Announcement: Compost Tea Making

Compost Tea Making, compost tea, composting, how to compost

Compost Tea Making: For Organic Healthier Vegetables, Flowers, Orchards, Vineyards, Lawns

Compost Tea Making is the first comprehensive, practical guide to creating compost tea for farms, orchards, vineyards, lawns, and gardens. This essential reference book explains why compost teas have such powerful, beneficial effects for all plants. The global compost tea revolution is in its infancy.

Readers will begin to grasp the importance of rejuvenating the microbial life in our agricultural soils world-wide. Seasoned with the authors incurable dry humor, elegant prose, photographs, and interviews with professionals, this book demystifies the often-confusing ideas and techniques used to make compost teas.

With simple recipes, techniques, and equipment, the actual making of compost tea is easy.

Learn why compost teas are so powerful and effective–How to brew compost teas–Compost tea applications–How to put together a simple compost tea brewer–How to make compost specifically for compost teas. How to create worm castings for compost teas–How to build practical, movable worm bins–How to combine EM products with compost tea to increase its potency.

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Feeding Worms Cow Manure

In February of 2013 I acquired two yearling heifers: one of the Highland breed and the other of the Galloway breed. Neither had received vaccinations that I know of. I turned them out in 3 acres of lush pasture that no animals had been on for 12 years. I do not feed them grain, nor do I intend to. Therefore, the manure they produce I consider to be free of chemicals, fungicides, etc.
Sometime later, when one of the bovines dropped a cow pie in exactly the wrong place–directly in front of the gate where I would step, I grabbed a shovel. I decided to place the wet smelly thing in one of my worm bins–one of those small stack-able plastic tray-type bins. I layed it on top of an almost full tray. Over a period of about a month I observed the progress the worms made with their pie.
They loved it!
Due to the ammonia, I am not sure how much fresh manure the worms could handle at any given time, but after more observations, I have concluded that using manure is one of the fastest ways to increase the population of your Eisenia fetida (red wiggler) composting worms.
In Compost Tea Making, I discussed feeding worms kitchen scraps. It’s certainly beneficial for the worms to have a broad range of food available–a microbial smorgasbord. However, using only kitchen scraps I have had problems with mold, resulting in worm die-off. I now think that the addition of some clean manure into the blend helps them to process all of their food better. I realize this is well tread ground I walk, but I am adding it as an update to the worm growing chapter in Compost Tea Making.
What do you think?

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Compost Tea Recipe

There are many different ingredients one can add to a batch of compost tea. This is a very simple recipe that works well with few ingredients. Remember to use the finished tea within an hour after brewing is completed. Once the bacteria have consumed the molasses, they will be appreciate being moved into a new neighborhood.

4 gallons clean chlorine-free water
½ gallon hot water
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 liter/5 cups good compost

Put the hot water and the molasses into the bottom of a five gallon bucket
Dump in the four gallons of water
Put the compost into a nylon paint strainer bag fastened onto the top of the bucket, or into an onion bag, burlap rice bag, or some sort of tea bag. The paint stainer bag is slick because it is designed to fit on a 5 gallon bucket.
Pump air into the bottom of the bucket for 24 hours with a hydroponic or aquarium air pump
Try to keep the brewing tea from 70 F./21C. To 80 F./ 25C. If it is cooler—like at 60 F. it will take longer– about 48 hours to brew.

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Compost Tea Recipe

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How to Compost for Compost Tea Production

When we make a compost tea, we are using either worm castings, thermal compost, or both as the starter to culture the tea from.

When we refer to compost as “thermal” it means that the materials in the compost pile have been broken down and digested by microbes that created heat in the process. This is natural and particularly dramatic with compost that is turned and aerated frequently. It is very important that we use well aerated compost for our compost tea brews because the type of bacteria we want in our teas are aerobic–oxygen loving bacteria. Thermal compost piles also may have high populations of fungi, which is good for most types of compost teas.

How to compost?
There are many good books on the subject. In Compost Tea Making by Marc Remillard we outline the basics of how to make compost specifically for compost teas. It may not be  rocket science, but it is soil microbiology, focusing on compost tea production. We do down-play the use of manures but that is honestly a very conservative approach. If you use manure from a known source that is free of antibiotics your compost will certainly benefit.

The standard ingredients like grass clippings, leaves, sawdust, manure, and kitchen scraps will make great compost as long as it is turned and aerated often. Just make sure it contains enough “brown” carbon source materials like leaves, sawdust, and clean cardboard. If you add a little forest soil to the blend it will introduce beneficial fungi as well.

How to compost?

Worm castings make great compost teas that are bacterial dominated. Worm castings have a lot of good benefits for the soil. In Compost Tea Making by Marc Remillard we have a fairly long chapter discussing the latest, most current techniques involving the growing of composting worms. Depending on the climate where you live, specific species of worms are used for composting. Eisenia fetida, or Red Wigglers, are the best composting worms for temperate climates. Red wigglers are heavy feeders, shallow dwellers, and reproduce rapidly.

The common earthworm may be beneficial for soils in our environment but unfortunately they do not behave well in shallow worm growing systems. They are deep burrowers, and like to travel the world (escape from enclosed systems).

In warm climates where soil temperatures never drop below 50 degrees F. many worm growers swear by Indian Blue worms, which have many common names and may be of least two species; Perionyx spenceriella, and Perionyx excavitus. various worm species can be purchased from online sources. Use the species names to ensure you get the exact worms you need. Common names are confusing.

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