How Long Does It Take To Brew Compost Tea
It only takes about 24-36 hours to make either kind of compost tea noted above. Any longer than that and your concoction will be in danger of collecting some not-so-friendly bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. The microbes within will use up all the oxygen, which creates anaerobic conditions, and increases the likelihood that bacteria, viruses, and molds will thrive.
The Best Compost Tea Recipe To Help Your Plants Thrive
- Yard & Garden
Compost tea has been hailed as the magic elixir that makes plants grow stronger, ripen faster, taste better, run farther, and jump higher. While some of these claims may be taken with a grain of salt, there are still some real benefits to compost tea. It can be fun to brew, too.
Make The Compost Tea Brewer
Assemble the pump together as per the instructions on the box.
Screw the sharp end of the hook through the top rim of the bucket in order to have a place to hang the pump outside of the Brewer.
Use suction cups to guide the hoses from the pump down the side of the bucket and attach them to the bottom of the bucket with the suction cups spaced so that they will each be adding air to roughly half of the bucket.
Fill the bucket with rainwater or dechlorinated tap water. Tap water with chlorination added needs to sit in an open bucket for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Remember, chlorine is meant to purify water and keep out microbes out. This is the opposite of what we want in compost tea! Thats why we want to make sure that there is no chlorine in the water.
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The Most Important Ingredient
The most important ingredient in determining which type of tea you produce is your compost. Your compost will ALWAYS be the biggest factor in determining whether you brew a balanced tea, or a tea dominated by bacteria or fungi. If your compost doesnt have any fungi in it, and you dont add any, then there is no way your finished compost tea will have fungi in it.
So how do you make each type of compost?
Each of the different types of compost are determined by their initial ingredients. Bacterial-dominated compost begins with materials that have a lower carbon to nitrogen ratio whereas, fungal-dominated compost begins with materials that have a higher C:N. Said another way, the more fungi you want in your compost, the more woody materials you are going to have to include.
If youre having trouble creating fungal-dominated compost, please see our expert tips at the bottom of the page.
Feed Your Garden Plants
In our world of chemical-based pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and disinfectants, we are very prone to kill many of the beneficial microbes that promote growth. Ultimate Tea is a liquid plant food with an organic formula that replenishes the vital biology that is missing. Ultimate Tea is derived from our humic acid deposit that is rich in both vegetative and marine-based carbon.
This composition delivers an important organic matter to your plants’ soil. Additionally, our plant food is cold water extracted, thereby conserving the indigenous bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes.
We call this product Ultimate Tea because it serves a similar purpose to compost tea that you may make at home.
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How Do You Apply Compost Tea
A successful brewing process will create huge numbers of microbes, which will soon start competing for nutrients. So its important to use your compost tea as quickly as possible. Try to apply outside the hottest parts of the day to avoid UV damage.
The tea can then be applied to the soil in a plastic watering can. You can also use a spray, but you will need to strain the tea first. You can also spray leaves, aiming to cover at least 70% of the leaf.
After All Compost Tea Comes From Compost
Still think you want to make compost tea on your own? Here is more information to help you decide. A quality home brewed compost tea would theoretically begin with a quality compost. But in actuality, this is where the challenge begins. Composts are highly variable in composition. They start with water, carbon and nitrogen supplied by decaying organic matter, which is a source of other macro and micro-nutrients, such as amino acids, sugars, beneficial microbes etc. The content of these ingredients can vary widely. For example, the quality of animal manure alone varies tremendously according to:
- The species and age of the animal it comes from
- How well decayed or how old it is
- The diet of the animal
Plant materials vary primarily due to:
- The kind and age of the plant
- The nutrients taken up by the plant
- The presence of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing microbes
- The presence of volatile oils, auxiliary substances, and other plant exudates
You can see why the results of these variations can be quite substantial if you want to make compost tea.
Even under ideal conditions, the chemical and biological properties of compost will vary according to how long it decays. Younger compost is closer to the original raw materials than well-aged compost. As compost ages, it converts sugars and carbohydrates, into starches .
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Benefits Of Using Compost Tea
Your garden will enjoy lots of benefits from compost tea. Therefore, these benefits include:
- Compost tea comprises of higher concentration of helpful microorganisms. They will improve the protection mechanism of your plants against any form of disease, pest as well as erosion.
- It is natural organic plant food. On the contrary to synthetic fertilizers containing chemicals that can harm the plant ecosystem or cause fertilizer burns.
- Compost tea will boost the capacity of your soil to retain water.
- It can be used directly on plant leaves as well as soil, unlike solid compost that can only be applied to the soil.
Compost Tea: What Is It How To Use It And Does It Work
Both gardening and composting are full of controversy.
Compost tea is no different.
Youll find experts and scientists that believe compost tea makes no difference to plants and could even be harmful. Youll also find other experts that are convinced it can prevent disease and introduce beneficial microbes to your soil.
Lets take a look at what it is, how to make and use it and what research and experts says.
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Since When Did Poop And Water Get So Complicated
When I began my research on compost teas, I figured it would be a fairly easy subject to tackle Boy did I ever underestimate that one.
Its no secret that compost is one of the best fertilizers you can possibly add to your garden. And the skys the limit when it comes to all the options you have when it comes to different styles of compost piles and the ingredients that you can use.
Compost tea is basically a brew made from water and finished compost . It has a myriad of reported benefits and I like to think of it as a natural alternative to the miracle growing products sold at the gardening stores in town. Its a fantastic, easy way to improve your garden soil.
Not only does compost tea add extra nutrients to your soil, it also has the potential to increase the microbe population in the soil.
When you start to learn about compost tea, youll quickly learn there are approximately nine million different compost tea methods, techniques, and recipes And that is where it begins to get confusing.
The biggest differentiation in compost teas are the aerated or non-aerated varieties. Aerated compost tea uses an electronic device of some sort to force oxygen into the brew, while non-aerated tea simply relies on water, compost, time, and a bucket.
After a lot of digging around, Ive settled on non-aerated compost tea for my homestead, and heres why:
Is Compost Tea Helpful
First, lets chat about the Compost Tea Debate.
Compost tea arguably gets some of the most heated discussions from gardeners and experts. They debate whether or not compost tea is beneficial for your garden Some even argue that it could be harmful. Do a bit of googling or scroll down through any gardening forum and youll see what I mean!
Let me break down my take on the issue here, starting by answering the question, What is compost tea?.
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How Compost Tea Is Used:
At the end of the brewing cycle, the water is teeming with beneficial micro-organisms and plant-available nutrients. This water can be sprayed over the plant leaves and roots and used to drench the soil. Plants treated with compost tea will generally look fuller, brighter, and with less disease pressure. Make an enriched compost tea for superior results. Once brewed, it blends well with Sustånes Hi-N 12-0-1 WDF OR Sustånes Flourish 8-2-4 WDF to make an enriched compost tea with superior characteristics!
What Other Types Of Compost Teas Are There
- Plant tea: Instead of soaking compost, a plant that has nutritious properties is soaked in water to extract those nutrients. The most common plants used are comfrey and nettle, which can add valuable nutrients like phosphorus and potassium to the soil.
- Manure tea: This is a very common fertilizer used by farmers, which is a mixture of various aged manures soaked in water. Its not really the best home project as it becomes very stinky.
- Commercial microbial tea: Just add water! These instant tea mixes are usually designed to combat specific plant issues, but proponents of homemade compost tea believe that they do not have enough microbes to be worthwhile. However, they are technically much safer because they are free from bad bacteria.
- Compost leachate: There is a fine line between compost leachate and regular compost tea, because both require compost to sit in water. However, leachate is created when water leaches through vermicompost or your compost bin and out the bottom. Because its not fermented, it is considered to be only valuable for the nutrients it contains, rather than the living microbes. The Green Cone, a solar waste digester, is one such composter effective at creating nutrient-rich leachate for surrounding plants.
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Which Is The Best Compost Tea Brewer
Part of the fact that compost tea is controversial is that there are many different methods of making it. Dr. Elaine Ingham from Soil Food Web teaches courses on the best way to brew compost tea. She recommends a cone funnel system that costs quite a bit of money.
Dr. Ingham also recommends a best practice of using a high-powered microscope to evaluate the microbes. In addition, many compost tea recipes suggest adding a food source for microbes like molasses, kelp, and humic acid. Some of these are easy to find, while others require some hunting.
I certainly think that theres value in getting deeper into the study of compost tea if thats something that youre interested in. In that case, I would highly recommend taking a local class on how to properly brew compost tea and use it in your garden.
That being said, compost tea is not the holy grail of gardening or a miracle cure to every disease in your garden. Its just one component of the many natural and healthy things that you can do in your garden to help build the soil and grow healthy plants.
One of the concepts that I present in Garden Alchemy is this: you should take some time to get to know your garden through experimentation and observation, as each one is unique. Then, test out some of the recipes to see what works best for you.
So, if you want to try compost tea, great! And if not, you will be fine too. Experiment and play to see what works for youafter all, thats the fun part of gardening!
Sustne Compost Tea Is Designed To Provide Organic Plant Nutrition And Introduce Healthy Soil Microbiology
There are multiple benefits to using compost teas. More than supplementary nutrients, compost teas deliver humic substances that can act as biostimulants and active microorganisms that can contribute to nutrient cycling and the ecology of healthy soil.
Using compost teas may reduce the need to apply pesticides. Many reports indicate that compost teas increase plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, reducing the need for other inputs.
21-gram Compost Tea Bags/Root Zone Feeder Packs:The permeable fertilizer packs are left to steep in a watering can overnight to make a Compost Tea brew for topical application or placed in the soil during transplant as a Root Zone Feeder Pack. 21-gram Suståne Compost Tea Bags provide single-dose applications of Suståne organic slow-release nitrogen fertilizer, designed to provide organic plant nutrition in a completely biodegradable filter pack.
Sustane 5 lb. Compost Tea Bags are ideal for larger-scale operations and are reusable organic cotton bags, which each make 50-100 gallons.
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What Comes With The Compost Tea Brewer
This comes with the air pump and all of the tubing.
You have the option of getting it:
- Without a 5-gallon bucket and without brew kits, or
- With a 5-gallon bucket and 3 brew kits.
And on this page, you can also buy extra brew kits, which contain the compost and microbe foods .
The nice thing about the kits, though, is that the quality of the compost is excellent. Its actually a mix of Alaska humus, worm compost , and fungal compost.
The compost tea produced from these brewers has been tested in a lab with this specific compost and this specific food mix and it makes a great tea, so all you need to do is follow a few simple rules you will have a great compost tea.
FYI, the kits are derived from sulfate of potash magnesia , feather meal, soymeal, cottonseed meal, mycorrhizal fungi, kelp, and alfalfa meal. Its registered organic, so all non-GMO.
Compost Tea Brewing Process
Compost tea is great however, if you want to make compost tea, so many things can go wrong in the brewing process. Compost teas are made by extracting beneficial microbes and nutrients from organic matter by soaking them in water. But unlike the tea you drink, it isnt only what’s in the compost tea bag that matters. The brewing process is just as important, including brew time, temperature and many other variables. These can radically affect the benefits, quality and reliability of an organic compost tea brew. Getting it wrong when you make compost tea can make it toxic.
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Why Use Black Diamond Liquid Extract
Liquid Extracts can be vital to healthy soil and beneficial to your plants.
QUALITIES OF A WELL-PRODUCED LIQUID VERMICOMPOST PRODUCT INCLUDE:
Nutrient cycling to increase nutrient and mineral uptake of roots
Disease prevention and control
Soil building as aggregates form and humus is developed
Plant health, growth and production, as well as deeper color, enhanced flowering, increased aroma and more nutrient and mineral density.
Increase runners in grass or root size in plants
Improve water holding capacity of soil as beneficial microbial communities are established
The two key reasons to use it:
Infuse microbial life into the soil or onto the foliage of plants
Add soluble nutrients to the foliage or to the soil to feed the organisms and plants.
The use of a liquid extract is recommended whenever the organisms in the soil or on the plants are not at optimum levels.A professional lab can analyze your soil and leaf samples for an overview as to whether the organisms in your soil/plant leaves are at optimum levels or not.
Chemical-based pesticides, fumigants, herbicides and some synthetic fertilizers kill a range of the beneficial micro-organisms that encourage plant growth. On the other hand, compost teas improve the life in the soil and on plant surfaces. High quality compost tea will treat the leaf surface and soil with beneficial micro-organisms instead of destroying them.
The benefits of using a liquid biological product:
How To Make High
Place 1 Suståne 21-gram Compost Tea Bag into the water can . The water should be between 60 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add an inexpensive fish tank aerator and turn on periodically to keep the water aerated. CAUTION: do not leave the aerator running unattended as the brew may foam and could overflow the watering can.
Allow the compost tea to sit for at least 12 – 24 hours. This allows time for the microbial populations to multiply and breakdown the organic nutrients.
Apply to plant leaves and roots. Apply the normal amount of water as you would when watering the plant.
- Use Compost Tea Brew within 36 hours of placing the teabag in the water. The brew will become anaerobic once the microbes have consumed all of the oxygen in the water.
- Use Compost Tea before plants begin to set fruit. Do Not spray Compost Tea Brew directly onto existing fruits and vegetables.
- After all of the Compost Tea is used, the remaining pouch or compost inside the reusable 5 lb. Compost Teabag may be placed in the garden or on/in the soil to continue to benefit from the compost fertilizer or place the used Compost Tea pouch into an existing compost pile to jump-start the composting process.
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The Compost Tea Debate
The two sides of the debate both have excellent points that are worth reading.
Those who use compost tea successfully are converted by the results they see in their organic garden or farm. They have likely tested a variety of methods and found the one that meets their needs to increase production, reduce disease, or improve the overall health of the soil and plants. You can some of these stories here and here.
Those who caution against it, say that there is just not enough testing done on compost tea to prove that it works. Even more, they express concern that if compost tea is brewed improperly, harmful bacteria could be propagated and applied to the garden, potentially harming the plants and people. You can read more about that here and here.