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PunkRotten
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How often can you apply Compost Tea?

Hi,

I made Compost tea for the first time about a week ago. My plants responded well to it. How often can you apply it to your garden?

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klevelyn
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I made some compost tea as well and I have been really pleased with it. I would use it every three to 4 weeks. I think is depends on how much water you use compared to manure. The more compost us use the stronger your tea will be.
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PunkRotten
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For a 5 gallon bucket I used a nice big shovelful of compost. I estimate it to be around 1.5 pounds maybe. I added about 1.5 cups white sugar and ran an air pump for like 30 hours.

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rainbowgardener
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It's compost, sweetener, maybe some added nutrients, water, and cultured microbes... I don't think you could harm your garden if you added it as often as you could get it brewed. I'm sure there's a point of diminishing returns where you wouldn't be making much difference by adding more and you wouldn't see any effect of it and would basically be wasting your precious compost, but it's not like Miracle Gro, you can't burn your garden with it.
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gixxerific
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I agree with RBG. You can't hurt anything. With microbes the more the merrier.

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klevelyn
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Do you find that aerating the compost tea makes it more useful for the plants to uptake the nutrients? I don't add air to mine. It seems to work okay.
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applestar
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Aerating helps to culture microbes that would die without the oxygenated water. These are the microbes that you kept going by keeping the compost pile turned and aerated, and they are the beneficial microbes.

Anaerobic compost tea wold tend to get stinky and foster anaerobic, pathogenic microbes.

baldwinshere
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Hi
I'm doing trials using a range of compost teas on tomatoes for my Degree Dissertation and am feeding weekly so will keep you posted about the results if your interested to see the effects.

I'm feeding weekly as my Compost teas are only weak, 1kg of solid to 30ltrs of water, brewed over two weeks. As your aware the more solids the stronger the mix but that may result in over feeding which can damage plants. Compost tea nutrient levels are tricky like that :?

Also it is better to keep the Compost tea aerated as anaerobic teas could develope fungal disease spores and harmful bacteria in the water which could harm your plants

Hope that helps a little

shahzad.danish.anwar
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Thanks for the info. Didnt knew about fungal disease and stuff. Should be careful about compost usage from now on.
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baldwinshere wrote:Hi
I'm doing trials using a range of compost teas on tomatoes for my Degree Dissertation and am feeding weekly so will keep you posted about the results if your interested to see the effects.

I'm feeding weekly as my Compost teas are only weak, 1kg of solid to 30ltrs of water, brewed over two weeks. As your aware the more solids the stronger the mix but that may result in over feeding which can damage plants. Compost tea nutrient levels are tricky like that :?

Also it is better to keep the Compost tea aerated as anaerobic teas could develope fungal disease spores and harmful bacteria in the water which could harm your plants

Hope that helps a little
2 weeks of brewing with an airpump is way too long .... you should brew the compost tea for no longer that 48hrs ... I use an aquarium heater and set the temp to 20 degrees C, and brew for 24 hours

Once the airpump is switched off, you should use the AACT within 2hrs as the beneficial microbes die very quick ... I also always add unsulphered black strap molasses to the brew (the microbes need this )

I add AACT once a week to my plants/shrubs during the growing season
Spend sixpence on the plant but a shilling on the hole - Anon

imafan26
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We did a trial on compost tea. We grew lettuce and measured leaf length. One group was the control and had osmocote only, the second group used aerated compost tea and the third non-aerated tea. The teas were applied weekly. The trial lasted 5 weeks and leaf growth was measured weekly.
Tea was aerated for 48 hours and had to be used within 4 hours after aeration was discontinued
non-aerated tea was steeped for 7 days. It was covered with a screen to keep mosquitoes out.

Osmocote group did the best

The second fastest group was non aerated tea

The theories were

1. The microbes in the aerated tea died off faster once aeration stopped

2. Nitrogen is the most difficult nutrient to supply organically
a. aeration could accelerate nitrogen losses to the air.
b. Organic nutrients release slowly over time, lettuce is a short crop
and uses relatively more nitrogen.
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applestar
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There is compost tea and there is "manure" tea... And then there is something in between. The level of nutrients in the tea can be adjusted by what you add before steeping/aerating as well as what you add after (before using).

When I brew aerated compost tea, my goal is to culture/multiply the beneficial microbes in the compost so I can increase their population in the soil (soil drench) and/or on the foliage (spray/sprinkle). If I want more fungal tea, I use after shorter brewing time (18-24 hrs). if I want more bacterial tea, I use longer brewing time (ideally 36 hrs max). Depending on the application, I add pre-brewing ingredients that will feed the target microbes more, and I experiment with adding ingredients that would push the various nutrients more because of microbial propagation. Depending on the application, I add other fertilizing ingredients TO the tea after brewing and before or after diluting.

I ALSO USE THEM AFTER 36 hours and up to when they get stinky and need to be refreshed by putting back in the compost pile. Just don't expect the liquid to have as much benefit, and I would not use the anaerobically degraded tea on food crops that will be harvested any time soon.

Ultimately though, compost tea is not so much fertilizer as a way to increase the microbial population and diversity in the biosphere, which by chain reaction increases the overall biological diversity and activity and improves health and nutrient availability. So I'm not sure -- well, actually, I'm almost certain that you can't make a one-to-one comparison with chemical fertilizer: it's like comparing apples and oranges. But I bet it's possible to make an organic compost+ tea that would get those lettuce leaves growing faster, more lush, and tastier. :D
Last edited by applestar on Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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imafan26 wrote:We did a trial on compost tea. We grew lettuce and measured leaf length. One group was the control and had osmocote only, the second group used aerated compost tea and the third non-aerated tea. The teas were applied weekly. The trial lasted 5 weeks and leaf growth was measured weekly.
Tea was aerated for 48 hours and had to be used within 4 hours after aeration was discontinued
non-aerated tea was steeped for 7 days. It was covered with a screen to keep mosquitoes out.

Osmocote group did the best

The second fastest group was non aerated tea

The theories were

1. The microbes in the aerated tea died off faster once aeration stopped

2. Nitrogen is the most difficult nutrient to supply organically
a. aeration could accelerate nitrogen losses to the air.
b. Organic nutrients release slowly over time, lettuce is a short crop
and uses relatively more nitrogen.
when brewing compost tea, you are not brewing fertilizer .... you are brewing beneficial microbes ....

the whole concept is that you feed the soil, and not the plant .... the AACT has to be used immediately after switching off the airpump and not later than 2hrs .... brew time with a decent airpump and correct temp and ingredients should be 24-36 hrs as the microbes start dying if there is not enough food (molasses)

google 'High Brix Gardening' and you will understand the concept .... thats the way I understand it ...

however, by adding ingredients such as fish hydrolsate, humic acid, volcanic rock dust, seaweed extract etc at the end of the brewing cycle, you will have a 'supercharged' actively aerated compost tea, that will outperform any chemical fertilizer, but you need to know what the plant requires (how much nitrogen etc should be added to the tea etc etc)
Spend sixpence on the plant but a shilling on the hole - Anon

imafan26
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I don't know what kind of compost was used in the brew. That was not reported in the study. I know that they were talking about adding EM1 to the tea, but I don't know if it was actually done.

The tea was fine even after seven days. The hardest thing was that the water is chlorinated, so I had to let the water sit a while or use rain water to start the tea. If anything bacteria and algae will grow even in tap water here if it sits out a couple of weeks.

I do agree, I use worm tea and I really don't see a lot of growth as much as that I have healthier plants and a soil that is full of life. I also have planted to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden.

I have always had a very populous soil. I can't dig a shovel full of soil without getting earthworms. There are millipedes, pill bugs, a few spiders, and ants. Of course way to many slugs and snails, gnats, mice, birds, but no centipedes or toads in the garden. Lots and lots of geckos. With that much macro life present, there has got to be a healthy micro life for them to feed on.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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imafan26 wrote:I don't know what kind of compost was used in the brew. That was not reported in the study. I know that they were talking about adding EM1 to the tea, but I don't know if it was actually done.
here is a writeup/comparison of AACT and EM1 .... I have never tried EM1 and never heard about it until reading about it on your post ...

https://blog.teraganix.com/2009/03/compo ... ulant.html
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applestar
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I don't understand how adding EM1 to compost tea increases its shelf life.... :? If the microbes feed on the yeast, then won't there be waste product buildup? Aren't EM yeast mostly anaerobic while compost tea organisms mostly aerobic? :?:

I took a hiatus with that project, but here's a thread when I started experimenting. At the time, I wanted to see what I could do WITHOUT buying EM1.

https://helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21051

...and I HAVE read a number of forums and blogs in which doing it without EM1 is scoffed as not the same....which it probably isn't, but I wanted to understand the technique and the process.

I didn't even get around to Bokashi composting this year. (Consumed by indoor tomatoes project) :roll:
...but I've been looking around for ways to collect my own set of primary beneficial microbes and there ARE info on how floating around the web.
One involved leaving some cooked rice out in the woods to collect the wild yeast. :o

I saw a video from Japan in which they were spraying activated EM solution on farm animals -- dairy cows, pigs, and chickens -- to keep them healthy and spraying down the cow sheds and pig pens for odor control.

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