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Old May 28, 2015   #16
Barb_FL
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I had to dump my worm bins and start over because of earwigs. So I made a lot of tea with these castings:

1. I used a LOT of castings - I almost completely filled a 5 gallon paint strainer (lowes). I just left enough room to tie it off and let it float / sink in the water.

2. On my cheapie pump with 2 air hoses, I removed the stones and weighted them down with the ends of bungee cords.

I had tons of foam.
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Old May 28, 2015   #17
squirrel789
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It's great to hear so many of you practice vermiculture! Then again, I guess I should expect that from all the knowledgeable folks of this forum

How do you like your worm factory? I considered one, but ended up doing the cheap DIY system with multiple rubbermaid containers in the basement. It's my first time trying vermicomposting and I'm fascinated by it so far. Once settled in for week or so, those little guys sure can chow through all the food I put in there!

Good luck with the worm tea, I won't be ready to entice my little wigglers to move to a fresh container for another couple weeks. But I am excited to try brewing my first batch as soon as they make the move to their new home.

I've know about adding the molasses, but what does the kelp and rock dust add to the mix? Just curious...

Also, I think it stands to reason that you might get a better yield by not using a bag. Sort of like making loose leaf tea vs tea bags makes for a better, more efficient extraction.

In fact, I think I've been inspired to go grab a different sort of brew (not tea) for myself

Cheers!
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Old May 29, 2015   #18
wormgirl
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I used to know all this stuff. I remember molasses feeds the bacteria. For some reason Soilfoodweb no longer reccomends molasses, I see on their website. Not sure why. But there are also fungi, protozoa, and some other living things in there and they all have their own food needs. You can tweak the food recipe to tweak the mix towards bacterial or fungal. I think the rock dust feeds the fungi. I used to go for a "balanced" brew that was all purpose, and I remember using Neptune's fish & seaweed, molasses and Neptune's liquid humate.

Foam results from proteins in the brew, such as when fish emulsion is used.
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Old May 29, 2015   #19
Gerardo
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The kelp helps with the foam. If you can regulate the aeration it helps also. An airstone inside your bag/sock will help in diffusion, by the end of the cycle most of the contents have leeched out of the bag. the goal of the tea is a healthy, aerobically selected, microbial/fungal culture, a sock--while being a barrier for us--to them is shall we say a non-issue. The couple of times I've gone directly into solution, it got slimy relatively quickly. Another plus for the sock/bag is the lucky plant that gets the used contents (worm castings, vegetable compost, +/- guano, +/- alfalfa) gets a superboost. As I understand it, kelp provides many minerals, micronutrients, hormones, and other growth factors. The rock dust is basically a fjord salt lick for the culture. And I concur on the earthy smell indicating all is well.
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Old May 29, 2015   #20
beeman
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I do all of the above, plus if you really want to see a good brew, add one tablet of Biotamax.
I do this as a standard now and my microscope is jumping at the 48 hour mark.
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Old May 29, 2015   #21
Gerardo
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This is what I use. 2 generous handfuls. Solid results.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tea.jpg (252.4 KB, 133 views)
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Old June 22, 2015   #22
JRinPA
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Well I took the plunge here with the AVCT. Bought some airstones and a couple tees and put two 80s era aquarium pumps to work in a 5 gallon bucket. The water is from a nearby spring. I could not find a paint strainer bag so I used an old loose weave pantyhose leg filled with:
about 8 cups of vc,
1 tbsp epsom salt
1/2 cup worm chow (corn/wheat/alfafa meal from what I can tell)
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

It is now bubbling away. Took about 5 seconds for the water to turn brown.
If all fails miserably I'm out the price of airstones and tees. I will hand spray it with a spray bottle.

Next time I am out fishing I will keep the weeds taken off of the trolling motor prop. Some type of millfoil usually. That might be close enough to kelp, nutrient wise. I'd like to try to make some fish emulsion too, but that has me worried scentwise.
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Old June 22, 2015   #23
dustee1
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For anyone serious about brewing the best compost / vermicompost tea please study the following link carefully. All your questions will be answered & regurgitated myths will be dispelled.

http://microbeorganics.com/


As far as foaming with vermicompost goes, a very small amount of hydrolyzed fish will stop it. One ounce in 12 gallons works for me every time.

Ted
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Old June 23, 2015   #24
kayrobbins
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JRinPA, I have a question about adding the vinegar. Since vinegar is used as and anti-fungal and antimicrobal what was your reason for using it? I have seen lots of recipes people have used but this is the first time I have seen vinegar included. I am not saying it is not good I just had not heard of it before. I am always ready to learn more.

dustee1, thanks for posting that link. There was good information but some that was my head. I will have to take time to read it several tiems and hope it all sinks in.
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Old June 23, 2015   #25
HydroExplorer
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Worm tea absolutely works when done properly. I've tried a lot of different brews but a few things are consistent to all of the brews that worked. Remove chlorine or chloramine before adding your bacteria source (worm castings, etc) to any tea.

For non-woody plants I do a bacterial brew (24ish hours) under aeration. I don't measure anything and I don't think it's necessary to measure anything. I have seen plants grow a foot in a week after doing a foliar application with this kind of tea. You will notice a difference in the plants in < 24 hours.

I usually put the worm castings in a strainer bag to make it easier to use them in a sprayer. I usually only put a couple of handfuls in a 5 gal bucket but you could use more or less.

I dump in a little bit of blackstrap molasses. The 2 tbsp measurement given above is about how much I put in but you don't need to measure it out carefully.

I dump in some kelp extract.

sometimes I add epsom salt but that isn't really necessary.

Worm castings add beneficial bacteria, humic acid and amino acids.
Molasses adds sugar for the bacteria to eat AND fulvic acid.
Kelp reacts synergistically with both humic and fulvic acid as well as adding plant growth hormones. In other words, it makes the tea go from good to ridiculous.

Application is also important. As a foliar spray I first spray the underside of the leaves which makes the plant uptake the tea very fast. The plant will literally wilt for a little while. After the plant wilts I spray down the top of the leaves too.

When I'm done spraying all my plants I water the root zone with the remaining tea. This brew is balanced to do some things for foliar application and other things for root zone application.

The most I ever did this was 3 times in a season but some people do this as often as every week. I typically have a hard time maintaining my plants with just one application LOL. You really have to be careful with this because your plants can outgrow your capability of supporting them and break.
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Old June 23, 2015   #26
Tracydr
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I need a pump and some hose. What size pump should I get for 5 gallon buckets?
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Old June 23, 2015   #27
Jonnyhat
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2 hose for an 80gal aquarium minimum. I put a large air stone in the bucket then I put a medium sized one right in the bag. I use a fine weave small burlap sack and tie it off around the tube with the stone in the bag.
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Old June 24, 2015   #28
JRinPA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayrobbins View Post
JRinPA, I have a question about adding the vinegar. Since vinegar is used as and anti-fungal and antimicrobal what was your reason for using it?
I have many bookmarks for act/avct from the last few years that I've been re-reading. A few of them specify apple cider vinegar for the bit of acetic acid and trace minerals. Basically I added a lot of vc with any addl possibles I already have at minimum recommended rate. I don't plan to buy much of anything.

I'm not sure of the date on this particular post since I think "houzz" hosed a lot of gardenwebs forum posts. A lot of my gw bookmarks now claim a date of 1/1/2013.
http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions...s-classic-teas
Also, web search "apple cider vinegar" "compost tea" and there are lots of mentions.

I still have the light microscope I got for christmas when I was a kid, so I broke that out. I can see about as much with it now as I could back then. Air bubbles. Apparently I never learned the proper way to put a cover glass on. No matter. I don't see how one can go wrong with vermicompost. The worms do the work. I sprayed and drenched this morning.
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Old June 24, 2015   #29
kayrobbins
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Thanks for th elink and I will do some more research on it. Vinegar has so many uses and it seems this is just one more.
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Old June 26, 2015   #30
HydroExplorer
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Stumbled across this link of a guy who holds 9 world records for largest of 9 different vegetables. His secret is compost tea. His exact recipe is a secret but it certainly looks like he's putting worm castings and kelp in it (as expected). They also said he's adding micronutrients so I'm thinking he's adding mulched up dynamic accumulators (though I didn't see any growing in his ridiculous garden).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaMN...layer_embedded

I think the long Alaskan sun is still part of the vegetable size but I think the tea is clearly the biggest part. I think he's also watering unprocessed sugars into the soil to feed the root zone microbes.

Food for thought.
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