top_dollar_bread
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was thinking maybe, a reference link library may help with new members who have yet to read threw the thread? maybe post links on info discussed already so members can maybe get to speed?
ther is much info on the web on ACT or AACT and well here's a start..
[url=https://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/brewing-compost-tea.aspx]brewing compost tea article[/url]
simple 5 gal brewer
[url=https://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/recycle/Tea/tea1.htm]compost tea as easy as 1,2,3[/url]
another simple brewer
tad hussey tea articles from [url=https://www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com/index.shtml]gardening with microbes[/url]
[url=https://www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com/teaarticle.shtml]part 1[/url]
types of tea's, benefits of ACT, key points to make proper quality ACT
[url=https://www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com/teaarticle2.shtml]part 2[/url]
great pointers on making own brewer, how much oxygen, best tea bag micron size, brewing temps, recipes, cleaning and biofilm build up
[url=https://www.soilfoodweb.com/sfi_approach1.html]soil food web approach[/url]
great 3 part detailed info on understanding soil food web, compost biology and compost tea
[url=https://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/soil_biology/soil_food_web.html]soil biology primer[/url]
The Primer includes units describing the soil food web and its relationship to soil health, and units about bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms
[url=https://www.soilsecrets.com/Soil%20Ecology%20and%20the%20Soil%20Food%20Web.pdf]soil ecology and the soil food web pdf[/url]
importance of the soil food web
[url=https://microbeorganics.com/#What_is_Compost_Tea_]microbe organics[/url]
a wonderful site with articles on compost tea,growing from a microbial perspective, images and videos on microbe identification, detailed info on building compost tea brewers of many sizes and microscopes

i may just edit one of my first post and post the links ther.. :?:
any links,info, qoutes that some one thinks maybe of help can just post them and if its cool i or a mob will throw them near the beginning of the thread..also sorry in advance if this isnt a good idea (linking to other sites and what not)

any who heres some pics of brews, im hoping i havent post these yet :lol:
[img]https://i887.photobucket.com/albums/ac78/top_dollar_bread/user118129_pic211579_1257481304.jpg[/img]
the 5 galer and the
[img]https://i887.photobucket.com/albums/ac78/top_dollar_bread/DSC00086.jpg[/img]
good old milk jug, this works great for small gardeners or those who wish to brew a small batch to foliar spraying..just [url=https://i887.photobucket.com/albums/ac78/top_dollar_bread/user118129_pic328578_1268973436.jpg]screen[/url] so you don't clog your sprayer. i also don't use air stones no more, the tube works fine and if you read the tad hussey article, cheap airstones are hard to clean the biofilm off and cleanness is important :wink:

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Yeah, the fused glass bead type are way more expensive but worth it...

Still without keeps it all moving and as I've said here before, surface exchange is the best aerator...

HG
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Thanks for the links, TDB....I've got some reading to do :shock:.

What size air pump do you use? I know it's and aquarium pump, but is is like for a 5-10 gallon aquarium, or a 10-20 gallon one?

DDF: one word: awesome 8).
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lj in ny
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Total ACT Newbie here! I've been reading the thread (I'm on page 13 now). I got so excited I went and bought equipment yesterday and set it up this moring. I'm using Bruce Deuley's Little Texas Tea Brewer plans that I found on the internet: 2- 6" airstones, 2- 1" airstones, 5 gal bucket and an airpump for a 60 gal tank. He say's to take the compost bag out after 8 hours and keep it bubling for an additional 24. Is that what you all do (those that use a bag)? I bought some aged manure but realized this morning that the guy who put it in my car put the wrong stuff in it's Hudson Valley Organics "Garden Compost" =Leaves and aged manure. Should that work? I'm also using 5tbs unsulphured molasses, 5tbs hydrolysed Fish and 5tbs liquid seaweed stuff both from Neptunes Harvest. I also have Alfalfa (not pellets-the grassy stuff), cotton seed meal and corn meal available but I didn't use any of it in this batch. It's been going for about 5 hours and I don't have any foam yet. Is that bad or no big deal? Does the sun exposure matter? I have it against an east facing wall (that's where the outdoor plug is) It's about 55'F and sunny here today.

[https://picasaweb.google.com/lhjohnson44/2010Garden#5458971815935195586[/img]
Last edited by lj in ny on Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Not certified to answer the ingredient ? yet but I have been told to not get too nitrogenous with the batch.

I would however keep it out of the sun, bacteria don't like direct sunlight.

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Gixx it's always nice to see you've been paying attention :P

Absolutely correct on all points...

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lj in ny
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gixxerific wrote:Not certified to answer the ingredient ? yet but I have been told to not get too nitrogenous with the batch.

I would however keep it out of the sun, bacteria don't like direct sunlight.


Why would it become too Nitrogenous? If I start adding more stuff to the basic recipe? I'm sticking with proven recipes. I start all of my plants (annuals, perennials and veggies) from seed it would be disasterous if my tea ended up killing everything.

I have a lid on the bucket and it's not air tight (there's a hole in it) back on page 16 THG said that the lid will keep out the sunlight..so I'm thinking I'm good...
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Hey LJ,

Getting a tea to go bacterial is as easy as adding more nitrogenous inputs; all the extra inputs you mentioned fit that description...

Nitrogen and bacteria are the easy part, but when we unbalance to that side, we do it at the expense of the fungal side, the part generally most lacking in our soils and the harder part to stimulate...

Think of it as a see-saw with fungus on one side and bacteria on the other. You start feeding the bacteria, they get fat, and now what?

Poor fungus all up in the air and the see-saw doesn't work so well anymore...

If that bucket is shielded from direct rays you should be okay, but watch for high temperatures, which can also trigger bacterial runaway too. Food is just one way to imbalance your tea; temperature and oxygen (lack of) are the other sides of that triangle...

HG
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garden5 wrote:Thanks for the links, TDB....I've got some reading to do :shock:.

What size air pump do you use? I know it's and aquarium pump, but is is like for a 5-10 gallon aquarium, or a 10-20 gallon one?

DDF: one word: awesome 8).
im think 5 gal or less, i use one or two for the milk jug and my 5 galler i use 3 and one connects to a power head. the power head keep everything moving really well in the 5 galer but im pretty sure i cant get good fungal tea with a power head

lj in ny
don't worry about the foam, its not a indicator of good ACT more then a indicator to much food was used.

your tea sounds ok but i think you didnt nead the neptunes if you added the hydrolsed fish..
if starting seeds, stick with plain compost tea or worm casting slurrys.
most seedling don't need much to grow @ all
later on a good alfalfa tea will work wonders as a drench or foliar. that alfalfa and molasses, bubbled for 24hrs.

if you using the tea you mentioned on seedling dilute it!
HTH

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lj in ny
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Neptunes Harvest was the brand of Hydrolysed fish that I used- sorry about not being clear. Keep your fingers crossed. My 36 hours are up so I diluted the mixture by 1/2 (making 10 gallons) using 5 gallons of water that I had put in a 2nd bucket yesterday morning to dechlorinate. I put the mixture in a watering can and watered some of my potted plants as well as all of my roses and the flower gardens. I also waterd 5 seedlings (ones that I have duplicates of). I washed out the bucket and cleaned the airstones really well and filled both buckets up with water again to sit and dechlorinate. I think next I will try the tomato seedlings and the lawn.

Still reading the sticky. I'm on page 16 now...Thanks everyone for your help!
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Re: Total Cost for Equipment: $9.83

[quote]MOLASSES
The reason nutrient manufacturer’s have “discoveredâ€

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Actually Gary, what the carbs really stimulate is bacteria. Fungal foods are also high in carbs, but the readily soluble nature of either molasses or sugar makes it bacterial food first. (the molasses is actually more readily available due to the lack of refinement). Not to menition all the heating that went into getting it from brown to white. You lose humic acids and tannins there, and those have value as well...

Often what we think of as "wild yeasts" are actually that most common bacteria, Lactobacillus. While there are certainly some fungal yeasts in the wild as well, this bacteria is so common around the planet that we use it for all sorts of stuff (my sourdough starter proofing up as we speak in the kitchen is a product of Lactobacillus). Just about any fermented food you can think of gets it's sour flavor from the acid loving bacteria (yep, that's NOT really common; most like base conditions). Yogurt, sour cream, pickles, kim chee; all products of bacterial action...

If you overstimulate with sugar you can get very bacterial soils, which is actually a detriment to fungal activity, so more is not better. But put down the Purel and the sterile potting medium; bacteria are mostly our friends...

Gary, I have to say I don't like your recipe very much; where's the air? Sounds like a recipe for anaerobic stew, which could burn plants with the ammonia and alcohols when that happens. Pretty dicey...

HG
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I made my first batch of direct-extraction tea! :D :D :D. I took about 2-3 hand-fulls of my compost/dirt, put it in a 5 gal. bucket with 1 gal. of water, and stirred for 5 min. Afterwords, I strained it and gave a straight dose to my tomato and pepper seedlings that are under the lights. The tomatoes were starting to turn yellow, so I hope this helps.
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Next time throw a little molasses in with that. You will be amazed the difference it makes! Really stimulates the bacteria that give off that fresh earth scent a good compost pile has.
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G5, RBG

G5 was making direct extraction tea. I wouldn't think that any additions would make much of a difference in only 5 minutes or so. You would need to got to AACT Actively Aerated Compost Tea for benefits in my eyes. I can't see the microbes doing much in that short of a time unless you are hoping for the molasses to feed the microbes while in the soil itself.

Just put some down myself. And I always add molasses in the beginning and a little fish emulsions at the end but that is about it. If you get too complicated with your tea problems may arise. But than again a lot of people use very anaerobic tea all the time.

Another thing to note is that bacteria hang on for dear life. We go back to the tooth brushing example. So you know how hard they cling to things. Which makes organic microbial heavy fertilizers so much better than chemical fertilizers which mainly get washed away, they have no way or no one to help them hold on the the soil particles. So what I'm trying to say is that time is needed to help work the bacteria off the aggregates in the compost. They won't let go easily so time and aeration is a good way to get them loose and than repopulate which is the whole idea of compost tea in the first place.

From what I have seen just a rinse through compost is not doing it to it's fullest potential you may get some nutrients but what you are after is the bacteria and that is where the real nutrient farming is done.

I may be getting over my head here I'm sure HG will either praise me or scold me in a mentor sort of way. :lol:

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Bingo gix. The microbes land in water with a food source. Enough to get a foothold we hope.
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Well, when I did the direct extraction thing with molasses, I let it sit for an hour or so, stirring and splashing every few minutes for a bit of aeration. Then I didn't strain it, but just poured out the compost with the water onto the raised bed I was using it for.

I can tell you it did make a difference, because I smelled it at the beginning -- didn't smell bad, it was good compost, but didn't have much smell at all -- and after an hour. It smelled much richer and more earthy after an hour.

But yes I was working on the assumption that pouring the water/compost/ molasses solution onto my soil, the bacteria that had started growing would continue to do so in the soil.
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DEFINITELY. There's no way a mixture like this would NOT help. Granted the concentration of the microbes is nowhere that of AACT, but you're still adding to the soil foodweb, and providing the molasses and allowing them to multiply a bit is a great idea.

If anyone doesn't think so, try proofing a packet of yeast in warm water with a bit of molasses in it. :wink:

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I'm pretty sure the microbial counts are more or less the same if not better.

The disadvantage is you need a lot of compost. Like ten times or twenty times.

Lots and lots.

Aerating means conserving compost. But direct extraction is the benchmark to which aerated tea is compared.
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I'm not putting down anyone or anyone's ideas here.

Any form of compost tea is better than nothing.

Keep the tea brewing.

Now as Rainbow does an hour would be better than just a few minutes. Sure bacteria can repopulate quickly but the more the merrier right? 8) That is the whole idea of tea again to make as many and as varied a microbial population possible. Variety is key since they all have there own way of doing things. Main thing is to not let it go anaerobic.

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Well, the advantage of the direct extraction thing for me, compared to AACT, is that it is simple and easy, requires no equipment and therefore no cleaning of equipment, which means I will actually do it. Actual direct extraction whatever (I understand I can't call it tea :) ) does way more good than hypothetical AACT!

I use a shovel full of compost in a 2 gal bucket. I guess that is way more compost than the AACT folks would use. On the other hand that bucket full of compost/ water/ molasses solution seems like plenty for one of my 4 x 8 beds, whereas if I were top dressing with the compost, it would take lots of shovels full. So it does stretch my compost, compared with not doing it.
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Well, I think that AACT is more like a BREW and your "direct extraction" is more like a TEA. Or maybe AACT is an INFUSION and yours is a TISANE. AACT definitely is not exactly a TEA. :wink:

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Remember that we are stimulating a food web here, not just bacteria. Certainly that is the idea behind the molasses, to kick up the bacterial counts, but the protists ramp up nearly instantly to big increases in their mast food supply (bacteria) and the poop loop is off and running...

I'm with toil though; the compost conservative thing is to inoculate your tea, rather than just populating it with larger amounts of compost. I don't make enough to get that free and loose with it...

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Inoculate? with what? Are we getting all tech-y again?

I am here advocating for the working people of the world, who need a way to garden that is simple, easy, and not incredibly time-consuming, low fuss, but works with nature.

In my world, my one shovel of compost in a bucket of direct extract whatever, (not even a heaping shovel) is a very conservative use of the compost, compared to top dressing with it.

By now, got to go to work! :)
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Hey RBG!

You know me and the big words... :lol:

I'm just saying that same shovel full could make twenty gallons of AACT, given some air, some more water, and 24 hours...

Stretching that compost... your way is easier, I'll give you that...

HG
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wow oh wow HG I mixed up some municipal compost with fish hydrolysate and waited 3 days (the container is small, so I decided the surface area to volume ratio was low enough not to need aeration).

Under the scope it looks insane! A complete zoo, ginormous flagellates (so far the ciliates were the only big thing).

I will compare a sample from the same pile using molasses.


If anyone wants me to test out some foods, I have an aquarium pump to make tiny batches of compost tea.
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Wow, Toil, sounds like you are having some fun.

I know that I really didn't get much in the way of microbes from my tea, but I'm hoping that I did at least get some nutrients. You see, my compost isn't really what most would define as "compost." whereas most compost is mainly decayed/decaying organic matter, mine is a pile of dirt that has gotten some weeds, leaves, food, etc. added to it over time. So, I like to call it amended dirt. Well, since there is some decomposition going on, there should be some microbes in there, right?
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tons!

To put it in perspective: my most mature wormcastings look dead by comparison. It's all humus.

The most lively compost seems to be unfinished compost.
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"The most lively compost seems to be unfinished compost." I expect so... that's where all the worms, pillbugs, etc, are in my pile too. Once the compost is all finished, it's not as exciting for them, less food I guess, so they migrate up to where the unfinished stuff is. Same as the worms in the worm bin migrate away from the castings to where fresh food is. Makes sense that it would work the same way at the micro level.

It's so cool, that you are actually looking to see what's happening!
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Toil I would thing that the unfinished compost would be more alive. Though we are getting off topic here. But fully finished compost has gone through the high heat cycle that kills a lot of the residents. Though there is the finishing state where the other microbiology start to flourish yet again a big happy cycle

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As compost finishes the food sources dwindle, so the bacteria dwindles, so the protozoans dwindle etc., etc...

In unaerated extract I would expect ciliates to dominate, as well as coliforms. Fungal and amoebic and flagellate forms all want good aeration. High cilliates usually tell me the soil is compacted...

HG
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they aren't so numerous, but they are really big.

this time big flagellates is the thing. one was dying and had stuff caught on his tails (2 maybe 3 tails), so I got a neat look.

And these weird lemon (from one angle) shaped things - when they are "on" I see a swirl of water/particles on either side, then they sort of "pop" off, and the motion stops. and then they repeat.
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Toil wrote:they aren't so numerous, but they are really big.

this time big flagellates is the thing. one was dying and had stuff caught on his tails (2 maybe 3 tails), so I got a neat look.

And these weird lemon (from one angle) shaped things - when they are "on" I see a swirl of water/particles on either side, then they sort of "pop" off, and the motion stops. and then they repeat.
Man, Toil, what kind of microscope do you have? Where could I find some like that?
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Naegleria ios a real common soil flagellate...

[img]https://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2010/03/images/amoeba.jpg[/img]

This one is stained, but you get the idea...

Lemon shaped...hmmm... dinoflagellates? This is Peridinium...

[img]https://hypnea.botany.uwc.ac.za/phylogeny/classif/images/peridinium2.jpg[/img]

Yeah, the swirling in the feeding is a common thing, more noted on cilliates than anything else. The big fast fellahs look like this?

[img]https://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios104/mike/cilliate.jpg[/img]

Yep, I used to get payed to do that stuff; I miss that job...

HG
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These lemon things seem immobile, but then I thought I saw one streak across the slide as if on rockets. Really gotta get the camera going.


G5, I got it from Tim Wilson. His site is microbeorganics.com . I'm about to bug him into doing a correspondence course.

I have the large model. The filters are really cool, because it simulates darkfield, phase contrast, and all that. Not top of the line, but good features for the money.

HG, those are beautiful! Once you stain, do they keep? I'm thinking I may want to do that.
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Septic tank water works better than any fertilizer. When I lived at the other house 30 years ago there was a septic tank in the ground that was no longer connected to the sewer system of the house. I use to throw all my organic stuff in the tank. Sticks, leaves, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, saw dust, anything organic I could find. The tank stayed full of water on its own just like a well does. I use to pump the water to the plants in the garden and they would grow like crazy.

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Naegleria ios a real common soil flagellate...

[img]https://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2010/03/images/amoeba.jpg[/img]

This one is stained, but you get the idea...

Lemon shaped...hmmm... dinoflagellates? This is Peridinium...

[img]https://hypnea.botany.uwc.ac.za/phylogeny/classif/images/peridinium2.jpg[/img]

Yeah, the swirling in the feeding is a common thing, more noted on cilliates than anything else. The big fast fellahs look like this?

[img]https://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios104/mike/cilliate.jpg[/img]

Yep, I used to get payed to do that stuff; I miss that job...

HG
If you don't mind me prying, what kind of job was it that allowed you analyze soil microbes for a living? That sound like it'd be an interesting field to be in.
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btw HG, the big fast swirl monsters are big giant flagellates. Maybe that dyno thing, because they are huge! The swirls are caused by two "wheels" made of bristles that seem as if they spin.
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

first i would like to thank everyone in this thread for all the great information and data. i started my first compost tea this evening and i hope it will be ready for the garden Friday morning. i just started raising worms and built a large compost bin out of pallets in the past month so i do not have any of my own compost yet. fortunately a friend has compost bins that have been going for a couple of years so i traded my turning one of them for a gallon bag of compost that looks just like dirt. i filled a burlap sack with a large handful of compost and a large handful of alfalfa and then added the water and 5 tbsp of molasses. plugged in the air pump and voila...

[img]https://img228.imageshack.us/img228/2107/composttea01.jpg[/img]

it smells sweet as, well, molasses. the ingredients...

[img]https://img522.imageshack.us/img522/9005/composttea02.jpg[/img]

i have a couple if nice 55 gallon aquarium heaters in storage that i may use if needed. here is a pic of the current 'setup'...

[img]https://img682.imageshack.us/img682/6881/wormsandtea.jpg[/img]

the small grey bucket is a colony of local worms i collected in moist leaf litter and the green rubbermaid with the air pump on top is my main colony of red wigglers (which will be expanding soon) and my tea is brewing on the right. i will probably add a top of some sort tonight.

i would love to see what is going on under a microscope and am working on that but do not have such capabilities at this point in time.

brew on everyone.

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

hey there!

can you describe that pump? not to be negative, but it does not look able to handle 5 gallons. Maybe 1 gallon or so. Dissolved O2 should be quite high, so go overboard.


I have gotten in touch with the master gardener that consults with the land trust that administers all the community gardens in my area. They spend a fortune on carting leaf compost from Hamden to the gardens, when a brewer that makes the rounds could do about half the job at least, for way cheaper.

Also, burlap is not a great choice. Why not let it float freely and use a paint strainer? If you do go with a sack of some kind, have some bubbles going right in the bag.
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