Kimrobw4
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:22 pm

Taking advantage of what I have

So, new to this forum and new to being serious about composting and making teas.

I've had an indoor three tiered worm bin for about 2 years now. Previously, I would use the casting as I planted transplants into the veggie garden or on repotting house plants. Now I'd like to take it to the next level and stretch what I have further.

I lucked out and got a huge tumbler for very cheap and have been filling it up with Browns and greens all winter. I think I might have a batch ready to go in a few weeks.

I also keep an active 50 gallon fish tank. The murk that I can pull up from the bottom (under the gravel) is astounding! During cleaning, I normally do not delve deeply into it as I know that all the good biology for the tank lives there.

Is it a good idea to combine all of the above when trying to make my compost tea? Use the bottom water from the fish tank to fill the bucket initially and using both the vermiculture and compost from the tumbler as a base for the tea?

This will be my first time trying to make compost tea. I am reading up on it heavily, but haven't come across anything like this? Any advice?

Thanks in advance!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

I think I would use the fishtank murk to water the compost, then use the finished compost for the tea. If you are soil drenching with the compost tea -- you ARE going to aerate that while brewing right? -- you can mix with the fishtank stuff just before applying, but I wouldn't use on leafy crops or root crops, and wouldn't use if using the tea to foilar feed.

Your tumbler -- stop adding and let the contents finish up for a couple of weeks -- should be sufficient if warm enough -- using the fish tank water to keep adequately moist at this point might be good. Tumblers tend to dry out -- I find that the most difficult part. Screen and put back any that are too big as "starter" for the next batch.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

Yeah, the problem with having 1 compost bin or tumbler is that pretty soon it gets full and needs to finish and cure, and you need a second place to put stuff in the meantime.

A little off topic from your question, but I assume you are putting all your kitchen scraps and coffee grounds in. You might consider a second bin or wire screen cylinder that you can empty your tumbler into and start a new batch in the tumbler. That way the fresh food waste goes into the tumbler and critters can't get to it. Or you could make a smaller second bin that will hold a month's worth of stuff and do it the other way. However you do it, it's good to have two so the first batch can finish without adding new stuff that you'll have to sort back out.
Tox

Kimrobw4
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:22 pm

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

applestar wrote:I think I would use the fishtank murk to water the compost, then use the finished compost for the tea. If you are soil drenching with the compost tea -- you ARE going to aerate that while brewing right? -- you can mix with the fishtank stuff just before applying, but I wouldn't use on leafy crops or root crops, and wouldn't use if using the tea to foilar feed.
Why wouldn't you use the tea on leafy, root crops or to foliage feed? Still learning here and I don't think I've read anything on this.

And I plan on going full on in making the tea. Unfiltered molasses and aerating. I am still thinking on how long to keep it bubbling. It seems each resource has a different recommended time. I do know to use it quickly after making it and to have the areas I intend to "spray" already wet as it it suppose to help it along.

Kimrobw4
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:22 pm

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

toxcrusadr wrote:Yeah, the problem with having 1 compost bin or tumbler is that pretty soon it gets full and needs to finish and cure, and you need a second place to put stuff in the meantime.

A little off topic from your question, but I assume you are putting all your kitchen scraps and coffee grounds in. You might consider a second bin or wire screen cylinder that you can empty your tumbler into and start a new batch in the tumbler. That way the fresh food waste goes into the tumbler and critters can't get to it. Or you could make a smaller second bin that will hold a month's worth of stuff and do it the other way. However you do it, it's good to have two so the first batch can finish without adding new stuff that you'll have to sort back out.
I was putting everything in the Composter while I was still in the "loading" stage, lol. Cardboard, shrimp peelings, veggie scraps, etc. amazing how much stuff I used to throw!! Now that the bin is in the curing stage, I'm getting antsy waiting for the freedom to throw stuff in it again!

I did get two tumblers when I found them online at Walmart for $20 each. Could only get husband to put together the one with all the cursing he was doing over it, lol. Hoping I can push him and the boys to get the other one put together for Mother's Day. Crazy of me to be over the moon having another Composter for Mother's Day!

As it is, I also have an indoor worm bin and I am freezing scraps for them to use as I need it, so I'll keep saving scraps that way. Or until the freezer starts complaining about holding it all.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

I meant the tea WITH raw fishtank sludge added -- IMHO due to possible bacterial contamination of leafy crops and root vegs as well as near-harvest fruits when sprayed on. I wouldn't worry about it when it has been composted.

My understanding is that the tea starts out predominantly fungal and is ready after 24 hours, but becomes predominantly bacterial as time goes on. I try to use within 30-36 hours for full benefits and for disease prevention and foliar spray, but will use longer brewed teas for soil drench.

Unsulfured molasses (right? :wink: )is great to add at the beginning with the compost.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Kimrobw4
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:22 pm

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

Alrighty, I've made two batches of compost tea so far. One got a very nice head of foam, one did not. I know what I did wrong ... too much molasses.

Now, reading the forum and trying to find the right terminology in the search feature, I am a bit stumped. You are suppose to dilute the compost tea. If I cannot use all of it at one time, will it save? I am thinking it would degrade pretty quickly. Is there any method recommended on trying to store it for later use?

And lastly, is there any fast rules on how often you can use the compost tea in your garden? Will it hurt to use it once a week? Every two weeks? Once a month?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Taking advantage of what I have

Nope you cannot save the state of the peak, freshly "brewed" AACT. You can't even save the various stages -- more fungal to more bacterial -- depending on when you "finish" -- anywhere from 18-36 hours. You can keep it aerobic by continuing to run the air pump and aerating it. (That's not a bad thing -- no longer same AACT properties, but still useful to add some nutrients, etc. especially if you add more nutrients to turn it into more of a fermented fertilizer)

But completely empty and clean out for the next fresh batch. Longer you keep the airstone in there, the more it gets clogged by the biofilm, too.

I think you CAN do too much of a good thing. But I've seen gardeners report amazing results by making weekly applications. I've never had the energy to do that though. I do try to give EVERYBODY some once a month -- but a 5 gal bucket doesn't go a long way for entire garden, so I apply in sections. "Hey guys, it's YOUR turn to get the treat this week!" :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Return to “Composting Forum”