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I never say never. Never is almost always wrong.

There are certain things we can do, and very specific times that those things are appropriate. That said, most people do not have the skills or knowledge to determine what or when those times and places are. Assuming we will mess things up is a fairly safe bet, but one we rarely make money on. Unless you are looking at an SFI bioassay with the skills to determine what it all means, you are just guessing at answers you don't even know the questions to...

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and compost tea is a pretty good guess!
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The beauty of the tea is that you are simply making available a toolbox for G5's builders, a fully stocked van that allows the real architects to do the arches and vaults we have no concept of how to build... and that is okay; we don't need to know. They do... :D

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I have a question for you, Toil, regarding your direct-extraction tea. If I used a modified kitchen mixer to whip it for the five minuets, would this be better that just stirring it, since it incorporates more air, or would it be worse, maybe because it harms the microbes. I'm in the dark on this one, but I'm leaning towards better. What say you?

Thanks.

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I don't think I have any way of answering that question. I would just be guessing. Sorry G5.

I can tell you that the stirring is not for air, it's for stirring and dispersing the microbes. You're going to apply this right away remember? And out there, there's air.
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Umm...slicing and dicing as beneficial to living organisms?

Are we thinking like a chemist or a biologist?

:lol:

Do you really think it will get better if we set to frappe?

:P

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A couple of ice cubes and a little umbrella, your garden will love it. :D

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Are we thinking like a chemist or a biologist?

Laughing
:lol: Too funny, HG. I think I'm thinking like someone who has to stop thinking so much! :D.

Anyway, I was thinking along the lines of a hand mixer, like you mix cake batter with. However, after seeing everyone's opinion, I think I'll just play it safe and use a stick or a big spoon instead.

Thanks.
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The organisms in tea are not the sissies we once thought they were; found a feller online doing slide counts on impeller sprayed biology in tea and he found minimal reduction in counts with this once verboten method we were all sure was so deadly. So I may be overreacting...

But again, you are thinking along that "what's best and easiest for me, the human" line again, and no good comes from that. Start thinking like a microbe, and a gentle washing through the soil until we find our plant partner just seems like a more natural and healthful method, does it not?

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I've heard of a paddle on a drill...

And you do want some vigorous stirring. I've used a wooden spoon, bare hands, and tried putting all the compost in a small container with water, shaking it up, and pouring that into the bigger bucket.

they all seem to do the same thing.
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But again, you are thinking along that "what's best and easiest for me, the human" line again, and no good comes from that.
Ironically, adding microbes to the soil and letting them do their thing is the best and easiest thing to improve the soil and the garden. Plenty of good comes from that :).

I do agree with your statement, though. I've found, too, that the easiest way is usually not the best way; just look at chemical weed killers, for example. However, like you said, HG, never say "never." ACT is one of the few exceptions to this rule.
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Why not just use the bubbles to mix the tea. They not only supply oxygen but are mixing the whole time as well. I also remember reading maybe in this thread something about he size of the bubbles making a difference. Not to big or to too small. Too small of a bubble can cut microbes but just small enough creates a higher surface to air ratio, now bringing physics into the biology. Sound right HG?

I think you are making too complicated. We are just taking bacteria etc and increasing their growth rate to supply the soil thereby increasing the soil food web. Making the nutrients in the soil more available to plants as well as making nutrients themselves through their battle for existence. The bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, fungi all compete for their slice of the microbial pie. Eating, dying and excreting excess nutrients in the process. they know what they are doing let them do their job.

HG sound right? I hope.

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I think I remember reading that the reason you don't want to be rough in compost tea is so as not to destroy fungal hyphae.

In a slurry I'm not sure.
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When you make sourdough bread, you proof your culture, mix in the flour, but don't mix too much. Some little lumps are left here and there but the biology finds them and redistributes them in the next proof. If you mess it around too much you deflate it and your bread ends up flat and doughy instead of nice and fluffed...

You have to trust the biology to do its job. It always does if you let it; it sometimes won't if you fuss about.

Don't fuss about... :wink:

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gixxerific wrote:Why not just use the bubbles to mix the tea. They not only supply oxygen but are mixing the whole time as well. I also remember reading maybe in this thread something about he size of the bubbles making a difference. Not to big or to too small. Too small of a bubble can cut microbes but just small enough creates a higher surface to air ratio, now bringing physics into the biology. Sound right HG?

I think you are making too complicated. We are just taking bacteria etc and increasing their growth rate to supply the soil thereby increasing the soil food web. Making the nutrients in the soil more available to plants as well as making nutrients themselves through their battle for existence. The bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, fungi all compete for their slice of the microbial pie. Eating, dying and excreting excess nutrients in the process. they know what they are doing let them do their job.

HG sound right? I hope.
You got it right, Gix.

It's just that I was referring to what is called "direct extraction tea." This tea is made in a small batch with about three or four times the compost to water ratio than ACT. You mix it for about five minuets and then pour it immediately on the plants.

Thanks for the input.

I agree with HG...Don't fuss about (a habit I must break :lol:).
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You can make direct extraction a lot of ways, really.

Put all you compost mix on a screen door over a bathtub. Recirculate the fluid over the screen ad infinitum until you have rinsed off all the humic content (just sand and bits of wood and such solids left). The liquid is now extract. ANd yes, MUCH higher levels of inputs are necessary

The reason extract can be more useful than tea is you can hold it unfed and dormant with minimal oxygen levels and only occasional stirring until you are ready to use it. Most of our key biology, fungal, protozoan, and bacterial will stay sporulated untill the food and oxygen levels increase.

Then bubble, bubble, no toil and no trouble at all, just our usual foods and air and voila! Tea!

Gixx, your bubble thing gets [url=https://www.springerlink.com/content/n773323171792260/]complicated fast[/url], bubble size, lifting power, surface area. :shock: Destroying hyphae is not so much the issue because once hyphae are broken, they won't grow more anyway. It's spores we are trying to shift in tea. All hyphae tell us is we have a real good chance of finding spores with them...

Lets just shoot for steady, medium sized bubble, and not a roiling boil, and call it even... :wink:

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That's pretty much what I was trying to say, it think. That paper has got MY head rolling now. :shock:

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Good lord man; I didn't actually suggest that you should try to read it! You could hurt yourself! Permanent brain cramps even... :lol:

If it's that complicated, we don't need to know for gardening. Nature takes care of its own... :D

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HG, do you care to go a little bit more in-depth on chelation? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it's the process of taking nutrients and turning them into chemical compounds that make them stay in the soil, but still available to the plants.

How do microbes affect chelation?

By the way; I know it sounds like I'm pulling the chemistry set out of the trash. Don't worry, it's staying in there. :lol:

Thanks.

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No, if you are talking chelation the chemistry set may be in the trash, but you pulled the handbook out... :roll:

That's a new thread; this one is long enough and this doesn't really apply.

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OOOPS!...Sorry about that. I came across the term wile researching compost and thought that it was something beneficial that microbes contributed through. I guess this thread is getting off topic and so am I. I'll try to guide things back on track with this.

Can you make ACT with amended topsoil? I'm talking about basically dirt with a little organic matter mixed in. I know that it's not ideal, but would you get at least some results, or would it be a waste of time?

Thanks. Now, to shred that manual:wink:.
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OM is just a home for biology in tea production, so brandy new OM won't help much. Topsoil is a loaded term without much meaning really; from your lawn? From the garden? From that brownfield with the death heads on the Keep Out signs? From a bag?

Ain't you got any compost? :?:

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I'm getting a bucket and pump setup tomorrow. :D

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sulfured unsulfured or blackstrap molasses for tea that is the question?

I read that sulfured molasses will kill microbes why is this? Is it the sulfur in it, that is what I'm guessing.

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the sulfur is there to control bacterial and fungal growth I believe. Stick with unsulfured.

Use blackstrap if you can, that's what I'm told.
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Thank you that's what I thought I have been using Blackstrap but my wife brought home sulfured molasses so I will try to take it back. :D

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:lol: I can just hear the conversation at the Gixx household now: "What you got SULFURED molasses? I can't use this stuff! You can't grow bacteria and mold with it!" :lol:

(I know we want more fungal, HG, it just sounded better with "bacteria" first. :wink: )

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If I am understanding this all right. Vegetables prefer a more bacterial soil while trees and shrubs (forest) prefer a more fungal soil, so I THINK you were right in the first place.

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OK, work with me here. Sheesh! :wink:

Anyway, I guess it's my turn to be put on the block. The way I have it, we're growing FOOD for the microbes with the tea. So catch the ACT at the height of fungal proliferation. Use that, as spray or drench and they have a block party/orgy on and around the veggies (muscling out the undesirables in the process), every bacteria in the vicinity will crash the party, then the veggies in turn feast on the leftovers.

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The way I have it we are growing microbes with the food. :wink:

Though I'm sure HG will set us straight if we are off course.

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I'm not saying there aren't bacteria and protozoa in the tea already, mind you, but I thought fungal bloom comes first, then bacteria, then protozoa. I really should take my own advice and re-read this entire thread. I'll bet it's all in here somewhere. :roll:

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apple,

the point of aerating tea is to replicate the aerobic organisms found in a small amount of compost, in more or less the same proportions as can be found in the compost.

I have heard of using more "fungal" foods, like hydrolysed fish, to encourage more fungal tea, but normally we are adding sugar of some type, normally molasses. When I think sugar I think bacteria. But I'm sure there is more to it then that.

But we are not trying to initiate fungal bloom (not sure what that is) in order to get things going. We are trying to grow the whole lot out. That's why we don't want to brew too long - eventually the dominant organisms (protists) take over. Add a protist tea to your garden, and you are doing more harm than good.

The food is already in the soil, or you will be adding it separately. Molasses, mulch, fish emulsions, green manure, etc...
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Wow, I'm still learning things.

Anyway, to clarify my earlier post: here is what my "soil" is.

It started out as a heap of dirt. Now, this dirt was accumulated over the course of a few years, but mostly came from clumps of sod that has the grass die and leave the dirt behind. Over the course of the past year, weeds, food scraps, dead (but not diseased) plants, fallen leaves, and a bunch of rotten tomatoes have been added and the pile has been turned a few times.

The end result? It's still dirt, but it has a darker (richer?) color to it. Although it is not true compost, it does have some amount of organic matter in it. How do you think it will do for making tea?
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AS's turn on the block... :twisted:

We are not brewing food for microbes; we are brewing microbes... mollasses is our bacterial food and kelp is fungal side. Fish helps both.

We are extracting exisitng microbes from our compost, moving them into the tea and adding foods and air to the moisture to create a happy environment they will breed in. The bacteria grow, the protozoas grow, fungal spores relase from the hyphae in the compost, actinobacters start to twine around...

Protozoa are not a bad thing at all really, toil, those guys keep the bacteria from going over the top and crashing the tea, and they are our first level of higher predators to start our poop loop. I am happy to see all the amoebas and flagellates you can stuff in there. Cilliates mean your oxygen is getting low, so a few is good, but a lot is bad, but most of them are fine, even beneficial, unless we are trying for a more fungal tea, in which case lower numbers of bacteria and bacterial predators are best...

But if we are making fungal tea, and starting with a good fungal compost, then we shouldn't see heaps of the other guys anyway. It is a more ammonium based system, and doesn't need all the nitrogen looping we do in bacterially dominated soils... so anything not there at the beginning won't show up in the end...

G5, sounds like things ARE breaking down, so you have microbes there. Try it. Might not be optimal tea, but that's better than no tea at all... :wink: As long as you start with something that smells like fresh soil does, you will be getting good biology. Start out with stinky, don't be suprised if you end there too... :P

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OK poor choice of minimal words. (As if I'm ever trying to be less than verbose elsewhere :roll: )

• I realize all the organisms are already in the compost and the aerating in the water with the molasses, etc. "cultures" or increases their population -- i.e. grows them. (Must admit I didn't catch/remember the molasses=>bacterial, kelp=>fungal, fish=>bacterial+fungal relationship)
• What I was trying to say was that my understanding was the fungi "blooms" -- i.e. explosively grows in numbers -- first, then the bacteria, then the protozoa, in that order.
• What I understood (and here I could be wrong) is that because fungi is the bottom of the food chain, we want to use/apply the tea when fungi is at peak -- i.e. a "fungal" tea -- thereby feeding what I called the "microbes" but what I meant was the entire biological activity in and around the target area (including the plant itself, I guess) THEREFORE the 24 hr brew being optimal, and the overly bacterial/protozoa infested (does that connote too negative a condition?) tea beyond 36 hrs.

...Chop away. 8)

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well, food chain is not what we have. We want a web. But if anything is at the bottom it's bacteria/archea. To me fungi are of a higher order and more complex, especially the multi-celled ones. I believe they are eaten by bacteria and nematodes primarily, but I wouldn't be surprised if amoebae eat them. Not sure how they compare in size. But I will say protists are monsters. The biggest one in the world is so big it can be seen with the naked eye. no kidding!

In order swallow something it has to be smaller than you

Hey HG :o I didn't say protists are bad. That's like saying wolves are bad for a valley. Of course we need predators. But if all we have left (say after 72 hours of brewing) is fungi and protists, they could go on a feeding frenzy in the soil and poop out too much mineralized N at once.

I'm not sure if fungi reproduce faster at first, but we are not waiting for them to become food. We provide a food source for bacteria and fungi at the same time (they eat molasses too).

If we were talking effective microbes, then yeah, I suspect the yeast (fungus) goes first, followed by lactobacilli, and the dead yeast makes food for purple nonsulfur bacteria.
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Hmm. I was thinking even as I posted that bacteria ARE smaller than fungi, but you yourself are saying this bacteria eats this fungi and that bacteria eats that fungi... no?

Perhaps you're right and fungi simply reproduce faster and populate the tea first. Perhaps fungi and bacteria are in a more mutually competitive and side-by-side, lateral relationship than a vertical.

Another thought that came to me is that I'm assuming preexisting organisms in the target area (meaning where we're going to use the AACT - be it soil drench or foliar spray), but the majority premise is that there are none or less than ideal, therefore the AACT organisms are used to populate the area.

I guess the concept I had in mind is analogous to planting beneficial insect attracting plants, which attracts the beneficial insects and eats the preexisting pests. Then, overall increase in insect population attracts birds that eat the birds. And they (bugs and birds) all poop, etc. etc.

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O.k., lots to tackle here...

"Fungal blooms". Not in tea they don't. We get little hyphal growth, even in undamaged hyphae, in the tea. We are more looking to free up spores and get them in the mix. When they get to that soil, hopefully we get our bloom...

Whose eating fungi? Well just about everybody. Not so much the bacteria, they are more clean-up crew where fungi is concerned, but I have watched amoebaooze over spores and digest them, fungal feeding nematodes stick stylets in them and suck them dry, and of course worms, mites, etc, etc,...

Here's the thing; very bacterial situations create an alkaline one. Fungal situations tend toward acidity. And they both prefer the situation they create, and dislike the situation the other creates. And please don't ask me to to explain it because the answer will have to be scientific to the point where it makes my eyes cross. We still aren't sure if the soil goes alkaline because of the bacteria, or if bacteria just like alkaline soil so much they show up, and the converse diliemma still abounds around fungi.

Suffice to say that when I am telling you all to stop thinking like chemists about NPK and pH, this is why. When we get our soil to a reasonably balanced fungal/bacterial place, everything from nutrients to pH sorts itself out. And as we are finding in the first chapter of our book club selection, it doesn't matter what YOU think needs to be in the mix because the PLANTS do the real selecting anyway, so let's just use good compost and let them sort it out, right?

Toil, most of my experience in using tea has been commercially on lawns, and in those instances there really isn't any such thing as too many protozoa. The bacterial population is the surest control of the protist population, and I have yet to see a soil devoid of bacteria, even the most destitute chemically treated wastelands still have decent bacterial populations if they haven'y dried out completely. So AS is right, assuming a decent bacterial population is a safe thing to do...

You have to trust that Nature will balance out any tweaks you make to the ecosystem pretty quickly, as long as it isn't a chemical attack. I agree you can get a little boom and bust with really crazy numbers, and a lot of the bacteria in our compost are things we want to get into our lawns and gardens, not our protozoa, but that's another reason to call it at 24 hours of brewing and use your tea. But I have seen very protozoan teas actually green up a lawn visibly within an hour. And people ask me if this stuff works... :wink:

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Ah ha!
"Fungal blooms". Not in tea they don't. We get little hyphal growth, even in undamaged hyphae, in the tea. We are more looking to free up spores and get them in the mix. When they get to that soil, hopefully we get our bloom...
... and some spores germinate in aerated water within 24 hrs!! (Oyster Mushrooms for one, and, when done properly without competing organisms, the aqueous solution can then be used to inoculate an agar media - but that's another thread :wink:). PRE-GERMINATED FUNGI! :clap:

:idea: This DEFINITELY means you want to avoid sunlight when applying your tea.
Pick a misty rainy day. 8)

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bacteria do eat fungi! Dead ones... And they are too small to swallow. It's all done outside the cell I believe.

HG, I'd say that instant greening from protozoa heavy tea is caused by fast mineralization. I know she's not god, but Dr. Ingham does warn against it. The theory is that too many protists can consume too much oxygen at once in the right conditions. I imagine that especially in heavy soil this could spell disaster. Never seen it myself. But I stopped making aerated tea when I realize my equipment was inadequate. Starting up again would be great, but for now I make slurry, or at the community garden, we top dress with buttloads of humus.
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