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Old 02-06-2012, 11:29 AM #1
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Compost Tea - A Complete Guide

Compost tea is a liquid made by steeping a porous bag of decomposed and recycled organic matter, known as compost, in water. The compost infuses the water with nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. Eventually, compost tea can be sprayed on foliage to inhibit pests or poured into the ground around plants to enrich the soil and to feed the roots. Depending on its purpose and how it is prepared, a number of different ingredients may go into the tea.
Compost tea is a liquid extract of compost that contains plant growth compounds and beneficial microorganisms. Liquid extracts have been used for hundreds of years in agriculture to promote plant and soil health. These extracts have historically been derived from a wide range of plant materials and animal manures, using a variety of processing methods. Aerated Compost Tea is a more recent concept that incorporates aeration technology to create optimum levels of oxygen for growth and reproduction of beneficial aerobic microorganisms. Compost teas are now being produced and used in large-scale agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, nurseries, lawn care, and residential gardens


Best Water


The chlorine in most drinking water kills the beneficial microbes in compost tea. Oregon University Extension recommends that potable, de-chlorinated water be used to make the tea (see References 1). De-chlorination of tap water is easy: Let a bucket of tap water sit for a few hours before using it to steep or to dilute compost tea. The chlorine will naturally dissipate, leaving the water safe to use.


Passive Tea

Passive compost tea is simply a "tea bag" suspended in a bucket of water and allowed to soak for several weeks. The compost gradually colors the water as the microbes and nutrients leach into the liquid through the porous fabric bag. The Rodale Institute says a typical water-to-compost ratio for tea is 5-to-1. Nothing should be added to this mix, because added nutrients will cause the tea to turn anaerobic and rancid. The putrefying tea will produce phenols and alcohol that will kill all the beneficial microbes. At that point, the spoiled compost tea becomes worse than useless, as it can harm plants.


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Aerated Compost Tea




Aerated compost tea is "brewed" with the help of pumps that oxygenate the mix, speeding up the extraction of nutrients from the compost. It takes far less time to finish --- usually the tea is ready in as little as 24 hours, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service (see References 1). Supplemental nutrients, such as molasses, kelp, fish byproducts or humic acid, may be added to this brew as catalysts. Once aerated compost tea is ready, it should be applied within four to six hours for maximum potency and benefit .

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How is it Made?
Compost tea is produced by steeping finished compost in water in order to extract beneficial microorganisms and compounds into solution. It uses fine bubble diffusion to supply aeration and mixing of the solution, a supplemental nutrient source (Compost Tea Catalyst) to feed the microorganisms, and a 24-hour brewing cycle to produce a biologically active, Aerated Compost Tea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo6f3...eature=related

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dEJg...eature=related


The right compost is critical!
Compost is the source of organic matter and organisms for extraction, so quality is very important! The quality of the tea is only as good as the compost used to make it. Worm castings are often used alone or blended with compost because of their highly diverse microbial composition. Supplemental nutrients (Compost Tea Catalyst) are added at the beginning of the brewing process to the tank to encourage the growth and proliferation of diverse aerobic microorganisms that are beneficial to plant growth. Growing Solutions’ Compost Tea Catalyst™contains kelp, humic acids, rock powder and a blend of botanical ingredients formulated for optimal microbial growth and diversity.


Benefits of compost tea
Compost tea is a good overall plant health booster. Remember—healthy plants are better able to resist pests and diseases! Compost tea is typically used:
• Provide nutrients for foliar or soil application
• As a microbial inoculant via soil application to help build soil microbial populations


How to use compost tea
It is best to plan ahead for maximum benefit from compost tea. Aerated compost tea should be used quickly, since it contains living organisms. Ideally, the tea will be used within 4-6 hours of decanting from the brewer. Keeping it cool, out of the sunlight and in an open-top container, can prolong the useful life of the tea. Periodic stirring or continued aeration will prolong its life even longer. Eventually, however, the organisms in the compost tea will consume all of the food and air available to them, causing their populations to rapidly decline. Any tea that is left over or “expired” can be added to the compost pile or to the soil. Compost tea can be applied to the soil or directly to the plant as a foliar spray. When it is used as a foliar application, it is best to strive for thorough leaf coverage using a fine mist. Foliar applications are best done early morning or pre-dusk to minimize the effects of UV rays. When used as a soil drench, compost tea should be applied so that it moves into the root zone. This can be accomplished by following the tea application with additional water. Use full strength or dilute1:1 (tea to water) for indoor houseplant and garden plants. Drenching a medium size plant requires about 2 cups of tea plus enough water to get the solution down to the roots. Compost tea can be diluted (up to 1:3 tea to water) to cover a larger area like a lawn. When applying to lawns, apply the tea either just before or just after watering. Apply once or twice a month throughout the growing season.
While it can contain some nutrients and micronutrients, compost tea should not be thought of as a fertilizer. A healthy, biologically diverse soil promotes more efficient nutrient cycling, which can eventually reduce the amount of fertilizer nutrients required. Compost tea should not be viewed as a fungicide or pesticide either. Research has not shown that compost teas can prevent foliar diseases through foliar sprays in a consistent fashion. Compost tea is more accurately described as a soil or foliar inoculant to be used in combination with other good organic gardening practices and inputs.


How to make a compost tea brewer for under $30.00 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjGZL...eature=related









Caution:
Use only chemical-free equipment for compost tea storage or applications, e.g. watering cans or sprayers, because residues of fungicides or herbicides are harmful to the compost tea organisms. Similarly, if you are diluting your compost tea before using it, it is best to use water that has been de-chlorinated to maintain the microbial life. Simply storing water in open containers for several hours before diluting the tea will work, as the chlorine will naturally dissipate.




Liquid Organic Extracts vs. Compost Teas

Building on the concept of compost teas as a liquid organic extract, what are some other common organic extracts used as a liquid drench or foliar spray?

Herbal Tea

Plant-based extracts—stinging nettle, horse tail, comfrey, clover. A common method is to stuff a barrel about three-quarters full of fresh green plant material, then top off the barrel with tepid water. The tea is allowed to ferment at ambient temperatures for 3 to 10 days. The finished product is strained, then diluted in portions of 1:10 or 1:5 and used as a foliar spray or soil drench. Herbal teas provide a supply of soluble nutrients as well as bioactive plant compounds.
Liquid Manures

Mixtures of plant and animal byproducts steeped as an extract—stinging nettle, comfrey, seaweed, fish wastes, fish meal. Liquid manures are a blend of marine products (local fish wastes, seaweed extract, kelp meal) and locally harvested herbs, soaked and fermented at ambient temperatures for 3 to 10 days. Liquid manures are prepared similarly to herbal tea—the material is fully immersed in the barrel during the fermenting period, then strained and diluted and used as a foliar spray or soil drench. Liquid manures supply soluble nutrients and bioactive compounds.



Manure Tea

Manure tea, often referred to as compost tea, uses the waste products of an herbivore, or a plant-eating animal, to make liquid fertilizer. Cow, chicken, horse or rabbit manure becomes the basis for the brew. The manure is left to "age" for several months, because fresh manure is too strong to put directly on plants. The ideal aging method composts the manure by adding it to a compost bin or creating a manure compost bin. Composted or aged manure is steeped like passive compost tea. Manure compost tea should never be made with the waste of a carnivore or an omnivore, because that organic matter may contain pathogens that would contaminate food grown using the tea.


Summary

Compost teas and herbal teas are tools that can be made on the farm to enhance crop fertility and to inoculate the phyllosphere and rhizosphere with soluble nutrients, beneficial microbes, and the beneficial metabolites of microbes.
Caution

Wheareas raw animal manures are used as a compost windrow feedstock, the composting process—thermophyllic heating to 135-160° F for 10-15 days—assures pathogen reduction. The raw organic matter initially present in the compost windrow undergoes a complete transformation, with humus as an end product. Any pathogens associated with raw manures will be gone. So caution is extended: Manure teas are NOT the same thing as compost teas or compost extracts. Because of concerns over new pathogenic strains of E. coli, the author advises growers to reconsider manure teas and/or to work with a microbial lab to ensure a safe, worthwhile product.


Trough Method

Large-scale production of compost teas employs homemade tanks and pumps. An 8- or 12-inch-diameter PVC pipe is cut in half, drilled full of holes, and lined with burlap. Compost is placed in this makeshift trough. The PVC trough is supported above the tank, several feet in the air. The tank is filled with water, and microbial food sources are added as an amendment. A sump pump sucks the solution from the bottom of the tank and distributes the solution to a trickle line running horizontally along the top of the PVC trough filled with compost. As the solution runs through the burlap bags containing the compost, a leachate is created which then drops several feet through the air back into the open tank below. A sump pump in the bottom of the tank collects this "tea" and distributes it back through the water line at the top of the trough, and so on. Through this process, which lasts about seven days, the compost tea is recirculated, bubbled, and aerated. The purpose of the microbial food source is to grow a large population of beneficial microorganisms.




Commercial Tea Brewers

Commercial equipment is available for the production of brewed compost teas (see a list of suppliers below). Usually there is a compost sack or a compost leachate basket with drainage holes, either of which are used to hold a certain volume of compost. The compost-filled container is placed in a specially designed tank filled with chlorine-free water. Microbial food sources are added to the solution. A pump supplies oxygen to a specially-designed aeration device which bubbles and aerates the compost tea brewing in the tank.





















COMPOST TEA TO SUPPRESS PLANT DISEASE

By Vern Grubinger

Vegetable and Berry Specialist
University of Vermont Extension


There are many organic production techniques that are easy to recommend because they are proven to make ecological and economic sense. Crop rotation, cover cropping, and the use of beneficial insects to control greenhouse pests are a few that come to mind. Applying compost tea to suppress plant diseases is a practice that I would not yet put in the same category, but I hope to someday.
Why use compost tea? It’s long been recognized by organic growers and researchers that the use of compost can help prevent some plant diseases. So, it makes sense that liquids derived from compost could also have disease-suppressive characteristics. Besides stimulating growth, compost and compost ‘juice’ can also help fight off diseases by inoculating plants with beneficial organisms. Some of these good guys are bacteria and some are yeasts or fungi. These organisms are beneficial if they form a physical barrier against pathogens, or if they effectively compete with or attack the plant pathogens.
What is compost tea? Before going further, it’s important to explain what compost tea is, and what it isn’t. Compost tea is not the dark-colored solution that leaks out of the bottom of the compost pile. That’s called leachate, and although it may contain soluble nutrients it may also contain organisms that can cause illness so it isn’t suitable for spraying on food crops. Some people make compost tea to be the ‘extract’ of compost made by suspending compost in a barrel of water for a short period of time, usually in a burlap sack. The resulting liquid can then be applied as a soil or foliar fertilizer. To others, it’s not compost tea until the extract is fermented or ‘brewed’ usually with some type of microbial nutrient source such as molasses, kelp, fish byproducts, and/or humic acids.
Making the tea. Compost teas can be prepared using either an aerated or a non-aerated brewing process. Aerating means introducing oxygen into the tea, by injecting air or by showering recirculated tea through a porous bag of compost suspended over an open tank, for example. Non-aerated teas are made by simply mixing the compost, water, and other ingredients and allowing them to ferment with little or no disturbance. Both methods require a fermentation vessel, high-quality compost, water, incubation time, and filtration of the end product prior to foliar application through spray equipment.
It’s not clear whether it’s necessary to aerate during compost tea production. Aeration can speed up the production time, but it may also add to equipment cost and complexity. There are claims that aeration helps kill off the organisms that can cause illness. Very few studies have compared aerated and non-aerated compost teas.
Does it work? The answer is…it depends. It’s not easy to study how compost and compost teas affect plant pathogens. No two batches of compost are exactly alike, and teas can be made from compost using several different methods. This variability is one reason why research sometimes shows that compost tea suppresses disease, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Research results do suggest several factors that may enhance the effectiveness of compost tea for suppressing disease. One is the use of compost made from animal manures (horse, cattle and poultry) versus other kinds of compost feedstocks. The compost should not be more than 9 to 12 months old. With non-aerated compost tea, at least five to eight days fermentation time may be needed. For aerated compost tea, 24 to 48 hours of fermentation is considered sufficient. Once brewed, compost tea should be applied promptly. It has a short shelf life because available oxygen is used up and the tea turns anaerobic, killing the beneficial bacteria.
Keep it safe. There are food safety concerns about the use of compost tea in food crop production because it may be a source of illness-causing microbes like coliform bacteria or Salmonella. To reduce food safety risks, growers should follow the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board’s compost tea task force (on the web at: www.ams.usda.gov/nosb/meetings/CompostTeaTaskForceFinalReport .pdf)
which include:
* Use only potable water to make compost tea or to dilute it.
* Sanitize all of the equipment used to prepare compost tea.
* Make compost tea only from compost that has maintained a temperature of at least131 degrees F. for 3 days and has been mixed so all of the pile or windrow has heated up.
* Avoid additives when fermenting compost tea, as these can promote the growth of harmful organisms. In particular, simple sugar sources, like molasses, should be avoided.
* Additives can be used if sample batches of compost tea are tested before using it to make sure it meets the EPA’s recreational water quality guidelines for coliform bacteria.
* If compost tea is made with additives but is not tested, or if it doesn’t meet water quality guidelines, then food crops may not be harvested until 90 to 120 days after the compost tea has been applied
(as with raw manure use on organic farms).
Ask first, spray later. Since the National Organic Program of USDA has not officially adopted any compost tea guidelines as of this writing, organic farmers must check with their individual certification agency before making or using compost tea.
Some recent research. A 2-year study by the Rodale Institute and Pennsylvania State University evaluated the use of aerated compost tea for disease suppression and crop stimulation in grapes, potatoes, and pumpkins. They first prepared a compost tea by combining compost and water at a ratio of 9:1, and then adding other materials such as kelp, humic acid, and fish hydrolysate. The mixture was mechanically aerated to create aerobic conditions in the solution. The tea was analyzed and shown to contain an adequate population of beneficial organisms and a safe level of human pathogens.
Compost tea was applied in both years of the project. Pumpkin plots were evaluated for powdery mildew. Potato plots were evaluated for late blight. Grape plots were evaluated for powdery mildew, downy mildew, black rot and gray mold.
During year one, approximately 50% suppression of powdery mildew was observed in the compost tea treated grape plots. A slight reduction of gray mold, along with an increase in the level of downy mildew, was observed in the compost tea treated plot during the first year at one of the vineyards. Compost tea failed to suppress powdery mildew on Howden pumpkins in year one, but reduced the number and size of pathogen colonies in year two. Compost tea did not reduce severity of late blight on Superior potatoes when disease was present in year two.
The study found that compost tea offered more measurable benefits in stimulating crop growth, yield, and quality than in suppressing disease. The study’s conclusion makes sense: The efficacy, consistency, and practicality of using compost tea for disease management needs to evolve considerably before recommendations can be made to growers.



















The Compost Tea Brewing Manual




Fifth Edition
By
Elaine R. Ingham, PhD


We’ve come a long way since I started working on liquid extracts of compost in graduate school. At that
time, variability was too great, so we went on to other projects. In the last 10 years, however, methods for
making aerated compost teas have been determined, but the methods for producing not-aerated teas are
lacking. We need to know exactly how to produce consistent and reproducible teas of each kind. Exactly
what do the teas produced by not-aerated, anaerobic or fermented methods do to plants? How can we
consistently produce each kind, so the effects are predictable?


Aerated compost teas contain all the species of organisms that were in the compost. Thus the compost has
to be “tea-quality”. Those organisms selected by the temperature, foods present, nutrient composition,
oxygen content in the tea brew grow during the brewing process. When oxygen drops below a certain
level, nutrients can be lost and disease-causing organisms may grow. Oxygen content is critical, but so is
the diversity of aerobic organisms. The competitive set of organisms must be present to prevent pathogen
growth. The amount of food added must be limited to enough to attain maximum growth of desired
organisms but not so much that oxygen concentration drops below the aerobic level. Balance is critical –
maximize growth, but maintain aerobic conditions. Machine cleanliness is important too. Anaerobic
biofilms growing in the machine can result in poor quality tea. Documenting that a consistent, plant beneficial
product is always made is paramount.


Anaerobic teas require that low oxygen levels are reached, and this needs to be documented in order to
make the claim that this kind of product was made. Certain organisms make specific toxins which combat
disease- and pest-organisms. These toxins, like antibiotics, are only made in certain conditions. Machine,
recipe, oxygen management and compost used must be documented and understood. The biology in an
anaerobic tea is limited to basically anaerobic bacteria and yeasts. Since the set of organisms is so
significantly altered from what occurs in aerobic compost, anaerobically brewed teas should not be called
compost tea, but designated specifically as anaerobic tea.


Fermented, or plant, teas are typically produced by placing specific kinds or mixes of un-decomposed
plant materials in water. Compost is typically not even a part of the recipe, and thus should not be
confused with compost tea. Oxygen typically reaches low levels for several days to weeks, but not for the
full two to three week production period. The full food web of organisms is not present in fermented tea,
although typically some aerobic organisms return to activity as oxygen returns to the ferment.


Not-aerated compost teas typically do not have additional food resources added to the brew. The
likelihood that the tea will reach low oxygen levels or be anaerobic is minimal. The full food web may be
present if oxygen levels do not drop below aerobic levels. If the compost used was immature, enough
soluble foods may be released, organisms will grow rapidly, and the tea will drop into anaerobic oxygen
conditions. If the food web is lost, leaving only anaerobic bacteria, then the product should not be called a
compost tea. The potential variance in this product is significant, and much more work is needed.


There are many aerobic tea machine companies in the market, and many people are having great success in
improving plant production as a result. Soil Foodweb Inc has worked with most machine makers and
helped them to be successful. Bruce Elliot, Leon Hussey, Carole Ann Rollins, George Hahn, Shepard
Smith, Ray Gore, Steve Diver, Kirk Leonard and many others were important in improving our
understanding of compost tea machines and how they work. But other advancements in the area of notaerated
and purposefully anaerobic teas have yet to be explored.


Aerated compost tea can have amazing benefits for plant production, regardless of any negativity some
might have about this industry. To have consistently beneficial tea requires knowing what you are doing,
and that means being able to test and determine exactly what biology is present in the tea.
Compost tea “works” only because of the biology in them. Management is not possible if you can’t
measure that biology.


Anaerobic Tea

A brewed water-extract but foods are added (or from the compost) to result in organisms multiplying
rapidly, such that oxygen use is greater than oxygen diffusion into the water. The oxygen concentration
will drop, and if it drops below the threshold of 6 ppm, aerobic fungi, protozoa and nematodes will be lost,
replaced by strictly anaerobic bacteria and yeasts.

Manure Tea

Manure is added to water. If no mixing or stirring is used, only soluble nutrients will be extracted and the
tea will typically be high in nitrates, salts, phosphorus, and/or potassium. Antibiotics used in the animal
feed are soluble and so normally extracted into the water and can cause significant problems for
microorganisms in the liquid extract. If the manure tea is mixed or stirred, high numbers of anaerobic
bacteria will be extracted, since anaerobic bacteria are not as good at sticking to surfaces as aerobic
organisms. Manure tea contains high numbers of ciliates, extremely low fungal biomass, and can have high
numbers of nematodes. Human and animal pathogens can abound as well. At the very least, manure tea
cannot provide all the benefits possible from compost tea. Once manure is composted, then it should be
called compost.


Compost Extract

By running water at significant pressure through compost, the organisms and soluble nutrients can be
extracted from the solids, depending on the extraction force applied.

Compost Leachate
Passive movement of water through good compost removes soluble nutrients and a few organisms.
Leachate is not necessarily anaerobic, but can be if organisms in the compost are growing rapidly.
Phytotoxic compounds can be present and nutrients can be lost if the leachate becomes anaerobic. Soluble
nutrients, enzymes and hormones can benefit plant growth, of course, but care is also needed to make sure
salts (e.g., nitrates) are not present in the compost, as high levels can “burn” plant surfaces.


Plant (or Fermented) Tea

Fresh plant materials (e.g., nettles, chamomile, marigolds, and horsetail) can be added to water to remove
plant juices. Organisms on the surface of the plant material grow on the dead plant tissues and often go
anaerobic for a period of time. As the plant material is used up, organisms stop growing, allowing oxygen
to diffuse back into the tea. Usually high numbers of ciliates, extremely low fungal biomass, and many
bacteria are observed. Plant teas usually do not contain all the organisms in compost tea, nor provide all
the benefits possible from compost tea. Anti-microbial agents can be produced, and quite interesting
effects have been produced. More work is needed to achieve consistent production.

Bacterial Soups
As with plant tea, mixes of bacterial species can have specific beneficial impacts. Single species of
bacteria can produce bio-control effects, except the conditions in which a single species works is quite
limited. Addition of these cultures to compost tea can add functions to the tea, however.


Organisms and Food Resources

Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, soluble foods and other nutrients need to be extracted from compost
during tea brewing. The higher the quality of the compost, the greater will be the number of beneficial
species of each group of organisms. Diversity of food resources and nutrients will improve as more kinds
of plant materials are used in the composting process.


Additional foods are typically added in compost tea, some to grow the organisms in the tea brew, but others
are added to the finished tea, just before application, to enhance the activity of the organisms so they will
glue and bind themselves to foliage, for example. Foliar applications require maximum coverage of the
leaf surfaces, as well as maximum activity of the beneficial species.

Compost Quality

Compost quality is critical. Making certain that the compost has the organisms is extremely important.
Aerobic compost means a habitat has been maintained that allows the beneficial organisms to out-compete
the less or not-beneficial organisms that grow more rapidly in reduced oxygen conditions. The soluble
nutrients and foods in aerobic compost help make certain the organisms will grow in the tea brewing
process.

Additives of organisms, different kinds of foods, or nutrients can be used to improve conditions for
beneficial bacterial and fungal growth in compost, or even in compost tea. These additives need to be
checked for pathogens. Care needs to be taken to not add too much food resource. If excess is added,
bacterial and fungal growth will result in oxygen consumption to a detrimental level.

Aerobic Conditions
Aerobic conditions maintain the presence and growth of beneficial organisms. If aerobic conditions are
lost, and the tea becomes anaerobic or low oxygen concentrations, the aerobic organisms will be lost. If
there are few aerobic organisms, then the resulting brew cannot actually be compost tea. The organisms in
the compost have been lost, for the most part.
For that reason, anaerobic teas are not called compost teas, as the organisms which cause the beneficial
effects desired in compost tea will not be present. Anaerobic teas may do some interesting things, but they
cannot provide the benefits discussed below that are possible with aerobic compost teas.


Machine Testing

Tea-brewing machines must be tested to show that adequate biomass of all groups of necessary aerobic
organisms were present in the final tea. The testing conditions should use:
1. either the food resources sold by the tea machine maker, or a standard set of foods, such as 0.01% fish
hydrolysates and 0.01% humic acid (1 gal of fish, and 1 gal of humic acid in 100 gal of water),
2. compost with documented initial biology,
3. aerated conditions, such that oxygen remains in the aerobic ranges during the tea brew.
The data from these tests (a minimum of three replicated tests) must be available to the buyer, in order that
the buyer can assess whether this machine performs as advertised.

To obtain the full benefits possible from compost tea, the brewing process has to be aerobic. The balance
of amount and type of foods added determines oxygen demand by the organisms growing on those foods.
Testing of the machine must be displayed by the tea machine maker before anyone would consider buying
a machine labeled as compost tea maker. .
ASK FOR DATA so you don’t have to do this testing yourself. You need to know what amount of food to
put in the machine as temperatures change through the course of the year.


Anaerobic Conditions

Anaerobic teas are much less clearly defined than for aerobic tea. Sometimes compost tea may become
anaerobic for only a few minutes, for a few hours, or sometimes for days or weeks. Brief anaerobic periods
may increase diversity, if the aerobic organisms are not destroyed or put-to-sleep. Prolonged anaerobic
conditions mean that many organisms will become inactive or die, and that nutrients will be lost.


Anaerobic tea will not replenish the full soil food web, nor can it be a nutrient supplier. Anaerobic teas add
only anaerobic bacteria and yeasts. Leaf surfaces are aerobic environments, and anaerobic organisms do
not stay active nor will they perform their functions in aerobic environments. An anaerobic tea applied to
an aerobic environment may provide a physical barrier, for a short time, but that is the only function it
provides from a food web point of view.

Filamentous fungi that build soil structure and hold nutrients are lost, or become dormant, when conditions
become anaerobic. Aerobic bacteria that make micro-aggregates go into dormant stages in anaerobic
conditions, and therefore soil structure will not be maintained. Protozoa, nematodes and microarthropods
die in conditions that rapidly become anaerobic. Nutrient cycling will therefore no longer occur. in anaerobic conditions, nutrients are lost through volatilization, because major nutrients are converted to
gaseous forms in reduced oxygen, conditions. When you smell ammonia, rotten egg, vinegar, putrid, or
sour smells, pH is dropping, alcohol is being produced, and N, S, and P are lost as gases.


The work Soil Foodweb Inc. has done was to define production requirements for beneficial, diseasesuppressive,
nutrient retaining, nutrient cycling, and soil-structure building compost tea. Anaerobic tea
production parameters are still largely undefined, leaving us without a working knowledge of how to
predict whether the tea will “work”, or not.


Human Pathogens

A major concern is the potential for human pathogens to grow in compost tea. This can only be a concern
if the compost is not properly made. Elements in the USDA take the view that even with non-manure
materials, human beings could still contaminate compost starting materials. Therefore, all compost must be
properly treated (heat or worm contact). Even then, certain programs view compost as potentially
containing human pathogens, but they lack a realistic understanding of the environment in which we live.


If there are no detectable pathogens in the compost, and conditions during compost tea production are
managed to prevent pathogen growth, then the risk involved in pathogens in compost tea are minimal.
There would be more probability of a bird infecting your sandwich while it was sitting on a picnic table
than having pathogens grow in the aerobically maintained tea.
Therefore, understanding the conditions selecting against pathogen growth in compost tea is vital. These
conditions that select AGAINST human pathogen growth are:

1. Maintain aerobic conditions in order to select against pathogens, which are mostly facultative
anaerobes.
2. Make sure a huge diversity of aerobic bacteria and fungi are present, which compete-with
facultative-anaerobe-growth in all conditions in the tea brewer,
3. Make sure no anaerobic bio-films are left in the tea brewer after a tea brew.

Cleaning is an extremely important factor that many do not consider before buying a machine. No one
wants to spend hours cleaning a machine. The greater the number of “hidden-from-view” surfaces present,
the longer it will take to clean the machine. Don’t trust manufacturers to tell you the truth about cleaning
issues. Talk to someone who owns the machine, and who tests their tea. They will relate how critical
testing and cleaning actually are.


What Growers Need to Know

The point of applying compost tea is to return the biology that should be present, to grow the desired plants
with as little effort as possible. There can be no question that presence of beneficial organisms improves
plant growth (Ingham et al, 1985, USDA Soil Biology Primer, 1995 and numerous papers on the benefits of
biology to plant growth since that time).
Growers need to know:

1. The biology that should be present in their soils and plant surfaces.
2. If they know what should be there, then they can determine what biology is missing from their
soil.
3. What organisms are in the compost. Selection for bacterial or fungal growth can be managed
during the compost tea brewing process by adding appropriate foods.
4. The tea sprayer does not kill the organisms in the tea
5. Delivery of the missing organisms, along with foods, has been successful.

Beneficial bacteria and fungi are needed to immobilize nutrients, to prevent erosion and run-off by gluing
and binding soil particles together to form aggregates, to compete with disease organisms for food, to build
soil structure and to allow roots of plants to grow deep into soil and find water and nutrients. Protozoa,
nematodes and microarthropods consume bacteria and fungi, and thus release nutrients at the place, time
and rates that plants require.

A maximum diversity of each of the sets of beneficial organisms is needed in soil and on plant surfaces.


Each combination of environmental conditions selects for the activity of at least several hundred species of
bacteria and fungi, several tens of species of protozoa, nematodes and microarthropods. There are always
organisms performing their function, until the conditions become so extreme that all activity shuts down,
such as when soil freezes, or moisture drops very low. Diversity is necessary, and the way to replenish that
diversity is by using compost made with a wide range of plant materials, or compost tea, made from properly processed compost.

Even “pest” species should be present, in low numbers and low diversity, because they have a function in
soil. Pests are designed to remove stressed plants, for example, and as such, are indicators that the soil food
web is not healthy.

There might be a few disease organisms present in soil and compost. What is a disease in one system may
be a beneficial organism in another system. Dormant stages of many organisms survive the composting process, but are not active and do not often cause disease.

The ratios of the different groups must be managed to promote the soil conditions that select for the growth
of the particular species of plant desired. For more information about the soil food web, check www.soilfoodweb.com for references, textbooks and publications.


The Habitat Must Select for Beneficials
The habitat in compost and in compost tea needs to select for beneficial organisms and suppress disease
organisms. Most plant and human pathogens require reduced oxygen conditions in order to be highly
competitive. Since most beneficials require fully aerobic conditions to function, when oxygen becomes
limiting, pathogens win in anaerobic, or reduced oxygen, conditions.


The factors that must be considered for making certain the habitat is correct for beneficial organisms are:

1. The foods used in the compost or the compost tea need to be selective for the beneficial
organisms, not the disease organisms (see Recipe section).
2. The proper set of organisms needs to be present for the foods to be consumed, and for processes to
occur.
3. Temperatures between 65 and 85 F in tea, salts within range, nitrates and sulfur less than 3 ppm
and no toxic levels of any material.

With adequate extraction, compost tea will contain what was in the compost. If there are no human
pathogens in the compost, then there will be no human pathogens in the compost tea made from that compost. Thus, compost quality is critical when making compost tea. This means we need to have standards for the biology in compost as well as in the compost tea.


Figure 1. A Soil Foodweb Diagram demonstrates the relationships between the sets of organisms
(functional groups in boxes) needed in most crop, grassland, and vegetable soils to grow plants without
requiring pesticides or inorganic fertilizers




Is Compost Tea A Fertilizer?

Nutrients are removed when crops are harvested. These nutrients need to be replenished or “put back” into
the soil. Even better, fertility should increase with time. Soils in natural systems increase in nutrient
concentration as succession proceeds, but this doesn’t occur in conventional agriculture, because erosion,
run-off, leaching and compaction result in loss of nutrients from the soil.


Why does this happen? What changes? The organisms that should hold both soil and nutrients in place are
destroyed in conventional agriculture:

1. by tillage, which slices, dices and crushes the organisms,
2. by use of pesticides which kill far more than just the target organism species,
3. by use of high levels of inorganic fertilizers (which are salts, all of them, killing organisms
through osmotic removal of water), and
4. by compaction which changes oxygen content in the soil, resulting in conversion of organisms
metabolism from aerobic to anaerobic species. The problem is, those nutrients will not be held in
a biology-poor soil, resulting in nutrient pollution of surface and ground waters, and atmosphere.


Because of all these losses, conventional chemical systems require 150 to 200 pounds – or more! -of N, to
be “added back” to the soil each cropping cycle. In sustainable systems, where the biology is managed
properly, and holds nutrients, only the nutrients removed through harvest must be replaced. Based on
nitrogen (N) content in plant material, for example, only 15 grams of N per ton of plant material is

removed. Therefore, in an orchard where perhaps 4 tons of fruit per acre is removed per acre, only 4 times
15, or 60 grams of N per acre is needed to replace that removed by harvest. Why are some conventional
orchardists putting 1000 pounds of fertilizer per acre on their orchards each year?

The “worst case scenario” with respect to harvest removal of nutrients is production of silage, where 200
tons of plant material may be removed per acre. At these high rates, 200 times 15, or 3,000 grams of N (3
kg of N) would need to be added back per acre.

Can compost tea supply those needs? The surprising answer to this question is yes. Not in the standard
“fertilizer” form (nitrate), however, but as organic N, held by the biology in organic matter and microbial,
biological forms.


Most people have been told that compost is not a fertilizer. That statement can only be made if only
soluble, inorganic nutrient values are used. The fertilizer industry has pushed to define N as only nitrate,
possibly nitrite, and maybe ammonium, the inorganic forms of N. While this is based on the soluble forms
of N that most vegetable and row crop plants take up through their roots, it is far from the only source of N in soil.

If the full soil food web is present, then forms of N that are not nitrate, nitrite or ammonium will be cycled into these soluble forms by the organism. And not just N, but any not-soluble form of any nutrient will eventually be converted from its non-soluble form to the plant-available, soluble form by the organisms cycling system in a healthy soil. Phosphorus, for example, is converted from not plant available forms (in
rocks, in sand, silt, and clay, in humic materials, in organic matter, in dead plant material) into organism biomass and then be consumed by predators which results in release of plant-available forms of the nutrient.

If the organisms that perform these cycling processes have been destroyed by agricultural “management”,
then nutrients cannot be processed from not-plant-available forms into plant available forms. Leaching,
erosion, and compaction then result in loss of the remaining nutrients from the soil, and plant production
will suffer. The engineering and chemical answer is to load more and more soluble, inorganic nutrients
into the soil, while bemoaning the fact that water quality suffers. These sciences have ignored the fact that
natural systems manage to hold nutrients, manage to produce clean water, and produce higher plant yields
than any agricultural system.


Plans for cleaning up nutrients using mechanical filtration systems (requiring engineers to design, build and
maintain them), using soil-less mixes have been suggested as solutions to the water quality problem, all the
while ignoring that nature has been successfully feeding everyone since life began on this planet. We have
all the food we need; it is social systems that prevent people from having food. The human system needs to
be fixed, not the plant production system. We need to learn the lessons nature puts in front of us everyday


Nutrient Pools in Compost

Why is it that when you send a sample into a soil chemistry lab, compost will always be reported as being
low in nitrogen? First, soil chemistry labs may remove the obvious organic matter as soon as the sample
arrives, because their methods cannot extract minerals from large chunks of organic matter. They typically
dry the sample and then use extracting agents to remove the soluble forms of the nutrients from the soil
solution (soluble pool), or remove the “exchangeable” forms of nutrients from the surfaces of the clays,
silts, sands and organic matter.

Does either approach to extracting nutrients assess bacteria? Fungi? Protozoa, nematodes or
microarthropods? No. Nutrients in humus are not extracted either. Nor nutrients in parent material. Only
the nutrients that are soluble (dissolved in water) or that can be extracted from the SURFACES of sand, silt
and clay particles and organic matter are pulled from the soil. The exact value obtained for any nutrient
also depends on the extracting agent used. Some extractants pull more nutrients than others, so in order to
compare one lab’s results with another’s, the extractants used must be known..

What test tells you what the plant will take up? Neither soluble nutrient pool concentration nor exchangeable nutrient pool concentrations will tell you what the plant will take up. Water soluble nutrients concentrations (N or P, or S, for examples) just indicate what is dissolved in water, right now. The plant may not be able to take up any of that if osmotic concentration is too high. If salt content is too high, water
is held by the salts, and the plant cannot access either nutrients or water.


Soluble nutrient concentration does not predict what the plant will take up. It does not predict what
nutrients will be solubilized in the next instant. To predict what will be made available to plants requires
knowledge of what plant material is present as food for the microbes (how active will the bacteria and fungi
be?), what population of bacteria and fungi are present that can solubilize nutrients from parent material,
from humus and dead plant material, what population of predators of bacteria and fungi are present and
how active they are consuming bacteria and fungi, and releasing soluble nutrients.


Consider the following information based on extractions of nutrients from soil. The original soil contained
on average only 1.8 ug of phosphate per gram (ppm) of soil. Rock phosphate and compost were added to
achieve a value of 75 ppm phosphate, on average. Two weeks later, soil from the same field was sampled
using the same methods and phosphate was 200 ppm. Bacteria has decreased slightly, and fungi had
increased by nearly 2-fold. Nothing was added to the field in the intervening 2 weeks. No fertilizer, no
pesticides, no tillage, no seed, just grass growing in the field.


Where did the “extra” phosphate come from? Did the lab have a problem? “Messed up” in their
assessment? Which time?

Think it through. Plants were growing, making exudates, feeding bacteria and fungi in the root system.
Phosphate was solubilized from a plant-not-available pool. Organisms solubilize many nutrients. If the organisms are present, and have foods, they will perform nutrient cycling processes.

What then is the chemistry information that we need in order to predict what will become available to
plants through the course of a growing season? If we know the extractant methods used (see right hand
side of Figure 3), we can properly interpret what part of the nutrient pool is being assessed by any soil
chemistry test. If we then know the biology in that soil or compost, the activity of the bacteria and fungi,
the activity of the predators, then we can begin to predict the rate at which N, or P, or other nutrients will
become available for plant use. Examination of any of the journals in the area of soil ecology, e.g., Applied
Soil Ecology, or Soil Biology and Biochemistry, or Biology and Fertility of Soil, will reveal that this area
of investigation is beginning to be understood.

The problem in agriculture has not been a lack of nutrients, but a lack of the proper biology to make those
nutrients available to plants. The total extractable nutrient level is in excess in most soils examined so far.
But the biology has been destroyed.

Similarly, compost contains plant-available (soluble) nutrients, exchangeable nutrients but an even greater
pool of plant-not-available nutrients that will only be made available as the bacteria and fungi in the
compost solubilize those nutrients, and then protozoa, nematodes and microarthropods release those
nutrients from the bacteria and fungi.


Compost contains both excellent biomass of organisms (bacterial and fungal biomass both in excess of 300
micrograms per gram, protozoa in excess of 50,000 individuals per gram, and nematodes in excess of 60
per gram) and high levels of total extractable nutrients (16,000 micrograms of N per gram of compost,
9,000 micrograms of P, and similar levels for most other nutrients).


Compost tea contains soluble nutrients extracted from the compost. Nearly all of the soluble and
exchangeable pools will be extracted, plus perhaps 50% of the total pool in compost, based on assessment
of the compost after tea production. For example, an assessment performed by the Environmental Analysis
Lab at Southern Cross University showed that the three pools (as shown in Fig 2 above) in a good compost
contained about 286 micrograms of soluble N per gram dry weight of compost, about 340 ug of
exchangeable N, and 17,000 ug of total extractable N per gram of compost.


That means, in a compost tea (2000 L or 500 gal of water using 15 pounds or about 7 kg of compost),
approximately 45,500 micrograms of N were released into the 2000 L of water. One application of
compost tea would supply a small but significant amount of N. And even more, when soil organic matter is
present, and humic materials were added in the compost tea, a continuing supply of N would be provided to
the plants through the nutrient cycling processes the biology provides.


Several compost tea applications could supply all the N a crop needed. But even more, a single application
of one ton of compost plus compost tea could supply everything a crop needed, from nutrients to disease
protection to weed prevention.


Compost contains many years worth of any nutrient. As long as the biology remains un-compromised by
toxic chemical additions, the organisms will cycle those nutrients into plant-available forms. This strongly
suggests that compost is a fertilizer; an organic fertilizer. Compost tea will contain many, but not all, of the
nutrients that were in the compost. Compost quality is critical to understand, in order that we can
maximize nutrient concentrations in the tea. Understanding the role of the organisms is all important,
therefore.

Natural systems don’t require additions of inorganic, soluble (and thus very leachable) forms of nutrients to
maintain productivity. The most productive systems on this planet are systems which do not have, and
have not ever had, inorganic fertilizer applied.

If we want clean water, we have to get the biology back in our soils. If we want to grow and harvest crops,
we have to build soil and fertility with time, not destroy it. The only way to reach these endpoints is to
improve the life in the soil.








Tea recipe's




Mix # 1

1 tablespoon per gallon bat guano ( Indonesian or Mexican guano ) depending on cycle
1 tablespoon per gallon Ancient Forest
1 tablespoon per gallon unsulphered molasses's
2 tablespoon per gallon worm castings
1 tablespoon per gallon ( fish emulsion/ kelp mix )

Hang all dry mix in pantyhose HEAVILY aerated and pour in liquids. I let go for 24hrs.



Mix # 2

Vegetation cycle AACT tea:

1 cup of earthworm castings
1/4 cup kelp meal
1/4 cup fish fish hydrolysate
1/2 teaspoon pure humic acid
1 tablespoon soft rock phosophate
2 tablespoons organic alfalfa meal
1 teaspoon molasses

I put everything in a stocking in a DIY five gallon brewer with a 77lpm air pump using a PVC air diffuser on the bottom of the bucket filled with well water to 6-8" below the brim at 70° for 24 hours and dilute brewed tea at a 10:1 ratio with well water for drench and foliar applications.



Mix # 3


I use 2/3 cup of
Peruvian seabird guano
Jamaican bat guano
Worm castings.
5 tbs of maxicrop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract.
I also add 5 tbs of liquid karma
5 tbs blackstrap molasses.
Mix into 5 gallons of dechlorinated water.
I let it brew for two days and then use.

This is the flower mix I use with every watering. The veg mix is the same except for 1/3 cup of each and instead of jamaican bat guano use Mexican.






Mix # 4

Here's an effective fungal tea for flowering:

6 tbsps of liquid hydrolyzed fish fertilizer
6 tbsps earthworm castings
6 tbsps Dr.Earth Bud and Bloom Fertilizer
2 tbsps molasses.

Add to ~5 gallons of water and aerate for 18 hours at 75°, dilute 3:1 with water for drench applications.

Fungal teas are important during the flowering phase as fungal microbes play a major role in the uptake of phosphorus



Mix #5

Per gallon of water:

2 TBS Alfalfa Meal
3 TBS Worm Castings
1 TBS Kelp Meal
1 tsp Molasses

Shake it up in a bottle with good water as many times a day as you can remember too, pour it from container to container to aerate a bit.
I use it within 18 to 24 hours. Beyond that it goes from smelling real earthy and rich (good, especially when it fizzes little bubbles) to smelling like death rolled in mierda. Sorry, but it does. Too stoned=rotten tea...Good Tea=Stoned too good


Mix #6

1 tbs rabbit poo
1 tbs alfalfa
1 tbs kelp
1 tbs ewc
2 tbs molasses
& when the extra nitrogen is needed
1 tbs fish emulsion

usually this is brewed & applied right from the container, i believe its a 30 something gallon container with excellent results

Mix #7

1 tbsp liquid karma
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp of Maxicrops Liquid seaweed
about 1/8 cup of Jamaican Bat Guano, Worm Castings and Peruvian Seabird Guano

all this gets mixed strait into about 2 gallons of well water where it stays for about 24 hours with a air stone running in the bottom, getting stirred occasionally.

Afterwards I dip up what I plan on using for my cannabis plant/plants and pour it out into another wide mouthed gallon container (leaving the bulk of the solids in the bottom of the bucket). I ph the mixture if needed to get it in the correct range and water away (sometimes I cut the tea with more water depending on what the plant can handle). I have given a second life to a burnt plant with this mixture and can't wait to try a similar brew on more plants from start to finish.
I take whats left of the brew and water it down and use it outside in the garden for some of the best organic fruit and vegies ever!



Mix #8

4 handfuls of soil secrets tpp compost
4 handfuls of soil secrets earth magic ( blend of cultured humus, worm castings, rock dust, black kelp green kelp local new mexico soil borne organisms mychorrizal propagules and root tissues.
4 handfuls of soil secrets protein crumbles (vegetable proteins and seaweed/kelp
2 handfuls of Peruvian seabird guano
8 tbsp high brix molasses
in a sock with a rock and 4 in air stone 8l per hr of air pumped through



Mix #9

1 cup quality earthworm castings
5 TBS black-strap molasses
5 TBS Liquid Karma(just started this recently
5 gallons H2o

Aerate for a day or two, and feed. I especially like ewc tea for my seedlings and fresh rooted clones, or anytime I want to add benny's to my soil.


Mix #10
1 cup high bacterial compost
1 cup high fungal compost
5 TBS black strap molasses
5 TSP kelp extract
5 gallons H20

I like to add compost teas to my soil every two or three weeks. Sometimes I'll go more bacterial, other times higher fungal, but this is a good proportionate mix. You could probably cut back on the compost a bit, to 1/2 a cup of each.

Mix #11

1 cup alfalfa meal
2 TBS epsom salt
5 Gallon H2o

in
That's it. Stir occasionally, but no need to aerate as I'm not trying to increase microbial population, but rather the benefits of the nutrient values. I usually use this mix in veg when my plants look like they need a kick of N.

1/2 TSP kelp extract(either maxicrop or KIS soluble seaweed)
1 gallon H20

I use the kelp as a foliar spray for my clones, during veg, and also for the first two weeks of flower. Kelp is full of good stuff.


Mix #12

!/3 of each ewc, high N or P guano, depending on stage of the plant, and sea bird guano(either 10-10-10, or 10-8-2), so 1/3-2/3 a cup of each
5 TSP kelp extract
5 TBS black strap molasses
5 TBS Liquid Karma
5 gallons H2o




OrganicOzarks Tea mix

Veg:
5- gallons of well water (I love living in the Country)
1- cup high N bat Guano
1/2 cup alfalfa meal
1- cup worm castings
1- cup composted turkey litter
1- cup Alaska Forest Humus
2-3 Tables spoons of fish/kelp meal emulsion type shit 2-1-2
2-3 tablespoons of humic acid
3-4 tablespoons of molasses

I brew for 24 hours, and water into the soil once per week.

Foliar feeding for veg:
I use the same mix as above, but also mix in
2- tablespoons of 5-1-1 fish emulsion per gallon in the sprayer
1/4 teaspoon of ThermX 70 for a surfactant

Flower:
5- gallons of well water (I love living in the Country)
1- cup high P bat Guano
1- cup worm castings
1- cup composted turkey litter
1- cup Alaska Forest Humus
2-3 Tables spoons of fish/kelp meal emulsion type shit 2-1-2
2-3 tablespoons of humic acid
3-4 tablespoons of molasses

I brew for 24 hours, and water into the soil once per week.



Other teas

To prevent foaming, add 1 tsp. vegetable oil.
* = optional ingredients

Bacterial Tea
  • 4 cups Earthworm Castings or other forms of bacterially dominated compost
  • 2 tbsp. molasses or other complex liquid sugars (honey, agave, natural syrups,or fruit juices)
  • .5 oz Soluble Kelp
  • *1-2 oz. (2-4 tbsp.) liquid plant extract (made from comfrey, nettle, or dandelion)
  • *.5 oz Fish Hydrolysate
  • 4-5 gal Chlorine-free Water
Brew for 24 - 48 hours and apply to root or leaf zone; tea must be kept aerated until it is applied.



Balanced Tea (Bacteria to Fungi)
  • 2 cups Earthworm Castings or other forms of bacterially dominated compost
  • 2 cups Humus or other form of fungi dominated compost
  • .5 oz Soluble Kelp
  • .5 oz Fish Hydrolysate
  • 1 oz Humic Acids
  • *1-2 oz. (2-4 tbl.) liquid plant extract (made from comfrey, nettle, or dandelion)
  • 4-5 gal Chlorine-free Water
Brew for 12 - 48 hours and apply within 72; tea must be kept aerated until it is applied.



Fungi Tea
  • 4 cups Humus or mature fungi dominated compost
  • 1 oz Humic Acids
  • .5 oz Fish Hydrolysate
  • .5 oz Soluble Kelp
  • *1 tbsp. Rock Phosphate Powder
  • *2-3 tbsp. flour (oat or wheat)
  • 4-5 gal Chlorine-free Water
Brew for 24-48 hours and apply within 72; tea must be aerated up until it is applied. To increase the fungal biomass, treat compost with .5 oz kelp, .25 oz Fish Hydrolysate 24-48 hours before brewing.



Other Tea Blends
Guano Tea

  • 4 - 8 tbl. Bat or Seabird Guano of choice
  • *2 tbsp. complex liquid sugars (molasses, honey, agave, natural syrups,or fruit juices)
  • *.5 oz Soluble Kelp
  • 4-5 gal Chlorine-free Water
Brew for 12 - 48 hours; tea must be kept aerated until it is applied. Apply to root zone.



Alfalfa Tea
  • 1 cup ground Alfalfa meal
  • * 1 - 4 cups Earthworm Castings or mature compost
  • *2 tbsp. molasses or other complex liquid sugars
  • *.5 oz Soluble Kelp
  • 4-5 gal Chlorine-free Water
Brew for 12 - 24 hours; tea must be kept aerated until it is applied. Apply to root zone. Alfalfa tea is good source of vitamins A and B; Folic acids, Amino acids, crude proteins, high Nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P), potassium(K), calcium(Ca), magnesium(Mg), sulphur(S), Manganese(Mn), iron(Fe), copper(Cu), boron(B), and zinc(Zn).



Liquid Plant Extract
  • 5 Gallon Garden Tea Brewer
  • Young Comfrey, Nettle, and/or Dandelion leaves
  • 4-5galChlorine-free Water
Instructions: Fill a 5 gallon bucket (loosely) with chopped/ crushed young Comfrey, Nettle, or Dandelion leaves. Faster fermentation will occur if the stems and leaves are bruised. Fill the rest of the bucket with chlorine free water, cover, place in a shaded area, and brew for 2 weeks in warm weather (70 - 90% water temp) or 4-5 weeks in cool weather (50 - 70%). This mix can sit without active aeration and ferment with time. Warning! If making plant extracted teas without active aeration, teas will smell like an open sewer throughout fermentation and when finished. The end product will be a dark concentrated liquid fertilizer. After the fermentation period strain liquid and squeeze the remnants to extract as much juice as possible. Feed the solid wastes to your compost pile. Filter and store tea in a cool dark place or in refrigeration. All of the above listed plant extracts are an excellent stand-alone fertilizer for many annuals and perennials.

  • Comfrey tea is a good source of vitamin A and C; calcium(Ca), phosphorus(P), potassium(K), along with many trace minerals.
  • Nettle tea is good source of vitamins A, C, and K; calcium(Ca), magnesium(Mg), phosphorus(P), potassium(K), boron(B), bromine(Br), copper(Cu), iron(Fe), selenium(Se), silicon(Si), and zinc(Zn).
  • Dandelion tea is a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium(Ca), and potassium(K).
Application: Filtered liquid extracts should be diluted to a tea color, at a rate of 1 tsp. tea extract to 1 gallon chlorine-free water. Plant extracts can be diluted at ratios up to 15:1 depending on maturity and phase of plant growth (1 part filtered extract to 15 parts water).





here are a few good links

microbeorganics.com

compost tea sticky

DIY ACT brewer sticky





If you guys have any good info or any good recipes you would like to add please post it up and ill add it in the original post
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:53 AM #2
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excellent info joe fresh
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:06 AM #3
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thx,if anyone has their own special tea recipe they would like me to add plz post
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Phytophythora - "The Plant Destroyer"

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Salt Tolerance of Plants in Soil

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Old 02-07-2012, 02:12 AM #4
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Well in reality, if the goal is to increse microbial biomass (MB) while providing nutrition, the best carbohydrates to use are a mix of the monosaccharide Glucose (dextrose) and water-soluble polysaccharides to increase MB. Molasses is mainly the disaccharide Sucrose, not a particularly good carbohydrate for building MB, not horrid either.

Also when it comes to disease suppression, specifically AERATED compost tea has beneficial results, while non-aerated results are significantly less illustrious. The use of the additives Ascophyllum nodosum (over other kelps & yeast/fish/protein hydroslate), Humic Acids, and wetting and sticking agents (usually saponins) have all shown to significantly increase the efficiency of the disease suppression. Ascophyllum nodosum alone has many documented studies showing its effects on disease suppression. The use of Ascophyllum Nodosum over other species of kelp is suggested since it has the highest nutrient content out of all seaweeds and has particularly high cytokinin levels, which is more beneficial to apply to cannabis over kelps high in Gibberellins and/or Auxins. Cold processed Ascophyllum nodosum will have more nutrients than an alkali extract. also enzymatically processed extracts are redundant since the microbes will process the seaweed in a similar way.
https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=225876

Something else i dont see mentioned much is the significant effects that pH and temperature have on compost teas. As far as i understand it, you want the pH and temperature of your tea to mimic the environment the tea will be applied to, to cultivate microbes that will thrive in in the environment the tea will be applied to.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:40 AM #5
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Originally Posted by joe fresh View Post
De-chlorination of tap water is easy: Let a bucket of tap water sit for a few hours before using it to steep or to dilute compost tea. The chlorine will naturally dissipate, leaving the water safe to use.
As far as im aware, most municipal water sources are also treating with monochloramines which take several days to dissipate even in water that is aerated and/or in high-intensity light environments.

IIRC Microbeman suggests the use of molasses to chelate/complex chlorine/monochloramines in water sources. cant remember application rates.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:49 AM #6
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THX DK....much appreciated for the added in info
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:37 PM #7
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Originally Posted by dizzlekush View Post
As far as im aware, most municipal water sources are also treating with monochloramines which take several days to dissipate even in water that is aerated and/or in high-intensity light environments.
For sure. It takes 2 to 3 days for muni water here to clear naturally. I pour 5 ml of TapWater Dechloronator into a 50 gal rez and issue is solved in about 15 seconds. Its aquarium store stuff for the fish. $7 treats 2400 gal. Its a nobrainer for me.

Great thread by the way. This one is shaping up to be a keeper!

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Old 02-07-2012, 04:49 PM #8
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the first half of this article is a pretty good intro to the subject. i appreciate all the links and citations.

i'm a extremely skeptical of some of the recipes, however. I'm not sure why you'd make the point to differentiate between nutrient solutions and ACT, and then post a bunch of recipes with guano, alfalfa, etc. also the ratios on some of those are whack. they need some citation at the very least.

check out and post a link to microbeorganics.com, the ACT recipe and all of the content on that site is backed by direct microscopy. direct microscopy should be the starting point and bare minimum requirement of any published/recommended ACT recipe in my opinion.

also, the compost tea sticky and the DIY ACT brewer sticky from the organic soil forum should be of interest to folks.

here's a really solid recipe from microbeorganics.com, proven effective by rigorous testing and direct observation microscopy:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Microbeman View Post
1 gallon = 16 cups = 256 tablespoons

2.38% by volume compost or vermicompost (EWC) per gallon = .38 cups or around half a cup max or about 2 cups in 5 gallons max.

0.5 to 0.75% molasses by volume per gallon = 1.28 to 1.92 tablespoons per gallon. 0.75% is the maximum I use. It is a good bacterial and fungal food.

0.063% fish hydrolysate by volume per gallon = 0.16 tablespoon = 0.479 teaspoons or half a teaspoon

0.25% (max) kelpmeal by volume per gallon = 0.64 tablespoon or half a tablespoon
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:12 PM #9
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My "right now" compost tea recipes.

Veg:
5- gallons of well water (I love living in the Country)
1- cup high N bat Guano
1/2 cup alfalfa meal
1- cup worm castings
1- cup composted turkey litter
1- cup Alaska Forest Humus
2-3 Tables spoons of fish/kelp meal emulsion type shit 2-1-2
2-3 tablespoons of humic acid
3-4 tablespoons of molasses

I brew for 24 hours, and water into the soil once per week.

Foliar feeding for veg:
I use the same mix as above, but also mix in
2- tablespoons of 5-1-1 fish emulsion per gallon in the sprayer
1/4 teaspoon of ThermX 70 for a surfactant

Flower:
5- gallons of well water (I love living in the Country)
1- cup high P bat Guano
1- cup worm castings
1- cup composted turkey litter
1- cup Alaska Forest Humus
2-3 Tables spoons of fish/kelp meal emulsion type shit 2-1-2
2-3 tablespoons of humic acid
3-4 tablespoons of molasses

I brew for 24 hours, and water into the soil once per week.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:38 PM #10
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thx for all the contributions, much apreciated.

right now i am using Canadian maple syrup as a replacement for molasses, i just happen to have about 25 cans left over, lol....i find it works really good, but maybe someone with more scientific knowledge of products could tell me how my maple syrup matches up against molasses ?
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FRESH BEANS Co.(COMMING THIS SUMMER)
Quote:
“If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” - Mark Twain
Quote:
NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT, HE WILL LOWER YOU TO HIS LEVEL AND BEAT YOU BY EXPERIENCE
The Fresh spot

Phytophythora - "The Plant Destroyer"

Pythium Root Rot in Soil and Hydroponic Applications

Salt Tolerance of Plants in Soil

Pour Thru Method for testing soil PH and EC

Substrate pH: Getting it Right for Your Crops

Marijuana Documentaries
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