garden5
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My ACT Set-Up! Thoughts and Opinions?

OK, I'm finally going to be joining the ranks of ACT brewers :o!

Here's my brewer:

--A clean 5 gal. bucket

--A whisper 15-30 aquarium pump

--A length of air hose (obviously :roll: )

--A 10in. air stone.

Now, the air stone is only like 1in. wide, but is 10 in. long. Basically, it lays across the entire diameter of the bucket when laid on the bottom.

For the actual brewing, I'm going to have about 1 gal. of water in the bucket, which will fill the bucket about 2 1/2 in.

To this water, I'm going to add about 1 cup of compost, which is really dirt that's had organic matter added to it over time.

I'll lay the stone across the bottom of the bucket and let it brew 24 hours, after which I will promptly apply it to the garden.

So......What do you all think? Is the stone too big? Should I add more water, like 2 gal. since there will probably be a lot of bubbles (can you have too many)? Is my compost too low quality (though I am sure microbes are present, since there has been decomposition)?

Oh, and I'm not even going to go there about my pump size :roll: :lol:.

No one has to answer all these questions, I just threw them out as some possible suggestions. Thanks, all, for your great advice.
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Urban_wombat
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I only use just a small stone .. the results (I think!) are fine.

It took a couple of moments working out what ACT was.. my first thought it's someone from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory

garden5
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I'm wondering if the 10in. may be over-kill. It's just that it was the only one they had, aside from a small one about 2in. long.
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The Helpful Gardener
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The only thought on oversizing a stone is if the pump is not big enough to push it, you get tea backflowing into the stone and biology wants surfaces to grow on so you get biofilm build ups in the stone that much faster.

Too much air moving things around too much can break up fungal hyphae and keep them from developing, but otherwise there is no such thing as too much air...

Keep it all clean (H2O2 is your friend) and you should be good to go...

HG
Scott Reil

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Why?? :?

It is neat that composting has become a form of gardening but what exactly is forced air composting at that scale that warrants the effort?

I truly am very fond of my piles and I even show non-gardening visitors the heaps like I was showing off something in bloom so my interest as well as my confusion is genuine.

I'm off to do a little forced air circulation with my pitch fork. :D :D
Got anything good that's Z6 hardy?

garden5
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planter wrote:Why?? :?

It is neat that composting has become a form of gardening but what exactly is forced air composting at that scale that warrants the effort?

I truly am very fond of my piles and I even show non-gardening visitors the heaps like I was showing off something in bloom so my interest as well as my confusion is genuine.

I'm off to do a little forced air circulation with my pitch fork. :D :D
I think you have have the concept a little confused. [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097]Read this.[/url] ACT is "aerated compost tea."
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garden5
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OK, after the hose is connected, the whole stone doesn't lay flush on the bottom, more like diagonally. So....I'm going to be brewing in two gallons of water so that the stone stays submersed (the stone package said to keep in water 1 hr. before turning on, so I'm taking that it's not good to have it running outside of the water.

Question (possibly a very dumb one): is honey good/bad to add to the tea? I've read that. molasses can be beneficial, and I know that honey has natural sugars in it, so I'm wondering if it wouldn't be alright/beneficial to have in there as well.
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soil
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you have to go easy on the honey its pretty strong, and preferably that its fresh as possible. molasses is really dirt cheap though and will last some time depending on how much you brew.
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Honey supposedly has some antibacterial components to it as well; I have never used it straight up but did use dehydrated honey in a test run in a lab setting once and had no issues we could see. My question would be why, when molasses is cheaper and a known quantity? Do you have hives?

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Scott Reil

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Do you have hives?
No, I'm perfectly healthy :lol:.

But really, I just thought about the honey as a last-minuet idea since I didn't have nay molasses on hand. I decided not to go with it, anyway. Oh, and you did remind be about it's purported antibacterial qualities....maybe not the best thing to give to bacteria :shock:.

The reason I thought about an additive is that the quality of my compost may not be quite up to par. As many of you know, my compost isn't trued compost, it's a heap of dirt that's had organic material turned into it over time. While it's mainly dirt, it's gotten dark and rich looking so I'm assuming that there are microbes in there, just maybe not as many as in other compost.

In addition to this, my neighbor has a pile where he dumps his grass clippings and I think there's some straw or something mixed into it, too. He doesn't manage it as a compost pile (i.e. no turning or careful green/brown portioning), but when I dig into the middle of it, it's HOT (a lot hotter than my dirt-heap) and there's some black stuff in it. I figure that due to the heat, there are probably more/different microbes here than in mine.

So...my inoculate is about 1 1/2 cups of part his and part mine. I figured that, given the quality of the compost, a little molasses might help. Perhaps on the next batch I'll add a tbsp.

I's been brewing for about 19 hrs. and although there's no foam, it does smell sweet.

All in all, it looks pretty good.
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garden5
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Well, after 24 hrs. I put it on the garden (undiluted). It never got any froth, but it still had a sweet earthy smell, so that tells me that it was good.

I've got another batch brewing, so after the second one, I'll clean the bucket and the stone.

Does scrubbing both with a scrub-brush and hydrogen-peroxide and then letting them dry completely sound good for routine maintenance?
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soil
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honey is only antibacterial undiluted because of the high sugar content, once its diluted its fair game for the microbes. used in the right amounts its perfectly fine for teas. i prefer to use raw honey that is fresh out the hive. local of course :)
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garden5
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soil wrote:honey is only antibacterial undiluted because of the high sugar content, once its diluted its fair game for the microbes. used in the right amounts its perfectly fine for teas. i prefer to use raw honey that is fresh out the hive. local of course :)
Thanks, Toil, for letting me know.

I'm about to put the second batch on the plants......this stuff is addicting. :D.
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applestar
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Soil, I'm not sure if that's accurate. There are enzymes in raw honey. It's been used to dress wounds and acne. I don't think it's just the sugars.

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I'm with AS; there are some enzymes, but again, my experience has been mostly positive. Still, considering how cheap the molasses is (unless you have hives!), I just don't see a reason...

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Scott Reil

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OK, you guys have convinced me....I'm going with molasses. I'll pick up some blackstrap next time I'm at the store.

Is every day, or every other day, too often to apply tea? I'm only applying it undiluted to certain plants, right now, to see if there is any noticeable difference in the growth of those plants. Kind of an experiment.

I don't expect to see any signs of change, though, until after about a week or so.
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soil
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applestar maybe when its raw there are enzymes as well. but when diluted in something like an ACT brew. the sugars are fair game for the microbes.

but yea molasses is far better unless you get honey for free like i do every now and then.
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garden5
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soil wrote:applestar maybe when its raw there are enzymes as well. but when diluted in something like an ACT brew. the sugars are fair game for the microbes.

but yea molasses is far better unless you get honey for free like i do every now and then.
Free honey? Man are you lucky!

Anyhow, I just cleaned everything.

Here's what I did:

I took the stone and dumped some hydrogen peroxide on the surface of it. Once dirt bubbled to the top of it, I wiped it off with a washcloth. After wiping it several times, I eventually put some H2O2 on the surface and set it in the sun to dry out completely.

With the bucket, I just put some peroxide on the cloth and wiped out the inside.

I originally was going to scrub out the stone, but for some reason, I just thought I may knock out some of the little particles that make up the stone, so I just wiped it off.

I plan on doing this after about every 2 brews...does it sound good?
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Nope.

Every brew. Every single brew. No ifs. Ands. Or buts.

Every time. Or else...

C:X

HG
Scott Reil

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I'm a simple man and I just keep a 1/2 dozen 5 gallon buckets with either a bait bag of seaweed, pretty fresh manure or compost in them. I let them lanquish in the summer heat for a few days and the water becomes as dark as my wifes heart. :wink: Sometimes I will just half fill a bucket with seaweed and after using 30 gallons of juice I top dress with the gelatinous remains. :D With the heat we have had I have a couple of buckets that are looking like a witch's caldron with bubbles and foam. Must be these downright scorching temps we have had. :cry:

I'm just looking at a 55 gallon barrel I have that already has a spigot. I also have an old fountain pump and plenty of rinsed seaweed and other good stuff available. No free honey but I can pick up a gallon of sorgum(sp) at the feed store.

My plants looks great for the most part so enlighten a simpleton as to what benefits there would be for me. :D I also open to learn and utilize new stuff. I don't use a "lot" of fertilizer on my garden even though it is quick and easy I just move doo. I doo however use it of the Rhodies and smaller trees just cause its easy to open a bag of "natural" fetilizers with the NPK ratio I am looking for. :)

What does "ACT" accomplish that would/does warrant it. I am NOT trying to stir the pot I am just genuinly confused. :?
Got anything good that's Z6 hardy?

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For that, my friend, you have to read the [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17097]Aerated Compost Tea[/url]thread.... :wink:

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I had read that thread prior to my last post apple but it is a LONG thread and I remain confused as to the overall merits. :(
I guess I need to try something empirical to see if there are obvious benefits to be had.
Maybe I will put a couple of differing plants on either end of one of my raised nursery beds to see if I can discern any variations in growth and such. :? :D
Thanks for understanding I am not questioning those who already practice ACT but my stagnant, festering buckets have provided what I do consider a giant benefit and its oh so simple. I have seen nothing to indicate that ACT is anything but a great idea. :D

Sometimes its hard to understand why a plant does or does not do well so we have to go on impressions as well as anything else. TY Folks. :D
Got anything good that's Z6 hardy?

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Planter, I know it's a long thread -- I toyed with the idea of putting :> at the end of my recommendation to read it. :lol:

I think the key issue you might want to concentrate on as regards ACT vs. your current practice is that ACT is designed to promote GOOD bacteria, GOOD fungi, and other GOOD microbes.

This post by HG might shed some light: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=95754#95754

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Every brew.....got it!

What about my cleaning methodologies? I think my "wiping around" practices should work alright.

Is the tea no good if there is no froth? I can't seem to get any. It does seem to me, though, that I read somewhere that too many suds actually denotes something bad?

How do you know if the tea is good/bad anyway?

Oh, and good call to the mods for relocating the compost tea thread (I kind of always thought it was mis-located, myself.)
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G5, go back and read that thread that AS just posted; we went round and round on the foam thing in the ACT Thread. Not bad wiothout foam at all, but reread...

Planter, you are certainly getting biologies and nutrients in an anaerobic tea, but it is certainly a much better quality of biology with a MUCH reduced chance of pathogens (both plant and animal pathogens) in the ACT. You are also adding to the protist population in an aerobic tea; not so in the anaereobic. They are the first line of nitrogen release so very desirable in your soil and your tea...

HG
Scott Reil

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I think a refresher read is just what I need. I did do a search for froth, but didn't get anything like what I knew was in there (is there a way to search only one particular thread)?

Anyway, this next batch is smelling sweet, so I'm calling it as good :).
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