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Now that's the kind of recipe I love best - the kind that I can use in my garden. Thanks for taking the time to post it for us Crazy1. :D
     
  3. Biita

    Biita Arctic-ally Challenged Forager

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    Hey thats good crazy1,, the only thing i don't have is alfalfa cubes,, an molassas,, what can be substituted for those, if any can be. also that can be used on for growing herbs? or is that just veggies or flowers.
     
  4. CritterPainter

    CritterPainter Awed by Nature

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    little cut up bits of alfalfa should do. Do you have feed stores where you are? That'd be where you'd find falfa cubes (for cage rabbits) and probably stock molasses too- stock molasses is added in the winter to livestock feed.
    Interesting, I never heard of those additions to compost tea, but I can definitely see the value of them. I'll have to dig up this post come summer!
     
  5. crazy1

    crazy1 Seedling

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    yup even rabbit pellets will work for this recipe.
    But if you have access to seaweed that is also an awesome additive.
    I use dry molasses, but it in 50# bags from the feed store since I add it to the compost pile for the microbes to feed on and in the garden soil with the first spring tilling.
    Also to feed the microbes and get em going after their winter rest.
     
  6. dirt2diamonds

    dirt2diamonds In Flower

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    That is some serious chow for the plants. I bet they just shout for joy with that diet. Interesting. I did not add epsom salt to my garden the past two years and I did not have any basil breaks on my roses. So I know some epsom salt will be going into the garden this year.
     
  7. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Thank you for an easy-to-follow recipe! I hope somebody bumps this come summer.

    If you've got a stable nearby, visit it and ask them for a little. Molasses can be bought at food stores too.
     
  8. Biita

    Biita Arctic-ally Challenged Forager

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    I haven't seen molasses up here at all, i've been to every food store over christmas looking for it for my ginger bread cake,,, i had to use mørk siryp instead. not the same but it worked in a fix.

    i can go to the dairy farm i guess an get alfafa or i know there is a vet in town who is also the local feed store too. that will work..lol.

    Seaweed,, no problem, i live on an island in the North Sea,, i'm surrounded by seaweed, which i use everday in our daily food. excellent food, has 13 of the 14 known compounds need for our bodies all in one little plant.

    Thanks for that recipe,, i'm thinking my potatoes here, an the cold weather veggies that seem to need that little extra push towards the end. herbs also.
     
  9. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Biita, I think I meant feed store, the ones catering to animals, like Felleskjøpet. :oops:
     
  10. Biita

    Biita Arctic-ally Challenged Forager

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    ohhhhhh,, geeez my mistake,, i got what you mean... thanks droopy.
     
  11. tadhussey

    tadhussey New Seed

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    Compost tea is a wonderful product for your gardens when made correctly. Most people are now using aeration when making the tea....here's why:

    Most beneficial organisms in your soil are strict aerobes and require high levels of oxygen to survive. Most pathogens are anaerobic in nature and prefer low to no oxygen conditions.

    Have you ever picked up a handful of compacted soil? Typically it stinks and smells like vomit or some other form of decay. These are the gases put off by anaerobic microbes.

    On the other hand, everyone knows what good soil smells like, it has very little odor or maybe a slight earthy smell. It's the same with compost tea.

    You need the oxygen in the water to stay at or above 6 mg/l when brewing. If you're not adding oxygen, this becomes problematic because as the organisms consume the nutrients and begin to replicate, they will use up the oxygen supply very rapidly. Once the available oxygen is used up, now we have anaerobic conditions in our tea and have select environmental conditions for exactly the organisms we didn't want.

    I've been making and selling compost tea and compost tea brewers for years now and also look at the teas under a microscope. Many people don't realize the level of science that goes into doing it correctly. Some will try it out and make poor tea and then say that compost tea doesn't work. Others will actually damage their plants. My goal is to get people making tea correctly so they can see the benefits of this wonderful technology.

    ~Tad
     
  12. Palm Tree

    Palm Tree Young Pine

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    Hi Crazy

    That sure is some tea. I think I will try that out. I just need to get hold of alfalfa. I gost most of the other ingredients already.

    One question though: With the ADVANCED tea recipe - Is the steeping period the same as the basic recipe period?
     
  13. crazy1

    crazy1 Seedling

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    Yes the steeping time in the advanced is the same as the basic. Sorry I didn't mention that. :rolleyes:

    And Tad you are so correct in the aeration of the tea.
    As you see I added that in the advanced method.
    I also study the microbes under a microscope, just to see the activity/response to different additives. And I've seen the best results with the ingredients I posted.
    Simple is best here, IMHO, get too carried away and things slow down or don't really benefit your garden/house plants at all.
     
  14. tadhussey

    tadhussey New Seed

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    That's great that you're using a microscope to see changes in your tea. It's really the best way to know what's going on. The one thing it doesn't tell you is if the organisms you're looking at are aerobic or anaerobic. I use a lab tested brewer so I don't really have to worry about this personally, but one indicator is if the organisms are clustered around the edges of air bubbles.

    My concern with the steeeping method is the issue of brewing anaerobic organisms. Personally, I wouldn't apply a non aerated compost tea to my plants for that very reason. However, if you do wish to go that route, make sure you use the smell test.

    You tea should have very little odor to it, maybe a slight earthy smell. If it stinks at all, don't apply it to your plants. All those stinky smells are caused by facultative anaerobes and you don't want them on your plants.

    ~Tad
     

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