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Gary350
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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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Toil
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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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chops
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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
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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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chops
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toil, the air pumps exhaust is 62 GPH, but more importantly it is what i have and will work to get started. i may add another pump in the future but for now this will do. as for the burlap sack, it is receiving maximum bubbles, the string that is tied across the bucket is holding the sack directly above the air stones.

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just reduce the water to 1 gallon or so, no need for a new pump unless you are married to 4 gallons at once.

I think you want an airstone actually in the compost, not below the bag. it matters! but none of the experts are going to tell you it isnt better to let the compost go free. the pores of your burlap are just a bit large, so the result may not be a great foliar spray.

much better than brewing with an underpowered pump is the stirring with a stick for a bit method.

I am using aquarium pumps again to brew - but in pill bottles, for viewing in the scope.
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I have used that size pump for a gallon jug, but it is likely a little underpowered for five gallons... it will work at optimal conditions, but as biofilm clogs the stone it will fade fast...

HG
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OK, I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm just trying to figure something out.

HG, your saying that his size pump (62 gph) would not be ideal for a 5 gal. bucket. However, earlier you said
G5, I misthunk back there; per hour, not per gallon on the pump. FOr a 5 gallon anyway. Turn your tank, whatever size, three to four times an hour and you are good. Sorry for the confusion Embarassed

HG
I'm confused :?, wouldn't his pump more than accomplish this? Thanks for clearing this up :).
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this is from tim wilsons site. There are competing figures out there, but something tell me to go with Tim.
First of all I’d like to make it clear that most aquarium air pumps don’t produce enough air to use in a container larger than 1 gallon when considering making an aerated brewer. So don’t even try the 5 gallon pail with the aquarium pump idea everybody is passing around. You need a minimum 0.05 CFM (cubic feet per minute), open flow of air and an optimum 0.08 CFM per gallon (US) or higher to make aerated compost tea (ACT). ACT should have the DO2 sustained at or above 6 PPM. Generally, aquarium pumps produce around 0.02 to 0.16 CFM. Another generality is that 25 watts of power usually produces 0.75 to 1.0 CFM in diaphragm air pumps. The wattage is usually marked on the pump which will help you figure out the approximate output. I’ll cover more on air pumps later.

In the following I will outline some simple methods of building a variety of compost tea makers. I am not going to discuss anaerobic methods at this time. Later on I may add some sketches.

1/ Stir Method: The cheapest way to make compost tea is the old fashioned way. Just add compost to clean, non-chlorinated, water (above 65 degrees F. recommended) and stir like mad with a clean stick or whathaveyou. I’d recommend using about 3 to 5% compost by volume of water and stir it up as often as you can over an 8 to 12 hour period. Some people do it over a 24 hour period and also add some foodstock like molasses, fish hydrolysate and kelp. You can experiment with different times and ingredients and decide for yourself. If you have a microscope, check it out. When you feel that you have a completed compost tea (CT) you can remove it in several ways. If you have just used a 5 gallon pail you can simply let the particulate matter settle and pour the clearer CT off into watering cans or your sprayer.
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So don’t even try the 5 gallon pail with the aquarium pump idea everybody is passing around. You need a minimum 0.05 CFM (cubic feet per minute), open flow of air and an optimum 0.08 CFM per gallon (US) or higher to make aerated compost tea (ACT)
I just don't buy that... Fish are aerobic. They need 4-10 ppm of oxygen to live, and the aquarium pumps most people are using are for 10-30+ gallon tanks. If it's enough to keep a tank that size aerobic, why is it not enough to keep a 5 gallon bucket aerobic? (assuming approximately room-temperature water... that's important)

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the target with fish is not killing the fish.

the target with aerating tea is tilting the balance overwhelmingly towards aerobes and promoting diversity within their ranks. You are loading the water with sugar and making them multiply rapidly, which uses lots and lots of oxygen.

different goal different gear.
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I think the biggest difference is in the quantity of biology you are producing; in a fish tank it does not take an awfull lot of bacteria to maintain biologically sound conditions for the fish (with the fish providing very small additions of nutrient).

In a tea you are producing so many bacteria and other lifeforms that the redox levels are quickly overwhelmed as we add massive amounts of nutrient (like keeping a shark in that five gallon aquarium)... the biofilm build-ups alone can really set back a smallish pump in a hurry

So have to go with toil on this one; not a great analogy... on the other hand, the tea made in that five gallon bucket with a tiny pump is still likely a good enough product to be beneficial compared to no tea at all...

HG
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i ended up finishing and using the 5 gallon tea and then made and used a 2 gallon tea a couple of days later. the smell of the two brews was similar as was the foam development. i guess without a microscope there is no way to know for sure if there was a difference between the two.

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Thanks for the replies all, and for that great information, Toil. I guess I'll just make the teal with about 1 gal. of water in the bucket and then dilute it with the other 4 gal. later.

Here is a question: would you get better tea by brewing it in 1 gal. of water with an appropriately sized pump and diluting it with water or would it work better if you used an underpowered pump but with more water and compost?

I'm probably splitting hairs, but basically I'm comparing using a fish tank pump in a gallon of water and then diluting it or just using it will the more water, but not diluting it.
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Less chance of craqshing the tea in the dilution model, so likely better biology. I'd dilute...

Or buy a bigger pump...

I agree with toil that 6 ppm dissolved O2 is our target...

HG
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Hi everyone

I commented 20 pages ago when this thread was called areated manuer tea and had no clue what you all were talking about. This thread has become like a giant snow ball.
Well, I am making a note on my facebook for all my newby friends about ACT. :D

So far I have read up to page 15 and back tracked from 30 a bit but I really want to have up to speed information because I need to do this myself too. Ill share my photos of before and after ACT soon!!

Can this be used on squash and pumpkins and beans?
Does ACT not work on any certain plants?
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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ACT doesn't work on plants as much as works on soils, sage, so it works on everything... think of it as dumping a big toolbox in front of your plants and letting them choose the tools they will build with...

HG
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Yes Sage like HG said it is not so much a "fertilizer" as it is a soil modifier.

Yes it will work for any plant. If you have been reading you know that act can be bacterial, fungal or balanced. Balanced is what we strive for. But a more bacterial mix will do better with vegetable type crops, grass while a more fungal mix will fare better with shrubs, trees, perennial plants.

HG I am thinking correctly here right?

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So far so good...
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Yes, I saw many of topdollarbread's variations but how do we make a balanced ACT. Also why is it being called AACT?

Not so much on plants but on soil? I can see that but what about foliar feeding.
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AACT stands for Actively Aerated Compost Tea.


Foliar works as well getting the microbiology to the phyllosphere (the area directly around the leaves) where it can do it's magic there as well. The leaves are just roots above ground and the roots are just leaves below ground. Doing this will help fight off pathogenic bacteria and fungi and create more beneficial microbiology on the leaves and stems.

Not so versed at the time on what to add to make the mix lean one way or the other. But the compost you start the tea with will dictate the majority of how balanced or unbalanced your tea is. If your compost is mostly green it will be bacterial if it is more browns it will be more fungal and a balanced mix will give you a balanced tea. HG can help in this area much more than I can.
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Leaves as roots may be stretching it, but leaves can absorb some moisture and nutrition. Frankly, I think the foliar spray side of ACT has been overstated and some of the scientific evidence backs that. But if done preventatively, then I do believe increasing the biological culture on the leaf surface creates antagonistic biocultures that can be prohylactic, especially with fungal diseases. But I think ACT does it's best work in the soil, not above it...

HG
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Leaves as roots may be stretching it, but leaves can absorb some moisture and nutrition.
HG
Theoretically speaking of course. They do absorb light and oxygen etc where the leaves absorb nitrogen, potassium etc. They all do their part in acquiring needed nutrients for life.

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OK, here's one I'm not sure was discussed yet. Should we use totally finished compost for our tea or should we go with about 3/4 finished compost since, at least to my understanding, finished compost has less microbial life to start our brewing with than does unfinished compost. Or doesn't it really make a difference?
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Toil
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gixxerific wrote:
The Helpful Gardener wrote:Leaves as roots may be stretching it, but leaves can absorb some moisture and nutrition.
HG
Theoretically speaking of course. They do absorb light and oxygen etc where the leaves absorb nitrogen, potassium etc. They all do their part in acquiring needed nutrients for life.
based on my own informal study, I've "concluded" that all plants have the genetic potential to "use leaves as roots". btw, I'm sure everyone has seen roots turn green when soil erodes - from chlorophyl.

Look at my sundews, kelp, and those weird amazonian plants that get nutrients primarily from the leaf. Foliar uptake so is less a leap forward and more of a return to origins (I guess I can't say radical) as I see it. That "standard" plants still retain some latent ability to do this should be no surprise.


sorry off topic
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G5, that's a good question and I wish I had a good answer, but I'm not sure the jury is in on that one yet...

If you are looking for a big bacterial population then the 3/4 stuff would be better; less predation and more population as food sourcing hasn't finished out yet.

BUT you are feeding the tea as well, so you have a better chance of a runaway reaction (bacterial overpopulation) which is the usual agent for CRASHING a tea (using available oxygen and going anaerobic).

So for safety sake, I say finished. You will still get a bacterial component as they respond to the foods in the tea, and your protozoan population will likely be more developed...

HG
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WOW! What a thread!

I have read this thing from front to back 3 times now!

I have a quick question though.

I read in one of the posts (by HG I think) that you should brew the tea at the same temp as it is outside. Well, I have been doing that but now that it's hotter, I am getting some weirdness.

I use home grown vermicompost, alfalfa bricks (small compressed for rabbits), and unsulfured molasses. Anyway, the first few times I made it when it was cooler outside, it smelled sweet and almost good enough to eat :lol:

But the past 2 times I've made it, it has smelled kind of like apple cider and LOTS of foam (am assuming that means something is killing the "bugs"). The bucket is not in the direct sun and is aerated and loosly covered with a lid and brewed for 24 hrs but it has been in the mid 90s here.

Is it possible that temp DOES matter somewhat?

I have gone ahead and used it as a drench since it didn't smell "bad" just different.

Thanks for any insight.

Tom

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maybe try soil temp not air temp?
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I think it's the alfalfa. Now that it's hotter, that might be pushing the mix too much.

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OK, so maybe brew it in the garage or basement and just use EWC and Molasses? I'll give it a shot.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Tom

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Temp totally matters. Absolutely.

We used to go much lighter with bacterial foods (molasses, and alfalfa both fit that bill) as things heated up, and a cidery smell means you are producing alcohols, which suggests lactobacillus or yeast fermentation. That can be very detrimental to your biology; in particular fungi take it on the chin when alcohols are produced. Foams are excess proteins, possibly from dead biologies... :cry:

In hot weather, you should back off foods considerably, especially when presented with unsavory smells (alcohols, sulfides, ammonias, etc.) Dr. Ingham gave me the finest advice I have ever had on the matter, and I quote the world's leading expert here...

"If it smells bad...It's BAD!"

Bad tea should go on your compost heap, not on plants... even bad tea is good for compost...

HG
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Well SHOOT! You mean I did a bad thing by using it as a soil drench on the veggies? *SIGH*

Oh well, nothing that can't be fixed (I hope) by the extra additions of GOOD ACT in the coming days.

So, making sure I got this straight. Like I said, I've read the thread 3 times so far and am still a bit fuzzy about some points...

Brew the tea in a cooler location, drop the alfalfa for now and just use EWC and molasses. Aerate for 24 hrs or so and it should smell sweet and "earthy". If it smells vinegary, DO NOT use on plants, but instead, dump it in the compost pile.

Do I have it yet? :?

Thanks for all the help!

Tom

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24 hrs is safe.

must be hot there. It's taking over 48 at my place to get enough action going on under the scope. it's been mid 70's or so.
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Man, this is the thread that took over New York City! It'll take me weeks to read all the new postings. You take a winter off, and see what happens. I am jealous. I want to be making tea, too. Right now, though, the soil's too waterlogged and cold for the plants to benefit. Yesterday the low was 28. Maybe next week.

I've got to figure out a way to condense this thread so I can print it out and carry it with me while I watch my plants grow :-) I browsed backwards through it and saw some interesting stuff on pumps and recipes. Oh. I seriously liked the mini-tea pot: a gallon jug. I need to learn more about that, since I only have twelve plants set out right now and only eight of them have been out long enough to have a decent root system.

Good stuff, guys! I can't wait to read it all the way through.
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Toil wrote:24 hrs is safe.

must be hot there. It's taking over 48 at my place to get enough action going on under the scope. it's been mid 70's or so.
Yeah, we went from highs in the 60's a couple weeks ag to mid 90's now. Looks like we're not going to get a Spring this year.

Tom

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compost tea is never a waste!

but for soggy pre planting ground I like to use EM.
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navajo
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Toil wrote:compost tea is never a waste!

but for soggy pre planting ground I like to use EM.
OK, you got me here. What is EM?

Eagle Manure? Emu Manure? Eel Manure? :lol:

Really, what is it?

Thanks,

Tom

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er... another thread. Effective microbes. Sorry WM!
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Toil wrote:er... another thread. Effective microbes. Sorry WM!
:lol:

Gotcha!

Thanks,

Tom

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