TheLorax
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DIY Aerated compost tea suggestions wanted

Aerated compost tea questions

I have a 5 gallon bucket and figured that would do. Suppose I could pick up a 10 gallon bucket if it was necessary. I also have a whisper 400 pump and air bubbler used when we had goldfish. Plenty of panty hose (compost socks) around here that I saved that could be hung over the edge of a bucket to act as a tea bag. I have no desire to incur the expense of purchasing commercial brewing equipment.

Ran into some [url=https://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach_pgs/c_03a_aerated_tea.html]good information[/url] online-

https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/composttea.html

Am leaning toward the KISS version-

[url=https://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_soil_water_other/article/0,,hgtv_3635_5717501,00.html]HGTV[/url]

I’ve been wanting to try to my hand at aerated compost tea for a while and would like to know how others are doing this using readily available materials. If you are making your own aerated compost tea, would you please describe your set up and also please share your recipe?

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applestar
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I've only made 2 batches so far, you understand, but by now, you realize I compulsively share my ideas :wink:

SO, I've been making mine by putting a shovelful of compost in the 5-gal bucket, filling to almost the top with water, putting in the aquarium pump airtube and stone, weighted with a handy broken part of birdfeeder so it stays at the bottom, then covering with a piece of burlap folded twice (in quarters), tied on with strawbale twine. The burlap keeps out the mosquitoes, and, when the tea is ready, I can just strain it out directly into the watering can. I strain it again with an old tea strainer if I want to to put the tea in a fine-mist sprayer for foliar spraying, but the 4-layer burlap does a decent job and doesn't clog the watering can rose. I can keep adding water through the burlap as I use the tea. When the tea becomes weak and the compost is used up, I strain all the tea out, then dump the used-up compost on the burlap to dry a bit in the sun before mixing it back into the compost pile. The burlap is, of course, reusable. :D (BTW, it's not a big thing, but I take the tube off the aerator unit when I'm tipping the bucket, so the tube is hanging from the bucket but won't get tangled up nor accidentally pull the aerator off the bench and get broken on the brick patio....)

I was intrigued by the additional ingredients listed in one of your links. I just used up my last batch of tea compost so I'm going to try this new recipe. 8)

TheLorax
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I figured there had to be somebody who was doing DIY. I got a look at some of the prices for actual brewing equipment and wasn't that happy. Assumed there had to be a much easier way to do this without having to get too technical or into costly equipment.

The burlap is a good idea. I have an old window screen that I had considered using but the burlap probably works better as it could be tied down where the screen would have to be laid over another bucket.

Was it the "fishy parts" or the alfalfa pellets that intrigued you?

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applestar
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Well, my immediate response was to the alfalfa pellets because I had JUST sprinkled them around the corn and sunflowers and then watered in with compost tea the other day. The sardines and anchovies, etc. -- the idea DID catch my interest, but I'm not sure if I have the "guts" to do that... sounds too "fishy" to me. (Pun intended -- sorry, I'm in one of my moods. :roll: :wink:) Besides, there will be howls of protest from the kitties if they saw me toss a perfectly good can of fish in a bucket of compost tea! :lol: Also, I'm trying to keep the neighbors cats OUT of my yard, remember?

TheLorax
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I'm going to try the canned Mackerel. I was intrigued by the addition of "fishy parts". I've never found canned stinky "fishy parts" to be good for anything other than trying to nurse sick cats back to health until possibly now. Just opening the can made me feel nauseous and I like most fish. I would risk bombarding my senses by opening a can to experiment with it in aerated compost tea.

This is what I use to keep stray and feral cats out of my yard-
https://www.flemingoutdoors.com/hava-hart-traps.html

Yes, I remember you have a problem with stray cats. Poor you. Cats aren't exactly an integral component of sustainable permaculture practices but you'd certainly be able to experiment with all the fun "fishy parts" as well as the alfalfa pellets with no howls from protesting felines if you used the above.

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applestar
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Found this link: https://au.youtube.com/watch?v=BXGqJbFZzCo :shock:
Here: https://forums.permaculture.org.au/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7560

My thought was I want a "diffuser" like that. I've been using the aerator "stone" that came with the aquarium pump, but that looks much more efficient -- bubbles ALL OVER the bucket. I think all it takes is extra tubing (with holes -- thinking red hot needle -- a nod to your meat fork) and some T connectors.

TheLorax
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I'll have to watch the video later but which recipe in particular at your second link caught your attention?

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applestar
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I've been itching to make that compost tea. Compost in bin#2 is coming along nicely, and I think I'll finally get the chance to start my brew today. :D Right now, I'm thinking of adding alfalfa pellets and 1 Tbs. of molasses. I might also add a packet of agar-agar (Don't ask me why, it just seems like a good idea) 8)

TheLorax
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The T of molasses looked good to me too. So did the alfalfa pellets but the stinky "fishy parts" are going to be a definite addition.

I'm going to start out with the whisper fish tank air pump. If this works well for me, I might try something fancier.

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applestar
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OK I got the compost + molasses and alfalfa pellet tea going today.
• The best thing I did was to pull off that dinky diffuser that came with the aerator. I extended the existing air tube with about 2' length extra air tube with a "handy" department store shopping bag handle (semi-rigid plastic tube that was attached to a paper bag) which happened to fit very snugly INSIDE the air tubes, tied off the end of the extension, then cut little slits with scissors every 2~3 inches. I added another weight so the tubing stays under water.
• Not all slits are bubbling (I probably need a stronger aerator, mine's only a 1000 -- I have a 2000 elsewhere but it's a project to re-purpose it) but the bubbles are bigger, are moving the water better than the wimpy micro-bubbles, and are moving the compost bits around.
• Putting the diffuser in the bucket BEFORE the compost, adding about 1/2 bucket of water, AND turning the aerator on FIRST, I think, made sure that the compost was moving around freely in the water.
• The "tea" started foaming (reminiscent of yeast proofing) as soon as I added the molasses.

Can't wait. :D I might use some tomorrow to feed the dente corn -- they're starting to have yellow lowest leaves which is supposed to be sign of nitrogen deficiency -- but I do want to let most of it brew for about 3 days. I also plan to re-examine the homemade diffuser and see if I can improve it some more.

[edited to add]
Took a peek this morning -- it's bubbling nicely with a faint molasses smell. Took out 2/3 watering canfull to give to the corn, added more water, and added that packet of agar that I forgot about. BTW there's an old corncob floating in there -- I didn't see it when I got the compost. I guess it'll soak in there a bit then go back to the compost bin. :wink:

Also, my AC air handler started to leak inside the house, so I've been collecting the condensation/distilled water with a pond pump while I wait for the repairman. This is the water I'm using for the tea. I think someone posted about this earlier. :D

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applestar
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So, how's your brew coming along? After I used my first batch of the new recipe, I replenished with 1T molasses and 1C alfalfa pellets, 3T agar powder this time, plus 1/2 shovel of compost, filled with AC water and tried again. This time, the tea started to get distinctly fragrant :roll: -- not gross like anaerobic, not stinky and somewhat sweet like horse manure.

We were experiencing a heatwave, so I gave an additional stir with a stick for the first 2 days, then got out the 2000 air pump with "bubble wall" distributer. Even then, since last night, the tea had gotten quite "ripe" with the odor I associate with Fish Emulsion. Enough that it was attracting flies and I had to move the bucket away from the back door so the flies wouldn't keep sneaking in.

This evening (3 full days), I deemed the tea READY and fed it diluted 50:50 to the corns and the pumpkins. I added more AC water to the bucket without any amendments, but I plan to use it up tomorrow when I plant some new bushes and plants. :wink:

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applestar
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A super informative thread was recently started on Aerated Manure/Compost Tea so here's a cross link:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097

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