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Compost Tea Recipes


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#1 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 07:00 AM

I was watching gardening videos on the internet and came across the concept of compost tea.  At first I thought it was one of those passing fads, but then I thought about the science...basically forcing good bacteria to multiply in a slurry so you could put them on your garden...and wasn't sure.  I dug around some more and found some actual scientists doing it to build soil nutrients.

 

The reason I was unsure at first is that a lot of these gardeners on the internet seem a little flighty.  Most of them seem to think that compost tea is magic or something.  Also, most of them seem to lack decent tools.  I saw one pounding in nails with a pair of pliers. Very few of them have tractors, or anything more modern than a garden fork.  Some of them refuse to use bone meal and manure because they are Vegan.  No doubt they feed their dogs grass clippings too.  By the way, if I ever claim to be a Vegan, what I will mean is that I always wanted a Chevy Vega with a 350 small block in it, not that drinking milk is morally wrong.

 

Once I started watching agricultural videos, I became a believer though, at least enough that I'm going to try it.  Competent farmers, organic and not, use it as part of their irrigation regime and ag departments at universities are teaching and studying its effects.  These people own tools and tractors and have science behind them.  They don't think this is magic, they know how it works. They are rebuilding land that has been over-farmed with it, and they are doing it without taking the land out of production.

 

That's important because my garden has been there since the 1940's and keeping it productive is a battle.  It's depleted.  It needs to be rebuilt.

 

Nobody seems to have a solid recipe that you can just look up and use on a small scale though.

 

What I've come up with is:

 

1 shovel of compost

1 or 2 cups of rock dust

1 cup of molasses

1 or 2 cans of stale beer

5 gallons of rain water

 

Optional: 1/2 cup of ammonia if extra nitrogen needed.

 

Aerate for 24 hours with a fish-tank aerator.  Strain through old pantyhose.  Apply with garden sprayer.  Repeat once every two weeks.

 

The molasses and stale beer is to feed the bacteria so they multiply.  The rock dust is to get minerals back in the soil.  The aeration is so that you get aerobic bacteria. 

 

So I'm wondering if any of you use compost tea and what your recipe is.


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#2 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 07:34 AM

Might be something I can do with your recipe. Don't have a garden spot at the moment, but I'd like to get one going again sometime.



#3 robert_p43 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 07:50 AM

That sounds pretty well thought out.  I haven't had a drink in almost 20 years but when I was drinking, I never found stale beer in my house.  HA!

Now, un-scientifically, I have put a shovel full of horse manure in a burlap sack and soaked in a 5 gallon bucket of water for a day or 2.  Pour this around your plants in your garden every so often and watch them take off.


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#4 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 08:02 AM

I always put my beer down and lose it in the summer time, Robert.  By the time I find it, it's not just warm but hot.  

 

Your unscientific method would work just fine as a way to spread existing manure, I think.  My problem is that I need way more bacteria than I can get out of the available compost.  I have about enough to produce a crop, but the soil is depleted again by the end of the year. The idea of the tea is force feed them so they multiply massively, up to 7 times an hour.  That's what the molasses and beer do.

 

Anyway, off to work in the cold.


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#5 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 08:04 AM

You are both correct to thinking about gardens. The tea is nice for potted plants but for a large garden just get a load of manure,grass clippings, shredded leaves and vegetable waste. Pile it up over the winter and let it compost. Once you have established an area for your composte keep using it beause it will be rich in worms. In the spring, spread the composte over your garden and till it in.

 

The early teas were a by product of fermenting manure. A pioneer in this was Jon L. Frye in South Africa just after WWII. He had a farm with over 1000 swine, fly and smell problems, and no electricity. He built a system where the manure was collected into a giant vat and mixed with water. The slurry was then pumped into a huge vat where it digested by bacteria and produced methane gas. The gas powered a large generator for the farm. The liquid that came out after 28 days was put into a tank truck and sprayed on fields waiting to be planted. His fly, disease, and smell problems dissappeared. The crops grew better and he then had electricity to run the farm and for his house. He wrote a book about his experience and promoted it. I bought the book from Mother Earth News in the 70s.

 

His tea was a byproduct that was easy to spread but to make tea and spread with a little sprayer is for potted plants and greenhouses.  


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#6 Cat385B ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 08:07 AM

Due to the fact that our soil here is extremely sandy, we just use compost. We have only been in this location 5 years, and are still working on getting the soil turned over to something resembling black dirt in the areas we garden. We did install raised beds last year, so this tea recipe is something we might look into. Thanks for posting it.

Duluth 2012 079.jpg Kayla's Pics 8-2012 044.jpg

 


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#7 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 08:10 AM

Reverend Blair you can add compost in the spring and fall. I plant a winter crop sometimes that I just till under in the spring.


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#8 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 10:21 AM

Might be something I can do with your recipe. Don't have a garden spot at the moment, but I'd like to get one going again sometime.

Kenny, it does not have to take a lot of space or time to have a small salad/herb garden. And I highly reccomend it!

Very few people get as crazy about their garden as my wife and I do! But a few square feet of garden can produce some very tasty table fare that requires very little cash from the pocket.


Edited by JD DANNELS, January 21, 2013 - 10:21 AM.

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#9 twostep ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 01:56 PM

Kenny, it does not have to take a lot of space or time to have a small salad/herb garden. And I highly reccomend it!

Very few people get as crazy about their garden as my wife and I do! But a few square feet of garden can produce some very tasty table fare that requires very little cash from the pocket.

 

At our last house (0.11 acre lot in the city) I had a garden that was about about 12 x 6... Grew sweet potatoes, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, 6 kinds of peppers and cucumbers... Just got to plan it out so tall stuff doesn't block out the light for the shorter ones.

 

What I've come up with is:

 

1 shovel of compost

1 or 2 cups of rock dust

1 cup of molasses

1 or 2 cans of stale beer

5 gallons of rain water

 

Optional: 1/2 cup of ammonia if extra nitrogen needed.

 

Aerate for 24 hours with a fish-tank aerator.  Strain through old pantyhose.  Apply with garden sprayer.  Repeat once every two weeks.

 

for a larger garden you could just multiply this by 10 and do it in a 55 gallon drum


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#10 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 02:07 PM

A nice big garden will give you really fresh vegetables of the kind you want. You can controll the chemicals used and save money. The money can be used for equipment to put in and enlarge the garden. I like eating veggies that were picked less than an hour before. They taste better. Our indoor garden for the winter looks like:

 

SD530469.JPG

 

 

This was my first sucessful pic post from camera.


Edited by boyscout862, January 21, 2013 - 02:30 PM.

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#11 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2013 - 04:35 PM

I grew the Oklahoma State record Pumpkin in 2009 using compost tea. 

 

I used a 55 gal drum, the first version I built I used a soaker hose for the aerator. I have since redone it and am now using a showerhead in the bottom. I use a 5 gal gallon paint strainer bag for the tea bag. I use a 110 lpm airpump to add the air. And a small garden hose pump to apply it to the garden through overhead waterers.

 

For the recipe I used Worm Castings for the compost, it's basically Worm Poop, it's full of good stuff. For Nitrogen I used Alfalfa pellets. My amounts changed on every batch. To the water I added Molasses, Humic Acid, and Fish Fertilizer.

 

You have to add air to the water to grow good bacteria, I let mine go 24 hours.

 

The idea is to grow good bacteria to replace what has been killed off by chemicals. I also added Mycorrhizal fungi to the soil.

 

 

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