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stella1751
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Aerated Compost Tea

I want to make manure tea. I've searched online and the forums here for advice on making manure tea, I have watched the [url=https://www.safelawns.org/video.cfm]compost tea video[/url] recommended by one member, and I have questions. Here's what I have on hand: 1) Two bags Ace Hardware composted manure, purchased to make manure tea. 2) Two burlap sacks, purchased to make manure tea. 3) Many five-gallon plastic pails, but no lids. 4) A fancy air compressor my cousin gave me for Christmas--I don't know how to use it, but I can probably figure it out.

Taking these on hand ingredients and equipment, I think I would put about three pounds of composted manure into a burlap sack, stick that in a five-gallon pail and cover it with water up to 3" below the edge, stick in something from my air compressor (there must be a slender hose that will go in; he got it for me because one of my tires kept going flat), and cover the pail with what?

Will the air compressor work? It's huge and probably very powerful, if I know my cousin. (He likes tools.)

Thirty-six hours later, I will have manure tea. Right? However, manure tea can burn plants, according to some of the posts I have read. So I will dilute it to the color of weak tea, right? A pale brown?

Another question: The fellow in the compost tea video added molasses to his compost tea. Shall I add that to my manure tea?

I would appreciate refinements to this plan. None of the reading I did specifically addressed aerated manure tea; all veered off to compost tea. I'm just not certain there's all that big a difference, but I could be wrong :?
Last edited by stella1751 on Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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top_dollar_bread
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Re: Aerated Manure Tea

I never made aerated manure tea but i do use home made tea's instead of store bought fertilizers. I live near many dairy's so there isnt a need to go out and buy manure. You just got to follow your nose and you’ll be sure to find a huge pile. :D The reason i don't use just manure for my tea's, is simply because i prefer to compost the fresh manure before i use it for any thing. So the final product being made would be a compost tea
ok, now for making organic teas
I make my tea's in 5 gallon buckets so this is for 5 gallons of tea
1-2 cups compost/composted manure/EWC, alfalfa or bat guano
5 TBSP of fish emulsion
5 TBSP of kelp meal
5 TBSP of molasses
I let this mix brew with two air stones for 1-3 days and dilute it with another 5gallons of water before i use on the plants. The air stones are pumped with a cheap fish tank air pump and the tea can be used as a foliar spray if you add the dry/clumpy ingredients in a nylon sock. In the end you get 10 gallons of great organic tea for your plants to love.

If i were you i would add the molasses, this stuff is great for beneficial microbes and if don't have kelp or fish emulsion thats ok too. Just skip those ingredients and im sure the above recipe will work well.

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stella1751
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Top_dollar_bread, this is exactly what I needed! I turned on my cousin's air compressor, and it's as loud as the ones at the gas stations. My neighbors would run me out of town on a rail if I tried to use it for aerating. I went to Home Depot and asked about a small aerator; the fellow said, as did you, that I need one for a fish tank.

I have all the ingredients you listed except for the aerator and the air stone, which I've never heard of, but I'm betting it has something to do with fish. (I need to buy some molasses, but I can pick that up anywhere.)

Thanks for the great recipe and the very clear instructions. I'm off to study air stones and fish-tank aerators. I bet Wal-Mart would have something like that.

Oh. I have a huge paving stone I can use to cover the bucket. If that doesn't work, I found a piece of old plywood that should do the job.

Thanks!
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stella1751
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Total Cost for Equipment: $9.83

I thought others might want to know how inexpensive this brewer is. I found a small fish tank aerator at Wal-Mart. I bought it, a length of tank tubing, and one 5" bubble stone for $9.83. My cousin got me a lid for my pail at his work, and he drilled a tube-sized hole in it. I duck-taped the aerator to the top, fed the tubing through the hole, and attached the bubble stone. My manure tea, something I have wanted to make for a long time, is now brewing its heart out outside my window. For less than the cost of a restaurant meal, I have a compost/manure tea brewer.

Thanks again!
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Re: Total Cost for Equipment: $9.83

stella1751 wrote:I thought others might want to know how inexpensive this brewer is. I found a small fish tank aerator at Wal-Mart. I bought it, a length of tank tubing, and one 5" bubble stone for $9.83. My cousin got me a lid for my pail at his work, and he drilled a tube-sized hole in it. I duck-taped the aerator to the top, fed the tubing through the hole, and attached the bubble stone. My manure tea, something I have wanted to make for a long time, is now brewing its heart out outside my window. For less than the cost of a restaurant meal, I have a compost/manure tea brewer.

Thanks again!
yea its amazing how organic methods of growing can really help many gardeners save lots of money. With a tea brewer, a organic gardener can make their own water soluble fertilizers, soil inoculant, and foliar sprays! Also tea's can be made in empty 1 gal milk jugs and aerated by hand stiring every other day or 5gal buckets and a air pump if you wish to spend a little cash.
stella1751 wrote: Another question: The fellow in the compost tea video added molasses to his compost tea. Shall I add that to my manure tea?
I found this in a saved file i had on molasses.... good stuff i thought id share. Not takin the credit for this, just some old article i saved a while back.
MOLASSES
The reason nutrient manufacturer’s have “discoveredâ€

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stella1751
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top_dollar_bread, I loved the extra information, read it from start to finish. This first time, I followed your directions to the letter, including the molasses. I used a little more composted message than the recipe called for, but I plan to dilute it 1:4 for application. Two days from now, I should have enough manure tea to make 16 gallon jugs of fertilizer, two for each garden bed.

I can't wait to experiment with other ingredients in the future. I especially liked the ones that will use up old household ingredients: Tuna (canned in water), Cornmeal (in the fridge for a few years), Epsom Salts, and spoiled veggies or fruits. Now that the initial investment is out of the way, the aquarium stuff, I can make my own fertilizer virtually for free for the rest of the summer!

I saved your articles. I suspect I will re-read them a few times. I just checked my tea, and after eight or so hours of brewing, it already has a lovely foam on the top. Here's my tea pot:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/manure_tea.jpg[/img]
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Im glad to see your tea is brewing up nicely. Your set up looks exactly like mine, except i have the bright orange home depot bucket :P
As for experimenting with the other ingredients; be advised that the tuna should be composted before adding to the tea brewer. I would also compost the rotten vegetables as well.
If you currently not composting, id recommend you get started. (You can use that manure) Composting is just like brewing tea, it just takes a little longer and less water. :lol: There are plenty of forums here and on the internet about the greats of composting.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/tips/03/compost.html

viewtopic.php?t=9089

I compost in a old heavy duty trashcan and the end results make great inoculants for my garden and my tea's!

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stella1751
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Thanks for the heads up on the tuna; that was my next plan. BTW, I couldn't wait three days. I used it after 24 hours. I believe it was done, and I was anxious to give it a try. It had virtually no odor, at least until I got to the dregs, and a beautiful golden foam at the top. I now have some new stuff brewing. I added gypsum and cornmeal to your original recipe. I am going to try to force myself to wait at least 36 hours this time :-)

Following are photos of my composting process. Each bin is roughly 4' across at the top. I layer green, brown, soil, green, brown, soil, and so on, watering it regularly. The beds shrink in between additions; each of these has been full twice over. I aerate them by poking metal spikes through their sides and into the top.

In another month, I will turn them (the cages lift right off), putting the dry outer stuff in the center and covering it with the moist black compost. I then cover the whole thing with black plastic. It will stay hot for most of the winter. In the spring, I turn it once more, and by the time my plants need mulching, I have a lovely batch of partially finished compost, enough for all my beds. After the first hard freeze, I pull out the dead garden, stick it in the bins (which will be half full of new compostibles by this time), and turn the now finished compost into the gardens in preparation for the spring. It's a slick system!

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/Compost_Bins.jpg[/img]
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Stella1751 and top_dollar_bread, I've been following this thread with keen interest. You've raised really interesting points and suggestions, as well as posted great resources. You've got me eager to start a new batch (in *my* slighter lighter green bucket :wink: ) with some of these recipe additions.

Top_dollar_bread has posted such extensive list that this may be superfluous, but I'm going to add the link to a discussion I had with TheLorax last year about ACT (aerated compost tea): https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9219

You might also be interested in this thread on [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13426&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0]Compost Accelerator[/url]

Good luck with your teas and composts!

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Great stuff, Applestar! I just finished reading the link on possible additions, and I am already mentally working on my "recipe" for the next batch! There are two things I most like about this tea:

1) Unlike my two standby fertilizers (sea kelp concentrate and fish emulsion), this fertilizer can be specifically tailored to the plant's needs. I began this quest because I planted waaaay too many squash in one of my raised beds, and I don't like their color. It's not bad, but I'd like them to be a darker green, like the ones of the same variety that I have, reasonably spaced, in the back yard. Ergo, composted manure, which is high in nitrogen. That bed got the first jugs from my bounty this morning! Now I am thinking about the tomatoes and peppers, which have just begun their two-month Wyoming stint of heavy production. Ergo, the gypsum I added to this new batch.

2) The second thing I like about this tea is its appeal to my frugal side. I tend to shop sales. Not just shop sales, but I have been known to either buy things I don't need, just because the price is too good to ignore, or stock up to ridiculous lengths on items I do need, items that eventually outlive their expiration dates. Ergo, the tuna. What can I say? The price was like 35 cents a can. However, it's been sitting in the cupboard for at least a year now, probably more. The cornmeal I used this morning, well, I won't even guess at its age. So long as I avoid potassium and salt (based upon my soil test), the sky's the limit. Because I already have all the composted manure, fish emulsion, and kelp meal I could possibly use in even two garden seasons, I should only have to stock up on molasses. (Hey, let me know if you see a good sale, okay? 8) )

I'm very happy you jumped in on this thread, Applestar. I'm betting top_dollar_bread didn't think he would have to tell me to stir the thing. I'm off now to give it a good stirring!
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applestar
good add, those threads are defiantly worth reading. I really enjoyed the compost accelerator thread & the very interesting way the helpful gardener explained the biology of soil microbes and how they compete and interact with each other and our plants. Plus the comments he made on using chemicals and why organics is the way to go. Really good read!!! Should make that thread a sticky
stella1751
neat composting set up, looks like you didnt need those links after all :lol:
How did the tea work?? I got a great alfalfa foliar tea recipe if your interested. My Plants cant get enough of that stuff :!:

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How often can I feed?

I love my tea, top_dollar_bread! In fact, I may be addicted to making it. I'm now on my third pot. It should be ready in the morning. Can you give too much of this stuff?

I don't think I'll be doing any foliar feeding this year. My neigbor asked me over to look at a disease her tomatoes contracted. I took a leaf home and got online. Who'd have thought that tomatoes can get powdery mildew? I've never seen it on tomatoes before. Anyway, as long as she is dealing with this problem, I'm going to avoid getting any leaves but the peppers' wet. I may have picked a bad year to grow primarily squash.

I am going to pick up some alfalfa pellets. I suspect the rabbit kind will work best in the tea pot. I'll need to find the ones with the least amount of salt, though. Last year, I obtained about ten alfalfa bales. This year's compost, made last year, is roughly 1/3 alfalfa.

I'm seriously interested in your response to the question about over-feeding compost tea. I feel like such a knowledgeable caregiver now, and I don't want to stop :D
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Re: How often can I feed?

Powdery mildew is no reason to not foliar spray, actually foliar spraying is the cure. You can use milk :shock: , baking soda, neem oil, or that corn meal you got. From what i understand extended periods of water on a leafs surface actually inhibits germination and kills the spores of most powdery mildew fungi :shock: https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7493.html
Great read on the life cycle and management of powdery mildew :D

As for over doing it with the tea… im not sure? I don't think soo but as my old man once told me, "too much of any thing, can be a bad thing". Im guessing that by letting the tea brew, we are preventing over fertilizing by letting the microbes do ther thing. I personally never had a problem with tea's or compost. But if you do think you may be over doing it, a good deep flush of water should fix it up.
Now for the foliar cures to mildew :lol:
baking soda spray
1 tablespoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of molasses or soap
1 gallon of water
i never used this because i read it may burn leafs, but i heard it works

corn meal juice
1 cup corn meal
2 tbs molasses
let this mix sit for 1 hour to a day in a gallon of water, strain and get to spraying

milk spray (my favorite)
use 2 part milk to 8 parts water, i use skim milk so i sometime use more milk, i also add molasses to this mix, actually to all foliar applications. Molasses has a bit of sulfur so im sure its good to add.
hope this helped

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stella1751
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Yes, it did help. Do you recommend it as a preventative or for future use, just in case my neighbor's powdery mildew crosses the fence? I've added two small handfuls of cornmeal to the last two tea mixtures, hoping that would get the job done while helping me clean out my fridge :lol:

We don't generally deal with diseases in Wyoming, at least not in my experience. If you have healthy soil, you should have healthy plants, given our dry, moderate (80's) climate. We really don't have an insect problem, either, at least not if you are receptive to paper wasps building their nests near the garden.

With the exception of a 120-day gardening season, Wyoming is the place to garden!
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top_dollar_bread
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stella1751 wrote:Yes, it did help. Do you recommend it as a preventative or for future use, just in case my neighbor's powdery mildew crosses the fence? I've added two small handfuls of cornmeal to the last two tea mixtures, hoping that would get the job done while helping me clean out my fridge :lol:
Id say both, corn meal is considered a fungicide, which will function as a protectant and a eradicant. Also by applying any foliar applications you help reduce the spread of the mildew by washing off the spores on the plants.
p.s. The best time to spray is mid-morning, this gives time for your plants to dry , reducing the chances of sun burn & infections by other fungi. :mrgreen:

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stella1751
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Thank you, top_dollar_bread! You can have no idea how much I appreciate your help :D

BTW, for those who are following this thread, this morning (2 days after a thorough root-based drink of compost tea), my hot cherry peppers are showing 1" to 2" of new growth. The squash whose color concerned me, being one or two shades lighter than those in one of my back beds, have begun to develop a richer, more pleasing green. My tomatoes, which were doing quite well to begin with, are producing like mad, sprouting blossoms and forming baby tomatoes at an unbelievable rate. This recipe of top_dollar_bread's is no gimmick--it seriously works!

Also of interest: Once I read the hyperlink on the benefits of molasses, learning that they were high in potash (something I decidely don't need), I backed off on the molasses, cutting the recipe down to two TBSP. My last batch, fed to the back garden this morning, did not have as thick a head of froth as the first two batches. I'm no scientist, but I think this supports top_dollar_bread's argument in favor of its aerobic qualities 8)
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:flower: im glad to help
As you mentioned above; molasses is a great source of Potassium. But more important, is that molasses also acts as a chelating agent. Witch will help to make micronutrients in our tea's more easily available for our favorite plants. This is why Molasses is a great ingredient in foliar feeding tea recipes, it’s ability to chelate nutrients. It brings nutrients to a form that can be directly absorbed and used by the plant.

Im exited yet not surprised on how your plants are responding to the tea party. Fresh tea and compost is like the holy grail for organic gardeners!
Since the start of this thread you inspired me to experiment more with my tea's. Also after running out of kelp meal (source of nitrogen and potassium, minerals, amino acids, and micronutrient) when making a batch of potting soil, i thought id use some creativity instead of buying some more.
So here it is
I use 1/2 cup of finished compost (inoculant, water soluble nutrients)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2587/3749056005_4c2ec314ba_o.jpg[/img]
one full cup of EWC (water-soluble nutrients, inoculant)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2618/3749846114_7824161616_o.jpg[/img]
TWO hand full of alfalfa meal (carbohydrate, protein, nice balance of npk)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2555/3749845702_f389d0ba9f_o.jpg[/img]
ONE hand full of corn meal (extra protein, food for beneficials)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2478/3749056265_67341ab83e_o.jpg[/img]
5 TBSP of Epson salt (highly soluble magnesium)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2544/3749056533_0dd423cd11_o.jpg[/img]
And a 1/2 of a hand full of seabird guano (11-13-3,one the greatst inoculants)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2467/3749056219_8f77fc6285_o.jpg[/img]
to these dry ingredient i then added
6TBSP molasses (micro nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, a little k)
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2445/3749845634_cbf77190bb_o.jpg[/img]
4 tbsp of Mycorrhizae Inoculant EN/EA (trace elements, organic acids, blue/green algae) [url]https://www.hydrofarm.com/pb_detail.php?itemid=7391[/url]
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2531/3749845840_045e33d287_o.jpg[/img]
i combined these in my 5 gal bucket
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2510/3749846136_d73be90d58_o.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2552/3749056679_780627fd13_o.jpg[/img]
added the water
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3461/3749056733_c8b235a262_o.jpg[/img]
and got to brewing
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2668/3749056785_0e93166d64_o.jpg[/img]
im going to let this sit for 3 days (lots of stuff in there) and we will see how it turns out :wink:

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stella1751
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That is a stunningly attractive compost teapot you have there, top_dollar_bread! What is the blue thing over your pump?

I think earthworm casings is an excellent addition; great idea! You can't get any more nutrient rich than that. I have never bought those because I have some wonderfully happy, terrifically busy earthworms working my soil, so it seemed a waste of money. Used in compost tea, though, it would quickly justify its expense.

I must buy some bat guano; the NPK on that appears to be tailormade for my soil. I've never heard of Mycorrhizae Inoculant EN/EA; I will now need to research that. It wouldn't hurt me to study alfalfa meal. I want to go with the cheapie rabbit pellets, though, keeping my tea economical, which is its second greatest advantage :D

I did use Epsom Salts this morning, two small handfuls. I don't know enough about gypsum to use it twice on the same plants, so I thought Epsom Salts would be a nice sustitute.

I have decided to give both front and back yards one more dose and then let the plants alone for a while, maybe a week or two. (That's my regular fertilizing schedule; I just got to having too much fun with this tea!)

My only concern thus far is the peppers. They are demonstrating the greatest, most quantitative reaction to the tea. Seriously, top_dollar_bread, that new growth I saw this morning blew me away. They are healthy already, so I worry any more than two doses in a row will make them too healthy. My experience with peppers is that they are drama queens. They perform (read: produce) best when they are not in peak condition. This morning I checked to see whether there was an even mix of new leaves and new buds, and there were. However, I think a break after one more dosing will do them good!

BTW, you should take your recipe demonstration on the road. That was way cool, the way you laid it out in brilliant color!
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I have been lurkingly following this thread, and I finally have to chime in to say THANK YOU for everyone who has contributed!! top_dollar_bread, I feel like I need to send you payment for such excellent advise! (Do you accept payment in redworm castings? :lol:)

One question that I couldn't find here or in past threads (I'm sure I just missed it somehow): Why is the lid necessary? Can I brew my tea without a lid?

And, everyone seems to put their "ingredients" inside pantyhose or a burlap bag (although, top_dollar_bread, it looked like yours were all loose inside the bucket)... I don't need to put them inside a bag/sock type thing, do I -- or do I? Can I just strain it before I use it? Does it make a difference as to how many beneficial microbes/fungi/bacteria are produced?
Julia in Georgia

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Lid is to keep out mosquitoes and flies, as well as, I believe, to keep out the sterilizing effect of direct sunlight.

Loose Tea vs. Tea Bag, essentially. :wink: Loose means tremendously more free-floating surface area exposed to the oxygenating effects and all the microbial activities. I strain mine with the 4-layer burlap cloth lid (think teapot with a built-in strainer), so there's no real work involved (I don't like extra work :roll: ) Also, if you think about it, if you go with the tea bag method, you're constrained thinking the ingredients has to be in it. When you're letting them all loose in the bucket, you can remember forgotten ingredients or creative additions and just toss them in! :D

BTW, Stella, go easy on the Epsom salts. Salt is salt and a little goes a long way. Too much can "pickle" your tea -- i.e. preserve -- i.e. kill microbes, particularly fungi. I would dissolve the salts in some water first since Epsom comes in such big (to microbes) crystals. (Do you make bread? When you're making bread, you always mix the salt with the flour first. Direct contact with a concentration of salt will kill the yeast. Another kitchen wisdom that applies in gardening -- anybody see my thread about that from a while back?)

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stella1751
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To GeorgiaGirl, I like the ingredients loose. I begin using it the minute I unplug the fish aerator, rather than letting it settle, and I get juicy mini-chunks of the composted manure in each gallon jug. These settle around the base of the plant and, I reason, continue to feed tiny little nutrients as they decompose. I suspect they make the worms happy, too :D

I use a lid because I think it makes the apparatus look very professional. Not terribly technical, but I feel like a true gardener when I snap on that lid.

Re: your thanks to top_dollar_bread, I have decided to go on the road to give testimonial to this method. I seriously wish I had taken before and after pictures. This really works! What's best is how simple those instructions were. I've never seen one of these before. I watched all the videos and read all the articles, but no one thought to share with me the fish aerator and bubble stone info or that I could add all these great extra ingredients. I was all a-sea. (I also got myself confused, thinking composted manure tea and compost tea were two different animals :oops: )

Applestar, interesting point. I thought "Epsom Salts" was a misnomer, that it's actually magnesium sulphate (sp?). Are you considering it in the general category of "salts," as in potassium and such?
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stella1751
My EWC bag is a year old now, im running out. I use it only for tea's or i throw a hand full in when i transplant. (Although this stuff can be used any were that compost can be used)
I get my casting pretty cheap from a local vermicomposter, they also sell worm bins and worms for those who wish to make some casting on ther own. I have yet to start my own bin, but when i do :D

Guano, is definitely worth buying considering tea making!
Guano's are extremely rich in nutrients, outclassing other organic fertilizers, with a balance of essential nutrients (NPK), plenty of micro-organisms and high levels of organic matter. But what makes guano even more special is that they bring a variety of essential nutrients to the table. Some guanos are high in nitrogen while others have more phosphorus or potassium.
All though guano is a renewable resource, they are sometimes mined in an environmentally destructive fashion. This is why i only use guano for my tea's. My little bags last me a year, guano has such high levels of nutrients thst there isnt much i need to add when using in conjunction with my other amendments. The guano i used in this tea is sea bird guano not bat, this guano has the potassium i needed to supplement the kelp i ran out of.

alfalfa meal is pretty much the same thing as alfalfa pellets. Actually pellets are better (cheaper if you buy in bulk) then using alfalfa meal in teas. The only reason i used the meal is because 1. i don't have any more pellets and 2. i have lots of alfalfa meal, left over when making a batch of potting soil and i find that meal is better to use then pellets when amending soil.

GeorgiaGirl
happy you dropped in, a thank you is more then enough payment for advice but some redworm poo does sound tempting :)
great questions, by the way (keep them coming)
GeorgiaGirl wrote: One question that I couldn't find here or in past threads (I'm sure I just missed it somehow): Why is the lid necessary? Can I brew my tea without a lid?
As A_S mentioned the lid helps keep unwanted critters and light out. Although i have brewed teas with no lid many times.
My lid also works for holding my air pump (that blue thing) and to keep the foam from getting everywhere. I had a tea go buzzerk with foam and the foam from the tea spewed out of the top of bucket in mass amounts. :shock:
GeorgiaGirl wrote: I don't need to put them inside a bag/sock type thing, do I -- or do I? Can I just strain it before I use it? Does it make a difference as to how many beneficial microbes/fungi/bacteria are produced?
no its not necessary at all, i only strain my tea when using as a foliar spray. When i make tea's for a soil drench, like the one above, i just poor everything on to the soil. The mushy ingredents acts as a top feed and will slowly disolve and feed the soil. For foliar tea's i use a nylon sock, with my air stone in it. Oh & no difference on microbes produced at lease from what i can tell.

Its been only one day of brewing and my tea is already giving out that sweet smell of life. The foam has started to rise and everything is looking good!
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3435/3751665149_4304418ff7_o.jpg[/img]
p.s. I would love to see some more gardeners jump in on this tea party, photo's of other tea brewers and happy to answer more questions. So if your reading this please come on in.

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I found the [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1484]thread[/url] in which HG said too much Epsom Salt could be harmful:
The Helpful Gardener wrote:Epsom salts applied in small doses delivers several trace minerals into the soil that are necessary (Magnesium is a key component of the photosynthesis process and sulphur is necessary to create chlorophyll), and salts may have a sterilent effect on some soil bacteria without hurting soil fungii (might help them by increasing available space in the soil)...Too much of it could change soil ph or be lethal to our beneficial microbes. A tablespoon in a gallon of water once in early season feels about right...

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stella1751
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Thanks for finding that, Applestar! I put in two small handfuls. One of my hands probably holds 4 tablespoons, maybe less. I have found I get anywhere from 16 to 18 gallons of tea from each pot, so I should be safe. I haven't used it this year on anything else, and I will avoid it in future pots.

Well, this current pot I have brewing is for the front garden. My next pot will be for the back garden. I can use it there one time, then. I've been studying cucurbits online--I know much more about solanaceae--and I see they, too, can get blossom end rot. The more you learn, the less you know :?

That's helpful information; thanks!
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gixxerific
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Awesome thread I have been reading this thread and the links and their links and there links, links, links etc, for about an hour. I have a learned a lot.

Funny thing is I have an extra fish aerator tubing and multiple stones upstairs. If I had some compost I would be brewing tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for this educational and entertaining thread.

Dono

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applestar
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If you want to have something to do tomorrow :wink: I've been aerating my drowned weeds....

top_dollar_bread
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There has been a debate on the concerns of compost tea's and compost in general; about how they can possibly be spreading potentially harmful bacteria like e coli or salmonella to our gardens. This especially concerns gardeners who grow edible crops and has even deterred gardeners from making tea's and even composting. :shock:
Yes, this is true, compost continues to be attacked as a potential source of bacterial contamination in food. Concern gardeners have even stopped using compost in there gardens, while others only buy ORMI certified compost and stop composting themselves. :(

Studies have proved that under proper conditions, compost actually destroys most human and plant pathogens during the 2nd thermophilic (hot) stage of compost. Those that survive get consumed or starve from competition.

[url]https://compost.css.cornell.edu/microorg.html[/url]
great read on the phases of compost and detailed information on the roles that microorganism play in composting.
[url]https://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/compoststages.html[/url]

the nay sayers of composting progresses but mainstream composting continues to grow in the act of educating the people on how to compost properly. Many city's have developed compost classes on teaching residence on composting properly in the hope of going green. Composting does do alot more then help a plant grow!

This is great for composting but what about tea brewing? Like composting, us tea brewers cultivate microbes. But how do we know we aren’t growing harmful microbes?

[url]https://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech/SoilWiki/message-archives/composttea+soilfoodweb+soilquality/3/msg00034.html[/url]
a great article on the misleading studies done on brewing tea and good info on how to properly make tea's.
[url]https://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5058470[/url]
more on the studies done on tea brewing

It all comes down to how you brew it. Aerated compost tea or ACT is the way to go. By aerating our tea we increase the amount of aerobic micro's in our tea and in return they out compete and consume harmful organisms, who are mostly anaerobic. On another note, be sure to use certified manures or compost them first. It is manure based tea’s that have the higher risk of bringing harmful microbes to your garden.

I came across this interesting read, were it explains that by aerating your tea's for a certain amount of time we increase certain beneficials to grow.
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost_tea[/url]
the wikipedia claims that,
A short brew of around 12 hours will favor the growth of fungi, while a 24 hour brew will favor the growth of bacteria and a long brew of 36–48 hours will favor the growth of protozoa. Also that Molasses will promote the growth of bacteria and kelp and humic acid will promote the growth of fungi. Sphagnum peat moss or hay can be added as a source of protozoa.
WOW! Another interesting point wikipedia explained, that must of slipped my memory. Is that chlorinated water (tapped water) kills microbes. So its best to aeate or let the water sit for 24 hourse before we add our ingredients. & as A_S mentioned epson can be harmfull to microbes, so from now on, NO more epson salt will be used in my tea.
I noticed in my last bacth (when adding epson) that my tea was not as foamy as my first recipe. So from now on, i use espon salt with just plain water at 1-2 TBSP a gallon when needed.

I hope these links clerified the safty issues and helped you gain more knowledge as they did I.
Last edited by top_dollar_bread on Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Yep. If you notice, in the thread from last year, I mentioned that I use the condensation water (read that distilled) from the central air conditioning unit. Rainwater is a good source of water for your tea too. For tap water, as long as we have our aerator handy, aerating the water will speed the de-chlorination process along.

For my compost pile, I keep an old saucer sled next to the pile to collect and water it with rain water, in addition to the rain that falls on the pile. I'm eyeing up the roof of the shed that's right next to the compost pile -- a length of rain gutter on the compost pile side, a little rain barrel.... :wink:

Haven't read the new links you posted yet TDB, but I will. Thanks!

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This should be a sticky IMHO :)

Dono

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Update

Since I began using this compost tea about ten days ago, I have noticed two possibly interesting items:

1) Greedy me decided to dump the dregs on the peppers, thinking when the worms got to that part, they could work it in for me. The peppers I dumped them by (on top of their mulch) are now a lighter green than the rest. I suspect my sprinkler watering on this bed worked the dregs into the soil, which quickly expended nitrogen trying to process this raw organic material. They'll recover; peppers prefer too little to too much nitrogen. Nevertheless, I found it interesting and thought others might too.

2) This one is speculative and merely food for thought. In my backyard garden, I have one bed of squash that has been giving me fits from the get go. There are three hills in this bed. All sprouted about three to four days before a serious hail storm. They were all working on their first set of true leaves when the hail smashed into them. It killed one baby, shredding the nubs where the true leaves were beginning to form and tore huge chunks out of the cotyledons on the others. Not a good start, and I think this stressed the little guys out.

The center of the three hills recovered nicely and is now 18" tall. The hills to each side, one with two plants and the other with one, produced really weird, crumpled true leaves. I got online, and set my sights on something called "curly leaf virus." I don't know that this is an apt diagnosis, but I assumed I would lose both hills. The scrunched leaves eventually unfolded, very slowly, and they looked like half leaves, move oval than round, when they were done.

When top_dollar_bread turned me on to cornmeal, with its anti-fungal properties, in compost tea, I thought this might me just the ticket for these three plants. I gave 'em two dosings of compost tea, 72 hours apart. It's still early in the day to tell, but I think the compost tea has cured what ailed them. One appears to be fully recovered, now putting out normal leaves. The other two are putting out true leaves that are only slightly scrunched. Each new leaf seems to be less scrunched than the one before.

Okay, I can't say for certain that the compost tea cured a fungus problem. I should have used one hill as control and the other as experiment, but I really didn't have a lot of confidence in the tea's ability to help. Now, I wonder.

I'm sold, though. In my gut, I think the aerobic qualities of the compost tea and the ingredients I used (TDB's recipe with the addition of handfuls of cornmeal) cured these plants. I will also never, ever dump the dregs on a working bed again :lol:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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Lesson learned right? It's good that you pointed it out though.

I believe the best place for the dregs is back to the compost pile. I leave them on my 4-layer burlap lid/strainer in the sun to dry out a bit first unless the compost pile is dry-ish and needs extra moisture mixed in.

I DO dump (and I mean evenly distribute) the dregs around my fruit trees on top of the mulched drip line, however. When dry, they're incorporated into the rest of the mulch.

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applestar wrote: I believe the best place for the dregs is back to the compost pile. I leave them on my 4-layer burlap lid/strainer in the sun to dry out a bit first unless the compost pile is dry-ish and needs extra moisture mixed in.
Im with you on this A_S, but i wouldnt let them sun dry. I thinking that the harsh sun rays would kill lots of beneficials, instead i would toss a even portion of browns with the mushy micro herd.

So far I have gave recipe’s for composted manure based tea’s and of course EWC tea’s. I will eventually be making a guano tea in the near future but before that, I thought I give out a wonderful recipe on a 100% plant based fertilizer.

So here is a basic alfalfa tea recipe,

4 -5 gallons of distilled water
1 cup (16 TBSP) of alfalfa meal or pellets
1 TBSP molasses
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3555/3768683373_e684b4e44c_o.jpg[/img]

Brew for a minimum of 24 hours and this nutrient rich fertilizer is ready for application. I cant take credit for the recipe but boy does it work!! Used both as a soil drench or as a foliar feed. This also works extremely well as a compost accelerator; I mist or dampen my browns/dry (paper, cardboard) with this recipe to help break them down faster. (I like to think of it as saliva)

You can mix your alfalfa meal (or pellets) directly into the tea, or you can use the tea bag method. I find that both work well, it’s just a matter of personal preference. Note if your tea begins to smell, add more molasses.. alfalfa with water stinks :eek: but with molasses, it is actually kind of pleasant.

Like all tea’s, the recipe described can be used as a soil drench or in my case as a foliar feed. Foliar feeding uses fine mist sprays as a way to get nutrients directly to the plant through the very small pores plants breathes through. It is said to be the quickest and most effective way to correct nutrient deficiencies.
[url]https://www.gardeningtipsnideas.com/2007/05/foliar_spray_vs_slowrelease_fertiliser.html[/url]
(kelp meal, seaweed extracts, and fish emulsion are by far the best fertilizers to be used as foliar feeds)

A little more on alfalfa and molasses.

Alfalfa is a great alternative to other organic fertilizers like blood meal. With a high chlorophyll content, balanced NPK ratio 2-0-1 ,amino acids, high protein content plus traces of calcium and magnesium.
I find that alfalfa has just the right amounts of nitrogen for some of the more delicate plants in my garden. Being that that compost and tea’s are continually added to my soil. (When prepping soil for my peppers, I have come to believe that alfalfa meal gives the perfect amount of N for the life span of my peppers)

Molasses is also a great ingredient in tea’s because of it’s ability to help break down nutrients in a form that can be directly absorbed and used by the plants. This really improves the effectiveness of any organic fertilizer especially foliar tea’s! Molasses can also be easily used alone as a fertilizer, with average NPK ratio of 1-0-5 traces of sulfur, magnesium, calcium, protein and iron.

In my tea, I again decided to get creative. I remember reading about nutrition facts on companion plants like fennel and chamomile. Chamomile accumulates calcium, potassium and sulfur while fennel has traces of sodium, sulfur, and potassium. So im added them to my tea bag.

[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2569/3769484126_0491365a92_m.jpg[/img][img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2578/3769484092_1f0262eb22_m.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3439/3768683467_61518b78fb_o.jpg[/img]

Also in the alfalfa tea recipe, you can easily use comfrey as an alternative to alfalfa [url]https://www.allotment.org.uk/vegetable/comfrey/comfrey.PDF[/url]
Or add other high nutrient rich plants like borage, buckwheat, yarrow, kelp and so on. So its not only manure, guano and compost that us tea brewers can work with.

On another note, coming across a link A_S posted earlier on a thread on ACT. Here they mention alternatives to air stones
applestar wrote: I think all it takes is extra tubing (with holes -- thinking red hot needle -- a nod to your meat fork) and some T connectors.

I tried this and it didn’t work very well. But I did find out that soaker tubing works and that you can easily connect a air stone to seal off the soaker tube, making it even better. So heres some photos of the results.
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2552/3769483986_653180d2db_m.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2593/3768683139_07da29ecf5_m.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2569/3769483962_583d44eb5c_o.jpg[/img]
the length and flexibility of the soaker tube distributes air bubbles nicely thought out my tea brewer :D

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stella1751
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What does anyone think about milk in my next batch of compost tea? My Lemon Boys are breaking their hearts, producing like mad. After a recent three-day precipitation event, rare for Wyoming, two of them jetted out new growths (one each) with a disconcerting lavender tinge. All new growth since has been satisfactorily green, but I am naturally sensing a problem lurking below.

When I prepped the beds last fall, I worked in a goodly amount of bonemeal. When I again prepped them this spring, I worked in more bonemeal. They shouldn't be doing this. I suspect the reason for this is that they are producing an inordinately high yield. Right now I'm at 50-60 tomatoes per plant, mid-season, which will put me at 100-120 tomatoes per plant at season's end. Nothing to write home about, but considerably more than I expected, given their late planting (June 1).

I'm about three days away from their next fertilization. What can I put in their compost tea that will help them through these trying times?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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stella1751
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Got Milk?

Time to fertilize again. Tonight's compost tea was designed based wholly upon my determination of plant needs: A potential calcium deficiency and periodical nutrient replenishment. I bought a two-quart container of organic milk for $4.79. Pretty pricey, but I was concerned about a possible calcium deficiency in my Lemon Boys. I think they are working too hard. Each one has over four dozen tomatoes now. Two weeks ago, some new growth on two vines had a slight lavender tinge. I gave 'em some Epsom Salts; it went away, but I consider this a sign that BER could be in my future if I don't pay heed to this cry for help. My recipe for the compost tea now brewing:

Two large handfuls of composted manure
Two small handfuls of cornmeal
Five Tbsp molasses (guessed)
Eight Tbsp Fish Emulsion (guessed)
Two quarts organic milk
One quart Sea Magic concentrate

Topped off with rainwater, a happy accident. After making my last batch from a 5-gallon pail of water I had let sit for two days, I forgot to put it away and left the 5-gallon pail by what must be the lowest corner of my house. We actually got rain, a rarity in Wyoming, and that puppy filled in no time!

I love making compost tea. I will never go with a standard fish emulsion or seaweed compost again, not when I can tailor my tea to my perception of the plant needs!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

GeorgiaGirl
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Stella, all that sounds fabulous! Keep us posted on how they respond, although it sounds like your "medicine" for them is working just great!

I tried to buy alfalfa pellets this afternoon but could only find a bag of alfalfa hay. I'm guessing pellets are made from the alfalfa hay? I hope so because I am *DYING* to finally brew my first batch!!
Julia in Georgia

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stella1751
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I will anxiously be awaiting a response to this one, GeorgiaGirl. I had forgotten all about that. Where is the least expensive place to purchase alfalfa pellets with the least amount of salt? Would that be rabbit pellets or range pellets?

Back online. I'd forgotten that I wanted to find some bat guano :lol:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

top_dollar_bread
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stella1751 wrote:What does anyone think about milk in my next batch of compost tea?
What can I put in their compost tea that will help them through these trying times?
I never used milk in my tea's but i would love to hear on the results. I know milk is considered a colloid and colloids are important to soil. But i haven’t come across any research done on milk and compost tea's?? I Have used milk as a foliar spray but that was for mildew(works great by the way)

As for what you put in your compost tea to help, I know im a little late but im still going to point you to some nutrient rich plants. Im guessing you want calcium so

•Chicory, wild and cultivated, is high in potassium and contains calcium and vitamin A.
•Comfrey leaves are a good source of calcium, phosphorus and potassium, and contain vitamins A and C, as well as other trace minerals.
•Dandelion leaves contain vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and potassium.
•Nettle leaves are packed full of nutrients from vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, phosphorus, potassium, boron, bromine, copper, iron, selenium and zinc
•Perilla leaves are loaded with iron and calcium.
•Watercress contains vitamins A, C, E, B3, B6, calcium, manganese and iron.
•Chamomile accumulates calcium, potassium and sulfur
[url]https://www.herbcompanion.com/Gardening/Plants-Need-Tea-Too.aspx?page=2[/url]

Adding more then one ingredient rich in calcium should increase the available calcium in the tea and create a nice diverse buffet for the microbes. Also gypsum is rich in calcium, can be added to the soil, ( i have never used it in compost tea ) & molasses has a nice amount of calcium too witch is great for tea's...

I would also try using the tea as a foliar spray, in the morning...It wont hurt to try and im positive the plants will absorb the nutrients faster. :mrgreen:

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stella1751
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Interesting posts, TDB, thanks! I called the local feed store. I can pick up a 50# bag of alfalfa pellets for $11. I asked about the salt content in them, and the fellow said they are nothing but compressed alfalfa with no additives. I should run out and buy a bag today.

That last batch turned out really well. I was worried that the milk would spoil, being out in the hot sun aerating for 36 hours, but it didn't. Oh. I should have mentioned it was fat-free organic milk. That might have added some to the price.

I have a new pot brewing now that's pretty much the same recipe but no milk. This one's for the back yard garden, and I haven't seen any signs of possible calcium deficiency there.

Applestar's suggestion about using rainwater--I think it was Applestar--was well-received. I now have rain collection vessels at the two drippiest corners of my house. It rained for five minutes yesterday, and I was able to collect 6.5 gallons, more than enough for a pot of tea and a new gallon of seaweed concentrate.

BTW, I love this forum. I have been gardening for twenty years, and I have learned more new stuff this summer than I learned in any summer past! Thanks to everyone for the great advice!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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This is a great thread! I've never used any sort of compost tea or foliar spray. I've always been aware of other people using it, but I never felt the need to do it. After reading the thread, I plan on giving it a try starting with next springs garden. I may actually get things together in time to use it on some of my winter plants.

I noticed in the thread that the three products mentioned most often were molasses, alfalfa pellets; and composted manure. My local farm and ranch supply store has all of it, but the molasses is in a granular form rather than a liquid form. Is the granular form the referenced product for the teas?

I also noticed the amounts of most products used in a five gallon batch of tea are modest. They seem to be measured in a few table spoons per five gallons. I was wondering if the quantities can be increased with more aeration for a longer period resulting in a more potent concentrate. I would of course dilute it more when used.

Ted
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Hey Stella,

I have actually had a conversation with Elaine Ingham about milk in biological supplements and she wasworried that the antifungal properties and generally ubiquitous nature of Lactobacillus (the milk's most likely culture) might inhibit other development and become dominant. That said, she was more concerned about overreliance on ANY one bacteria or fungal strain, and if you were mixing it up, it shouldn't be a problem, but ANYBODY can make a bacerial tea; fungal tea is the real trick. The godd Dr. Ingham likes humic acids, kelp, fish hydrolysate and high saponin plants (yucca, aloe, soapwort) for fungal development, but starts with a fungal compost. My favorite fungal compost? A pile of fine wood chips, aged a year or more. Start yours today...

HG
Scott Reil

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