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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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top_dollar_bread
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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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applestar
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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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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....

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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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stella1751
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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:
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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?
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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:
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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!
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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
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tedln
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Scott,

I just purchased 6 cubic yards of sawdust (fines and chips) mixed with horse manure and urine. It has alread aged about one year and will be 18 months old when I use it in the spring of 2010. Will that work for the compost for the fungal tea? Will the horse manure and urine inhibit the other properties of the wood compost?

Ted
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stella1751
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HG wrote:
My favorite fungal compost? A pile of fine wood chips, aged a year or more. Start yours today...
How odd is that? I went to the local livestock feed store, seeking alfalfa pellets, and came home with a 50# bag of those, a 50# bag of alfalfa cubes (for the compost bin), and a package of wood-chip livestock bedding. So, I just stick some of those in a pile somewhere? Should I add anything to them or just let them decay away?

I've been using kelp meal every other feeding and corn meal (or flour) every feeding. I'll look up humic acids and fish hydrolysate; I don't think we have any yucca, soapwort, or aloe up here. However, a person can buy aloe at the plant store, I think.

Thanks!

Oh. Here's something interesting I have discovered, long as I'm back on this thread: Plants are crazy for alfalfa pellets, but I don't get a good head of foam on the top of pots. When I'm diluting it with water in a jug, it bubbles up nicely, but there's not that standard golden molasses foam in the tea pot :?
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Hey Ted,

The urine and bacterial components from manures will balance this compost so it would NOT be a fungal compost per se, but it will be a fine balanced compost, and that ain't bad... :)

Fungal is best for trees and shrubs, balanced is good for veggies and flowers and SLIGHTLY bacterial is good for lawns and grass. Remember Nature is always trying to move from bacterial to fungal; that is the process of natural succession. Highly bacterial soils favor weeds, so obviously we don't want to go there. Moderation in ALL things... even the fungal recipe will support SOME bacteria, as would a bacterial recipe (heavy on mollasses and fish) also support some fungii. Most plants need both to some degree, but evergreen needled plants are almost entirely fungal (taiga forest is 99 to 1 fungal to bacterial) for example. How you add to your tea would make it more or less fungal, but you may need nothing else for your crop. Teas should be crop specific, or a simple balanced tea covers all bases...

HG
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top_dollar_bread
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tedln wrote: 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
granulars work fine or you can just smash them down to powder.
And yes you can increase the quantities of ingredients, just be sure its aerated properly and keep your nose out for smells. Good tea should smell sweet and fresh, when it starts to smell some thing is off balance and you probably added to much food.
1-2TBSP of amendments to a gal is what i recommend for problem free, balance tea. you can find witch ingredient helps witch microbes in page 1 or 2 of this thread

HG
thanks for the info on the milk, oh and is mushroom compost a good fungi compost?? i don't know about other gardeners but mushroom compost IMO really is some outstanding stuff!! i believe it may be the fungal microbes that could be its claim to fame.

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stella1751
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The Helpful Gardener wrote: ANYBODY can make a bacerial tea; fungal tea is the real trick. The godd Dr. Ingham likes humic acids . . .
I just ordered the following from wormsway.com. It's called SaferGro Humax and is described as follows:

"Listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), Humax all-purpose additive encourages nutrient uptake, enhances nutrient availability, increases the water holding capacity of soil, and promotes overall plant growth. Humax concentrated liquid humic acid, known as the black gold of agriculture, is extracted from natural deposits of leonardite. Add Humax to a hydroponic nutrient solution or apply it to soil."

Once it arrives :shock: I will be replacing my corn flour with this, right? How much does anyone recommend I use? Like 5 Tbsp?

Thanks! Oh. I ordered some Peruvian Seabird Guano--it was on sale :D

Another question: I only purchased products that said, as above, "listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute." I translated that to mean certifed organic.
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top_dollar_bread
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stella the bottle should give directions on how to use
if not add 1-2 TBSP to the gal
i sure do wish you had PM'd me on humic acids, cus i know of a product that is very well known for its superb combined ingredients..
its called liquid karma, and this stuff rocks!!
you can use on seedlings or through any stage of growth, and it works extremely well in tea's, it contains humic acids and other very well put together ingredients that will benefit our tea's. (look it up, its got a good rep)
[url]https://www.rosemania.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/product57.html[/url]

the EN EA i mentioned earlier is another great product, contains humic acid but also works as a inoculant, making are tea's more populated with beneficials including fungi!!
[url]https://health.bigelbach.com/333750-Earth-Nectar-Earth-Ambrosia-EN-EA-Two-Part-Plant-Invigoration-Mixture-32-fl-oz-each-HY/flypage.html[/url]
ther are other inoculants as well on worms way, these will add live beneficial microbes, like fungi and bacteria and are good products for tea brewers..
compost can have these but inoculants guarantee’s them..

by the way, i have a side by side test going on with peppers
one is grown with ACT the other with water, guess who's doing better??
i also will be posting guano recipes, with pictures..
when i get everything together..ill post
trying to keep this thread alive!!

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stella1751
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TDB wrote:
i sure do wish you had PM'd me on humic acids, cus i know of a product that is very well known for its superb combined ingredients..
I bookmarked it for next spring, TDB. I would have wanted to try this Safegro Humax, anyway :lol: And, in my naive North Dakota heart, I keep thinking that other stuff will come, that I did not get ripped off, that I simply bought from a Mom and Pop operation that's not big on communications. If so, I've spent plenty this month :shock:

Today I will start a pot using the old recipe. I have some old rainwater I need to use up because I do believe we might get more rain today! I've been putting a little gypsum at the bottom of the rainbarrel and rinsing my compost buckets and tools out in the water, so I want to start out fresh. When this stuff comes, and I will be hoping it gets here by Thursday, I will make up a batch using this and the seabird guano.

TDB also wrote:
by the way, i have a side by side test going on with peppers
one is grown with ACT the other with water, guess who's doing better??
My peppers may well be the plant to have responded the most enthusiastically to this ACT. Remember how in an earlier posting I told you I was seeing tons of new growth two days after each dosing? Well, that's pretty much been the story all summer. Lately I've been wondering whether the Looky-Lou's driving slowly past are there for the tomatoes or for the peppers. They are now 30" tall and covered with hot cherry peppers that have just started to change color. These are very happy peppers :D
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gixxerific
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I know you all use compost among other things. But what about semi fresh manure. I have been wanting to make come ACT but have no finished 'compost'. I do have some semi fresh manure that I spread on my garden last week. Would that work? I tilled it in the soil a put down a thick bed of grass on top.

My compost might be a bit before it's done. So unless I go buy some which i plan to do just not until maybe next month.

Thanks

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stella1751
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I'm using composted manure in mine, Gix. (I started this thread because I wanted to hit my front squash with a rapid-release of nitrogen. From small desires come big rewards :lol: ) It cost me about $2.50 for a bag at Ace Hardware, and I'm still using the same bag after countless pots of tea. I have heard that fresh manure can burn the plants' roots. TDB?

BTW, I think I will post before and after photos of my peppers if the sun comes out today. You will be amazed! Naturally, soil prep plays a big role, and I did put peas in this bed last year, but I don't believe I've ever seen peppers--my favorite of all veggies to grow--respond this quickly to anything I've done in the past.
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stella1751
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Before and After

See whether you think the difference is as striking as I think it is. These photos are 27 days apart. I started using ACT four days before the first shot.

My hot cherry peppers on July 27:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/Peppers.jpg[/img]

My hot cherry peppers on August 23:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/peppers_2.jpg[/img]

What do you think? Am I imagining that this is really extraordinary growth? They are also producing like crazy :D
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gixxerific
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Holy moly that is one BIG jump there Stella. Nice :D

So you are making it with just a bag of manure compost bought at a store? I thought most of that stuff would be sterile and not productive. There is composted cow manure and mushroom compost and maybe another type at my local store. All of which I have put n the ground but didn't think it would be good for tea, tell me I'm wrong. :) and I'm out the door to get some goodies my lettuces are not doing well at all most of everything has went south for the most part. :x :cry:

Thanks

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stella1751
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I tell ya', Gix, this is all made with composted manure for compost. I swear. That's why I got the title of the post all wrong. I thought there was a difference between manure tea and compost tea :oops:

My own compost is in too big a pile (the bins I posted way back when in this thread) for me to dig into the center for compost. That's why I started another thread on mini-composters; so I could make some for my tea instead of continuing to use my composted manure :lol:

I wonder what mushroom compost is :shock:

I warn you, though, Gix, making tea is really addictive. Once you get started, you just can't stop.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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gixxerific
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Alrighty than I went and got some "Black Kow" composted manure. And a 5 inch wet stone. Just wait till you see my set up at the end. :lol:

I'm going to start maybe today Can't remember how much compost to put in I'm going to have to go through 4 pages to find out. :shock: Another thing is they say to let your tap water sit for 24 hours right. I have a fish tank and the needed purifier for that. It takes out the chlorine and chloramine. So I'm thinking I don't have to wait till tomorrow to start what do you think?

Not sure if this pump I have is strong enough so I might have to get another one. I was going to get a 3 way gang valve and run three wetsones in it which I have the stones. But I would have had to get more tubing which made the 5 inch stone more cost efficient at about $5

First off here the site for Black Kow seems like a upstanding place the reason I purchased it was it is certified by the "Mulch and soil Council"
https://www.blackkow.com/index.htm

Here's my setup sort of thought I had some tubing here but I didn't. But me being me I came up with a way to improvise notice the tubing.
[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC02722.jpg[/img]

Yes those are crazy straw glasses in between the pump and the stone. :lol: I actually removed the glasses part and just use one of the ear pieces to connect the outer clear pieces, I'm going to have to get some real tubing soon. Still :lol: when in a pinch steal your kids crazy straw glasses they don't even know they are still here.

Thanks Stella sorry so long, no I'm not.

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stella1751
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Your pump looks like the same size I bought, one for a 5 to 10 gallon container. Amazingly, after all the tea I've made, it just keeps on aerating :) I like the crazy straw, BTW. That is very ingenious 8) I wouldn't buy a new pump or new airstones or anything. What I liked most was how little this set-up cost. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I think my total cost, from start to finish, was $10. And I think my peppers look like a million dollars. That's an excellent return on my investment :lol:

Here's an embarrassing confession: I did not let my water sit out the first time. TDB didn't mention it. I think Applestar gave me the heads up on that one. Nevertheless, the first batch was lovely, so maybe we don't have as much chlorine in our water up here.

Oh. TDB assumed I knew I should stir the ingredients. (People often assume common sense on my part; go figure.) Applestar jumped in to give me the heads up on that one.

I've got TDB's initial recipe memorized:

Two handfuls compost[ed manure],
5 TBSP kelp meal,
5 TBSP fish emulsion,
5 TBSP molasses. I've been adding corn meal (or corn flour) to each batch for its anti-fungal abilities.

Other recipes I've experimented with:

Two handfuls (TDB probably said "cups") compost
Four cups alfalfa pellets
1/2 cup kelp meal
1/2 cup corn meal or corn flour
5 TBSP molasses

Two handfuls (TDB probably said "cups") compost
8 TBSP fish emulsion
1 quart Sea Magic concentrate
1/2 cup corn meal or corn flour
5 TBSP molasses

Two handfuls (TDB probably said "cups") compost
Two cups Alaska King organic fertilizer granules
1 cup gypsum
1/2 cup corn meal or corn flour
5 TBSP molasses

Two handfuls (TDB probably said "cups") compost
2 quarts organic, fat-free milk
1 quart Sea Magic concentrate
1/2 cup corn meal or corn flour
5 TBSP molasses

Two handfuls (TDB probably said "cups") compost
5 TBSP kelp meal
5 TBSP fish emulsion
8 TBSP Epsom Salts
1/2 cup corn meal or corn flour
5 TBSP molasses

TDB had many other ideas of things to use. I want to try them all, eventually. I like changing it a little bit each time. I reason that if I change it enough, I'll somehow satisfy any needs of which I am not aware. Yesterday I ordered humic acid and seabird guano. I can't wait to play with them when they get here!
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Nice peppers stella :D , i love growing peppers and ACT makes it so rewarding and easy!!
stella1751 wrote:I tell ya', Gix, this is all made with composted manure for compost. I swear. That's why I got the title of the post all wrong. I thought there was a difference between manure tea and compost tea :oops: .
you didnt get the title wrong stella, when using composted manure, you are indeed making manure tea!!
there is all kinds of tea definitions
compost tea, compost extract, compost leachate, plant tea, and manure tea

as for using fresh manure, it can be done but i wouldnt advise it!!
manure usually smells, this smell is anaerobic microbes, these are usually bad guys and by bad i mean, can be bad for soil,plant & our health.
This is why we aerate are compost/ACT, to prevent microbes from going anaerobic and help breed & feed aerobic microbes (who are the good guys)
stella1751 wrote:I wonder what mushroom compost is :shock: .
i think?? mushroom compost is compost left over after mushrooms have been harvested, some may have chemicals so use ones that are certified!!

for those who wish to learn more about mushrooms, here's a great link on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world :shock:
[url]https://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html[/url]
had to add the link!!
gixxerific
glad to see you joined us, love the creativity :D
be sure to tell us on your results!! remember a little molasses is a good add and other soil amendments can be added as well
stella has listed some recipes that should keep you busy for a while, and you can always make your own..just keep your nose out and stir it every now and then....my bad stella!!

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