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  • Results 1 to 19 of 19

    Thread: Compost Tea Question

    1. #1
      McKTX's Avatar
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      Compost Tea Question

      I am going to try and fertilize my pastures with compost tea this year instead of chemical fertilizers. I have 1 55 G barrel that I want to use, I of course have the air pump and will make a perferated PVC pipe to supply the air to the brew. I understand i need to add about 6 cups of molasses to the mixture. I have ordered 10 pounds of worm castings, I have kelp meal and I can get fish emulsion to add also. Am wondering how much of each of the dry ingredients to add and what is the best "tea bag" to use to get uniform brewing of all the ingredients. I am thinking like a nylon stocking or something?

      Thanks!

      Carol
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    2. #2
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      I don't use molasses.
      And I don't have a formula.
      My composter has a reservoir that catches everything.
      I then dilute it at a 1:4 ratio.
      ...Joyce

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    3. #3
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      http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/gr_fru...475327,00.html

      This is an article I found on the diy network, but only for a 5 G "brewer". Figured I multiply everything by 10 for my 55G drum.
      The two enemies of the people are criminals and government.

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      "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle


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    4. #4
      unprofessional is offline Senior Member
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      the bags used to keep potatoes work fine, but they're a bit small for your application. Mesh laundry bags can be found at dollar stores, and I think they'd be good size for you.

      I wouldn't worry too much about exact measurement of ingredients - as long as the things you put into it are good, and your mixture isn't too strong, you know what you're doing is benefiting your plants. I amend my beds with last year's compost pile, and make tea with last year's manure.

    5. #5
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      Mesh laundry bag! What a great idea! Thank you!! How can it be to strong?
      The two enemies of the people are criminals and government.

      No one can ruin your day without YOUR permission!!!

      "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle


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    6. #6
      aartwmich's Avatar
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      Big new thing...making large quantities of compost tea for an organic fertilizer. There's a place near me that does it, they actually use a microscope to do a 'bug count', said I could come in and have a lesson in identifying on the scope.

      They use 3 different kinds of compost and they do feed it several different kinds of foods, because there are different kinds of bacterias and molds that are good and bad and they eat different things. They sell one of the 5 gallon kits, but they do it in 500 gals batches with massive aeration that is very closely timed and monitored for sale in commercial agricultural applications.

      I went to a seminar on soil biology and it was fascinating, different plants want differnt types of soil, some that are heavier with molds than bacterias and visa versa....which also effects the Ph..

      Oops ........I guess I am rambling

      Anne (the 'e' is silent) the Armchair Ponder


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    7. #7
      Swimming Jewel's Avatar
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      Well, whatever I am doing, without any equations, formulas or aeration, is working wonders on every plant I use it on. Especially my orchids. I have had several phals blooming now for over 8 months. And that near dead Masdevallia 'Aquarius' I bought in April this year is covered with spikes and blooms. I started using compost tea on them about one year ago. Once again I dilute 1:4.

      Oh wait...my tomatoes are getting it too. Planted on Mothers Day about 6 inches tall, they are now at least 2 feet tall each and almost as wide, blooming like crazy and have small green tomatoes starting on them. My Peppers and Eggplant are loving it too.

      And by the way, sometimes my tea stinks like sewage, and other times it smells like potting soil. I use it no matter what, and it works anyhow.
      And by the way, without ANY microscope, you can see critters moving in it.

      I empty the reservoir when it gets filled into gallon milk jugs, orange juice jugs, anything with a screw on cap. (other caps will pop off and/or seal too tight) I screw the caps on VERY loosely and store the gallon jugs next to the composter and also in the garage. I give gallons away to my gardening and orchid growing friends.
      ...Joyce

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    8. #8
      aartwmich's Avatar
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      Well yeah Joyce, I do the same with my worm composting liquid.

      But this is still interesting, don't you think? Especially if you're into organics, really understanding soil biology and how it affects nutrition when growing for food rather than ascetics.

      Anne (the 'e' is silent) the Armchair Ponder


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    9. #9
      Swimming Jewel's Avatar
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      Anyway, keeping it open for those who like to keep it simple and not make it seem like rocket science. Believe me, if my dad were still alive, he'd be scribbling out the scientific formulas, naming the bugs by their latin names, getting his scopes out, for the entire process.
      And he'd be real po-ed at me for not using specific formulas for specific plants... ....but I just don't wanna or need to bother at this point in my life.

      I find it all EXTREMELY interresting!
      ...Joyce

      www.peacefulponds.org

      “Guilt is always jealous.”
      John Ray


      “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
      It will never fail you.”

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      “There is only one good; knowledge, and one evil; ignorance” ...Socrates

      'When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.' ...Sinclair Lewis

      No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy ... USMC



    10. #10
      unprofessional is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by McKTX View Post
      Mesh laundry bag! What a great idea! Thank you!! How can it be to strong?
      Strength is determined by a few things - what's in it, of course, but also how long it steeps, how hot it is when it steeps, and how much you apply. Just think how strong it would be if you let it set for a week in hot temps, and then doused your plants in it - it could definitely "burn" weaker plants. If you're trying your own mix, I would say just stick to moderation and see how you like your results. Keeping a control sample isn't a bad idea, so that you can compare.

    11. #11
      aartwmich's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Swimming Jewel View Post
      Anyway, keeping it open for those who like to keep it simple and not make it seem like rocket science. Believe me, if my dad were still alive, he'd be scribbling out the scientific formulas, naming the bugs by their latin names, getting his scopes out, for the entire process. And he'd be real po-ed at me for not using specific formulas for specific plants... ....but I just don't wanna or need to bother at this point in my life. I find it all EXTREMELY interresting!
      Yeah, I would like to analyze (see the first four letters in that word?heehee) it all to the highest level of detail possible...measuring NPK - Ph - oxygen, ID'ing all the organisms, using specific foods to cultivate specific organisms ideal for the soil of specific plants that I was fertilizing ....But of course you can just steep some poop, dilute it and pour it on too




      Quote Originally Posted by unprofessional View Post
      Strength is determined by a few things - what's in it, of course, but also how long it steeps, how hot it is when it steeps, and how much you apply. Just think how strong it would be if you let it set for a week in hot temps, and then doused your plants in it - it could definitely "burn" weaker plants. If you're trying your own mix, I would say just stick to moderation and see how you like your results. Keeping a control sample isn't a bad idea, so that you can compare.
      By strength, do you mean nitrogen content?? Too much nitrogen, not properly composted, can burn the heck outta any plants.
      It can be safe to dilute the tea quite a bit unless you are testing it for the NPK components.
      By control sample do you mean a plant that doesn't have any tea added to its soil?



      .

      Anne (the 'e' is silent) the Armchair Ponder


      Judge no one by their outward appearance or where they work or live or worship........but by the content of their character displayed in the integrity of their actions.

    12. #12
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      Cool

      Anne, I don't use any straight 'poop' for my tea. I think that's too much of a disaster waiting to happen. (So many people have screwed up my aquatic potting recipe, I no longer try to give ANY advice using the word poop or manure. People just don't wanna follow a recipe to a T.) All my compost is made from kitchen veggie and fruit leftovers, chicken egg shells for calcium, old potting soil and debris from repotting, plant trimmings and shedded leaves, dead orchids blossoms, dryer lint, etc, etc. And hubby adds some lawn clippings, leaves, all the rabbit hutch 'productions' and old bedding. The compost tumbler has a base that has the rollers, but also is the reservoir. Holds about 10 gallons and I empty them about every 2 weeks, sometimes more if we have had a LOT of rain. I have 2 of these now. One for a batch that's finished, and one for a batch that's fresh. I leave the hatches open on both all the time, to catch the rain, and water from the sprinkler system.

      My neighbor Jody across the street also uses my composter too.

      I also have 2 standing type composters and one cinder block composter for most of the lawn leaves and grass clippings. We're not too faithful about turning this one, but it seems to rot down extremely fast and it ALWAYS full of earthworms. We add the earthworms to the tumbling composters and they get to work right away. I don't know how much they like being tumbled though!

      Whenever I empty the composter tea reservoir...that's about as 'anal'ictic as I get...checking out the color, consistency and odor of what comes out...and watch the wigglers. I think a LOT are baby earthworms, but some are clear-whitish and chubbier, and there are itty-bitty flea like moving bits in there....everything goes into the funnel which sits over a gallon container. I let them settle out for the rest of the day them I screw the caps on loosely.
      Several of my friends help themselves to the gallons...since I always leave some out by the composters which are free for the taking, leaving a couple gallons in the garage for my own use. I advise them to screw the caps on tightly for the ride home, but loosen them when they're stored. Every once in a while, screw the cap on tight and shake. Then store loosened again.
      All my orchid growing friends are SOLD on my tea!

      If you asked me about compost and compost tea 10 years ago, I would have looked at you like you had 2 heads.
      Now I'm a composter geek!
      ...Joyce

      www.peacefulponds.org

      “Guilt is always jealous.”
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      “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
      It will never fail you.”

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    13. #13
      Cinnaman is offline Senior Member
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      Joyce,

      Do you have any pics of your composters? I have a compost pile (weed fabric bottom, pallet sides) behind my shed, but it is under a tree and the tree roots go right through the weed fabric on the bottom to make the pile one big mass of roots. I'm looking for a cheap alternative for the same spot under the tree.

      Dave

    14. #14
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      ...Joyce

      www.peacefulponds.org

      “Guilt is always jealous.”
      John Ray


      “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
      It will never fail you.”

      Frank Lloyd Wright


      “There is only one good; knowledge, and one evil; ignorance” ...Socrates

      'When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.' ...Sinclair Lewis

      No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy ... USMC



    15. #15
      unprofessional is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by aartwmich View Post
      By strength, do you mean nitrogen content?? Too much nitrogen, not properly composted, can burn the heck outta any plants.
      It can be safe to dilute the tea quite a bit unless you are testing it for the NPK components.
      By control sample do you mean a plant that doesn't have any tea added to its soil?

      Hey where in Michigan are you??
      Yup, to both questions.

      I'm in Hillsdale county.

    16. #16
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      Joyce won't use the word "poop"...or manure. but I will.

      My granny used to go for a walk thru the pasture carring a 5 gallon bucket...she'd come home with 2 or 3 large "dry" as opposed to fresh cow pies. These "pies" were obviously several years old. She'd then fill the bucket with water and set it in partial shade. When it had just the right "tea" color she would use this water for her plants. When she would take water out she would add more like a sour dough started. This bucket never had any smell. When it began to lose it's color...she'd start a new bucket.

      This was in the 60's before miracle grow, time release fertilizers and compost piles were the way to go.

      She always had the loveliest plants outside and in.
      RedNecks R Us

    17. #17
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      Joyce,

      When I put in my lawn about 15 years ago, I hauled in loads of "composted" HOG manure. It had been aged for years. I know this...because it was our compost pile. It was a mixture of manure-straw-and dirt. It looked and smelled like dirt. There was never a smell even when wet. Too bad folks don't realize that there is a difference in compost and manure.

      If it still smells like Sh**...it's still Sh**...age it somemore. The compost pile is long gone. I wish I had access to more now. The manure from the local feedlots is too fresh and full of weed seeds.
      RedNecks R Us

    18. #18
      Swimming Jewel's Avatar
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      By the way, our local dump takes the fall leaf bags and makes leaf mold out of them. I get a 15 cubic yard dumptruck of it for $100.
      I use it for mulch cuz you can plant right into it, and also repotting lilies.
      My Veggie garden gets a 6" layer of it every year.

      Nice to meet someone who knows the difference between composted manure and straight manure.
      ...Joyce

      www.peacefulponds.org

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      “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
      It will never fail you.”

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      “There is only one good; knowledge, and one evil; ignorance” ...Socrates

      'When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.' ...Sinclair Lewis

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    19. #19
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      And I know manure, too! After all, I have been standing in it most of the morning while the farrier worked on our poop factories!

      Something to add-anyone who uses poop uncomposted is planting a ton of whatever that animal ate, and I do not need fescue planted in my veggies! Composting will kill those seeds, so you end up with just the good stuff!

      And lastly, I have never experienced (or heard of anyone that had) burning of any plants with true compost tea, no matter how concentrated. It is extremely benign; even when almost black and used as a foliar feed, which I do often. Don't worry about steeping it to long or too strong, as long as you are using COMPOST!!! Sue's "stink test" is key, if it is damp and smells fresh, you can plant in it, never will it burn!

      Here in NC, the hog industry is large, and lots of farmers will use the stinky, fresh waste for fertilizer, and there are TONS of rules on how it is used (amounts, time before harvest, etc.), but once even pig waste is composted, you can use it anywhere, anyhow, any amount and you will be fine-nothing but good stuff!

      IMHO

      Steve
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