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Old June 14, 2013   #1
emcd124
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Default A compost tea set up that isnt too labor intensive or $?

I have aerobic compost out back. I have a composting worm bin in the basement. So I have access to the raw materials. And I WANT to make the leap to compost teas for my lawn and garden. But every time I read up on them it starts to sound like I need some giant claptrap set up that involves MacGuyver, an acquarium pump and some other doo-dads. Is there a simple solution to getting started that I could then upgrade if I discover that I like the process and the product?

Can I just start with a bucket, compost, water and some molassas, or do I need a motor and bubbles and all that jazz?

Please: someone convince me to start this, and that it wont be a big headache timesuck!
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Old June 14, 2013   #2
beeman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcd124 View Post
Can I just start with a bucket, compost, water and some molassas, or do I need a motor and bubbles and all that jazz?
Unless you want the possibility of damage to your garden, then yes you do need 'bubbles and all that jazz'.
Aerobic you need, anaerobic you don't want. The first as it says, aerobic, adding air to a solution. Anaerobic loss of air, leading to pathogens and damage to your plants.
Don't be tempted to try it on the cheap, it's dangerous.
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Old June 14, 2013   #3
tlintx
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Couldn't you stir it daily? Or set up a drip system?

Is it really that much better than just working the compost into the soil? I mean, is it worth the trouble? And if so, how often?

I was thinking of maybe picking up a solar powered aerator and trying a small bucket. You just put nice compost into a bucket of water, stir, and let the aerator work for a few days?

Could someone link to a good pump so I can compare specs with the solar powered ones?

I did find this:

http://dchall.home.texas.net/organic...DFs/brewer.pdf

Which seems pretty straightforward.

Last edited by tlintx; June 14, 2013 at 08:24 PM. Reason: question
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Old June 14, 2013   #4
RayR
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Non-Aerated Compost Tea is what is sometimes called the European Method. It does require vigorous stirring a few times a day to add more oxygen to the liquid. You have to start with very mature aerated compost so you are not promoting anaerobic organisms. You don't want to add anything like molasses to it because that would just cause the bacteria to multiply faster and use up the limited oxygen quicker—and then it would really go anaerobic. If it smells really bad like ammonia or vomit then it has gone anaerobic and the those metabolites could really be harmful to plants.
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Old June 15, 2013   #5
Redbaron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcd124 View Post
I have aerobic compost out back. I have a composting worm bin in the basement. So I have access to the raw materials. And I WANT to make the leap to compost teas for my lawn and garden. But every time I read up on them it starts to sound like I need some giant claptrap set up that involves MacGuyver, an acquarium pump and some other doo-dads. Is there a simple solution to getting started that I could then upgrade if I discover that I like the process and the product?

Can I just start with a bucket, compost, water and some molassas, or do I need a motor and bubbles and all that jazz?

Please: someone convince me to start this, and that it wont be a big headache timesuck!
There is a way. It works but it is time consuming. When filling the bucket with water use the jet nozzle from your hose on full to get as much air in as possible. At least once every 30 min to 1 hour take a pitcher and dip out the tea and pour it back in several times until it is foamy again. Keep doing that for about 8 hours.

I only do that technique when transplanting. The reason is that I am constantly refilling my pitcher anyway since I use that water for "mudding in" the transplants. So instead of just dipping out more tea, I first dip out some and pour it back in from head high several times until it gets aerated. Then I dip some out and go transplant several more seedlings. When the bucket gets down to 1/2 full, I again aerated with fresh water from the hose jet nozzle and if it gets too diluted I add a bit more compost in a cloth bag and maybe some more inoculate.

It's not perfect, but it works well enough as a cheap easy way. And since I am transplanting hundreds of transplants I am out in the garden for hours anyway.

After all the seedlings are transplanted, I use up the rest. Don't try to save it without a bubbler.

Now you can actually use compost tea without making AACT. But you just use it straight away...you don't store it or ferment it at all.

A way I developed that many years ago was take grass clippings and put in the bottom of a wheel barrow, cover the grass clippings with compost or aged manure and hose down the whole thing. (the grass clippings act as a crude filter and also add a bit of nutrients turning the water green) Then gently tip the wheel barrow up to drain the water out into a bucket. Use the water right away.

Or for small batches take 2 buckets drill a few holes in the bottom of one & cover the holes with a coffee filter or a couple layers of cheese cloth. Then fill the bucket with compost. Then spray water in the top bucket so it drains into the bottom bucket. (use a brick or stick to make sure the buckets dont get stuck! There is you "tea" made coffee maker style!

But that "tea" is not the same thing as "AACT". It is good fertilizer though.

The idea about AACT (Actively aerated compost tea) is that you ferment it with a bubbler to grow beneficial bacteria. That makes it even better. But even without the fermentation process, you can still make just ordinary compost tea. But if you make ordinary compost tea, you need to use it right away. DON'T let it ferment. Ray is absolutely right about that! You'll get a stinky nasty dangerous toxic mess.
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Last edited by Redbaron; June 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM.
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Old July 15, 2013   #6
TexasAngel
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I wish I knew how my great grandmother used to make it. Rumor has it she used to sell it to everyone on that side of the mountain.



I've never made it, but I am starting a compost heap this year.
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Old July 23, 2013   #7
carroll49
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5 gal bucket
1/2 shovel of compost or forest dirt.
1 cup worm dirt / castings
1 Tablespoon Azomite (optional)
2 or 3 alfalfa horse cubes or other alfalfa source (optional)
3 or 4 Tablespoons unsulfured molasses (critical)
Fill bucket with water, rain water, tap water...
Go to paint supply place and get a couple free 5 gallon wooden stir sticks.
The molasses will feed the tea. Bubbles or foam will appear on surface, kinda like sourdough starter, this is good. Stir the bottom. you can strain and use after a couple of hours...or wait until the next day.
I made a strainer, that looks kinda like a four legged stool, that fits over a 5 or 6 gal bucket, the seat area is screen wire (like from a window).
5 min. and I'm through.
I threw my aerator devices away.
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