About

Marc Remillard – As an enologist, author, musician, designer, professional winemaker, and an internationally acclaimed acoustic guitar builder he has worn many hats over the years. As an author, Marc has written for various trade publications, but with the completion of his first published book – Compost Tea Making – he is approaching full renaissance-man status. Marc lives with his wife and family near Olympia in Washington State.

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25 Responses to About

  1. Anna says:

    Hi
    I went ahead and bought your book “Compost Tea Making”, and am really glad that I did. I had been confused by all of the conflicting information on the web, but the book clarified most of it for me. It is hard to believe that there are so many “experts” promoting the idea of simply steeping compost in water. Now I fully understand why that is not a good idea at all. I have used compost tea on my bonsai plants and they seem to love it, and on indoor houseplants as well this winter.
    Question: I have very clean horse manure-free of any chemicals. Why can’t I put that in my worm bins and on my compost pile?

    • admin says:

      Hi Anna
      In the book we took a very conservative approach and downplayed the use of manure. However worms love it, and so do the microbes in your compost pile. You are aware that the manure you use needs to be free of added toxins. Some horse manure has wood chips in it, which composts slowly, while some has wood pellets in it which absorb the moisture well and compost very nicely.

  2. admin says:

    Hi
    Thanks Marc. I am determined to make the tea in more volume this year in a 55 gallon barrel. Any recommendations for a air pump big enough to handle that?

  3. admin says:

    Why not? The more the merrier eh? That is what we do at the Avitino vineyard. There is a list of suppliers in the resource page in the back of the book. You can get one on ebay. Look for hydroponic air pumps and get as big one. They run about $100. Make sure that when you run the pump that you keep it cool by situating it in the shade. We have been making the tea in a small greenhouse that helps keep the brew warm. We found that the pump would get hot and an automatic circuit breaker would trip–turning the pump off. When it cooled down again it would begin running. When we moved the pump out of the greenhouse into the shade it worked fine.

  4. Brad says:

    I am brand new to this, forced into retirement (Uggg!) medically from Microsoft and removed from all to much of my life, I have embarked on a journey into tea. That is how I found your book, only to discover that is was the making of “A Tea” from grown ergo – living mater to help living things be stronger. I was instantly enamored and profoundly caught and knew this was something I have to know…I will very soon be receiving a very special shipment of Camellia Sinensis var Sinenis and Assamica tea seeds, from a small plantation in the Fujian province of China that will begin a 5-8 year love affair I have with tea and growing things of beauty. I cannot wait to apply all I learn from your writings and from you….as always, from my house to yours — Cheers Cha Dao! — May your tea always bring you joy!

  5. admin says:

    Hi Brad
    My wife & I are also drinkable tea lovers ( we do not drink compost tea!) She prefers black teas while I am more of a green or Oolong drinker. I just finished a pot of green from the Chun Mee area in China. She likes her Assam’s and Yunann’s etc. Just curious–Microsoft..you are not in Redmond are you? If so, can good tea be grown in the Pacific NW? One way or another the compost tea has to be good for tea plants.
    Marc

  6. saied says:

    Hi

    I live in Scotland where climate is generally much cooler. Temparatues in spring and summer are more likely to be around 13 to 20 degrees, I read your book a few months ago and have started making compost tea from my home produced compost and wormery and although still too soonto tell we think we are seeing a few things grow differentlly. An example is more apples on our dwarf apple tree than last year and less moss on our grass. I am waiting to see what the potatoe crop is going to be.
    Are there any tips for making compost tea in colder rainier climates apart from I guess taking longer to brew the tea?

    Saied

    • admin says:

      Hello Saied
      We have suggested before to bring the brewer inside the house, but there has been some resistance to that idea, such as ,”no way would she let me do that!” . She may however, let you brew ale inside the house, which actually gives off much more smell than compost tea! One way or another one can devise a way to brew the tea at higher temperatures. I have thought about brewing it on top of the [home] water heater, which is always warm. We brew 50 gallons at a time in a small greenhouse at the Pinot Noir vineyard I am working with. The little greenhouse really heats up during the day. Even then the temperature of the brewing tea stays fairly cool because the air being pumped into it modulates the water temperature. One would have to pump warm air into it. I just had an idea that would definately work–an HVLP pump, which is designed to pump warm air into a paint spray gun. However, I am not sure if I want to dedicate my expensive HVLP pump for that purpose, or how durable it would be under those conditions.
      Starting your brew with warm water is always a good idea, say at 32c. or 90F. First though, let the compost starter warm up slowly. You do not want to shock the microbes that have been cold. Even though we are encouraging aerobic activity, you can let the compost soak for 15 minutes in the warm water before turning the pump on. The microbes will wake up , hydrate, realize that they are in a great environment to raise a family and begin producing young. That will give it a good start.

  7. SAIED says:

    thank you for your reply

    My current accommodation is not too conducive to brining the tea indoors ( especially with new baby arriving soon too!) but I guess I could think of ways of keeping the brew warmer. Is there a minimum temperature in your experience below which the brewing process becomes pointless?

    • admin says:

      Hello Saied
      This is a very good question that deserves to be answered well. For many of us, our brews are generally cooler than we would like.
      If I remember correctly, from my wine cellar research, the soil/cellar temperature in Scotland is about 9 C./48 F., compared to cellar temperatures in France which tends to be about 14 C./57 F.
      The microbes in the Scottish soil are used to flourishing in those cooler temperatures. As you know, that bit of common soil that you add with the compost/castings at the beggining of the brewing process is important, because it adds those tough little Scottish beasties to the blend. Even though we will never really know unless you observed the process through a microscpe, one would think you could brew successful compost teas cooler than they could in France. How cool? I could only guess at the ambient soil temperature of 9 C.
      I will contact Tim Wilson concerning this question because he obseves the process in action all of the time. When I find out I will post it here.
      Stay tuned.

    • Elly says:

      Wow! That’s a really neat aneswr!

  8. Tim Hawk says:

    I’m new to the compost tea concept. So pardon my ignorance.
    What would be the problem with placing the compost directly in the water and then screening out the solids after brewing?

    Also can you over aerate during tea brewing process? I have an air pump that is way overkill and I could have the water really moving (more like boiling) with air. Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hello Tim
      Putting compost directly in the water instead of in a big tea bag? I can’t see why not. I have wondered if it would plug up the diffusser openings but it should not, as long as the air pump remains on. When I get a leak in the bag, the sand settles to the bottom and the peat moss floats on the top. Could you keep us posted as to how that works?
      Over areation. Yes. The induced air can modulate the temperature towards ambient outside temp., but if the temperature remains in the warm range the batch will complete its brewing quicker with more air. Remember that when the microbes run out of food–like simple sugars (molasses) they become unhappy, and this opens up the door for anaerobic orgtanisms to multiply.
      How about working with a larger container with your big pump? Apply the compost tea full strength if you have more than you need.

  9. Paul says:

    Hi just received the book from amazon uk website. Thought the layout was unusual, “this guy gets straight to it ” the conclusion page comes first! Then realised the whole book is back to front, perfectly it seems, so Im starting at the back.
    Just thought I’d let you know, Its like chinese in english read from right to left pagewise.

    • admin says:

      Hi Paul
      That is simply not acceptable. You should and will receive a good copy. I have contacted the publisher.
      I like how you are rather chipper about it though.
      These books are made in presses originally designed by HP in Oregon in the 1990’s. They are print-on-demand presses. When book is ordered from Amazon or wherever, the press makes one, and it somehow gets shipped out. I have never seen one of the presses, but I am curious. One would assume that the press that printed your contorted copy is in the U.K. and was having a bad hair day or something horrible like that.
      It may not be worth your time, but if you could complain to the book seller you got it from it might help you get a better copy.
      Thanks
      Marc

      • Paul says:

        Hi Marc,
        Ive read the book, Its easier than you think to read backwards. What has happened I think is the book has had its spine glued on the wrong side as the page numbers are in the center if this makes sense. I will contact amazon out of interest though. Thanks
        Paul

  10. Paul says:

    Update:

    Contacted Amazon and they offered to refund or replace. So it is resolved. Will be checking out this site from time to time and plan on brewing in the late spring, I used all my compost up on a new raised bed!
    Thanks.

  11. Roger Sipe says:

    Hello. I’m looking for photos of compost tea making to go with an article about that topic for the magazine I work on. Please contact me via email if you are interested in submitting some photos. Thank you. — Roger Sipe

  12. Peter Spence says:

    I am looking to brew some tea and run it onto my vineyard using the drip system. The water is chlorinated drinking water. Is this a bad idea ? Or has anyone done this with success.

    • admin says:

      Hi Peter
      That’s a good idea, but you would never be sure how the chlorine is effecting the microbes unless you studied them under a microscope. Perhaps you should add some EM1 into the solution. That way at least some of the chlorine might be nullified before it has a chance to reduce bacterial and fungal populations too much. There is a link to TerraGanix on the top right of this homepage. Once you buy the EM1, you can start to brew it for yourself.
      As I have already stated here, we managed to arrest serious Botrytis and powdery mildew infections with the compost tea/EM1 combination on two acres of Pinot noir in a humid climate. We did also use a few applications of lime sulfur, Rally, and one of Rubicon~~~but that’s not much! We observed little mildew and no Botrytis in the 2012 ripening season.
      Keep me posted as to your progress. We have be curious if perhaps the Compost tea and/or EM contribute to unwanted vigor in the vines. I would be curious to hear of your observations on that in the future.
      Thanks
      Marc

  13. Alex says:

    Hello. My wife and I read your book on composting and wondered if you could answer a question for us. We live in northern Indiana and wondered about having a vermicomposting system that could be left up outside all year around without causing our worms to die. You suggest having a raised box to protect against worm predators but then during the winter the worms would be exposed to the elements. What would be the downside to just placing the box on the ground? It seems then the worms would just be able to burrow when it got cold and then reemerge into the box in the spring. We would appreciate your thoughts and advice as we implement your ideas, thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Alex
      The worms will certainly burrow down to avoid freezing, but if there are predators (such as moles) they will find the treasure trove of worms and feast on them. The worms do tend to stay where the food is rich, as there is less for them to eat in native soil. As long as you can keep the pile from freezing solid the worms will live. Digging the pile into the ground may be an option, and/or using lots of heat-generating manure.
      The last two years I have been experimenting with a large 10 yard compost pile on top of old galvanized metal roofing. It’s about 20′ X 12′. My buddies at a winery dump off grape reside, and I layered it with four pickup loads of good cow manure. With the grape stems, it was too big and awkward for me to turn–so it’s really more of a worm system. In October I dug a hole in the middle and filled it with manure and kitchen scraps, and seeded it with all of the worms from the wooden worm bin photo in the Compost Tea Making book [it does not look so clean now]. A friend showed up the other day [April 1st] with his tractor and consolidated the pile with the bucket. It’s teeming with worms! I was worried that the moles had crawled in there. It is amazing that the million? worms that are on my property all originated from a literal handful that I got from an abandoned little plastic tray-type bin several years ago. It freezes here, but winters are mild in western Washington.
      I hope that helps
      Marc

  14. Zoe says:

    Hi Marc,

    I was given your book for Christmas this year. I’ve been making compost tea based upon information I’ve garnered from the internet, and your book is a nice additional resource. I’ve one issue, though: my book is missing pages! It’s not that they’ve been torn out; this is how it was printed. It skips directly from page 44 to page 53, which means that I’m missing one of the sections I’m most interested in: Worm Bin Liquid! It’s the first edition, copyright 2010. Has this been fixed in a latter edition?

    • admin says:

      Hi Zoe
      You have a bad copy. Complain to Amazon or wherever you got it. The book is print-on-demand style, so once in a while the robot printer has a bad hair day. I got a message from a guy in England who had bought one of my other books–Solar Flare Survival, and the whole thing was backwards–last page first. He was all polite and stiff upper lip about it, as if he didn’t mind suffering. NOT. Get a good copy.
      Thanks, I hope you enjoy the book,
      Marc

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