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Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Toplef10Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is I22gcj10Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is 14dhcg10

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Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is

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Post  OhioGardener 6/19/2021, 8:06 pm

This evening I started the first batch of Compost Tea for this season. Put 30 gallons of water in the brewer, and added 6 cups of compost, 2 cups of worm castings, and 2 cups of blackstrap molasses. It will brew for 24 hours, and tomorrow evening I will do both foliar spray and soil drench of all 7 raised beds. I have found that foliar spraying of compost tea greatly reduces pest problems, while soil drenches speeds the breakdown of organic matter to plant-available nutrients.

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Post  sanderson 6/20/2021, 1:08 am

Do you have an air pump? I assume it is your homemade compost.

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Post  OhioGardener 6/20/2021, 8:45 am

sanderson wrote:I assume it is your homemade compost.

Yes, I use homemade compost and worm castings. At the 24-hour point of the brewing cycle I check the microbial life with the microscope. At the end of the cycle, just before applying the tea to the gardens, I usually add some EM-1 to the brewer to get the compost tea an extra boost.

Do you have an air pump?

Yes, I built a airlift tea brewer from a water softener brine tank, using Tim Wilson's "Microbulator" plans.


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Post  sanderson 6/20/2021, 5:48 pm

I used to brew compost tea when I made my own compost. Kind of miss it.

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Post  has55 6/21/2021, 2:20 am

OhioGardener wrote:
sanderson wrote:I assume it is your homemade compost.

Yes, I use homemade compost and worm castings. At the 24-hour point of the brewing cycle I check the microbial life with the microscope. 

what are you seeing in the microscope?
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Post  OhioGardener 6/21/2021, 1:04 pm

has55 wrote:what are you seeing in the microscope?

Protozoa, Amoeba, Flagellates, and a lot of bacteria which was feeding the other microbes. This batch of compost tea was very active with microbial life, and I know the plants loved it.

Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Snap_110

Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Snap110

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Post  has55 6/21/2021, 6:08 pm

do fungi grow in compost tea or is it to slow to do it?
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Post  OhioGardener 6/21/2021, 6:53 pm

has55 wrote:do fungi grow in compost tea or is it to slow to do it?

Occasionally I'll find a small image of Fungal Hyphae in the compost tea, but most of the time there isn't any obvious. The short brewing time of 24 hours, and the constant agitation of the air infusion does not lend itself to development of fungi.

When I look at a sample of the compost I make, though, there is almost always Fungal Hyphae present. This image was of a sample of some of the compost. The fungai is well developed.
Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Fungal10

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Post  jimmy cee 6/21/2021, 11:13 pm

OhioGardener wrote:This evening I started the first batch of Compost Tea for this season. Put 30 gallons of water in the brewer, and added 6 cups of compost, 2 cups of worm castings, and 2 cups of blackstrap molasses. It will brew for 24 hours, and tomorrow evening I will do both foliar spray and soil drench of all 7 raised beds. I have found that foliar spraying of compost tea greatly reduces pest problems, while soil drenches speeds the breakdown of organic matter to plant-available nutrients.
Foliage spraying leaves give nutrients leaves take up immediately. Also helps to keep many pests off because microbes take up residency, not allowing competition.
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Post  OhioGardener 6/22/2021, 8:16 am

jimmy cee wrote:Foliage spraying leaves give nutrients leaves take up immediately. Also helps to keep many pests off because microbes take up residency, not allowing competition.

One of the biggest benefits I have seen from the foliar spraying is the prevention of powdery mildew. The microbes don't leave room on the leaves for the mildew spores to get started.

Last year I started a routine of spraying compost tea every other week, and alternate weeks I sprayed EM-1. It was very successful, and I am going to try to repeat it this year.

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Post  jimmy cee 6/23/2021, 11:03 pm

OhioGardener wrote:One of the biggest benefits I have seen from the foliar spraying is the prevention of powdery mildew. The microbes don't leave room on the leaves for the mildew spores to get started.

Last year I started a routine of spraying compost tea every other week, and alternate weeks I sprayed EM-1. It was very successful, and I am going to try to repeat it this year.
 My last year of SFG I was making compost tea. I had 32 red bell pepper plants in a 4 X 10 bed. 2 weeks after planting I sprayed 16 of these plants with compost tea. In only 4 days the 16 plants that I sprayed almost doubled in size compared to those I did not spray.
I have a small garden bed now and trying my hand at vermicompost. When I get enough castings I will attempt making tea from castings. I started this worm farm March 16th and it is a really slow process. Enjoyable nevertheless.
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Post  OhioGardener 6/24/2021, 12:01 pm

jimmy cee wrote:I have a small garden bed now and trying my hand at vermicompost. When I get enough castings I will attempt making tea from castings. I started this worm farm March 16th and it is a really slow process. Enjoyable nevertheless.

It does take a while for the worms to start multiplying, doesn't it. But, once they start growing and multiplying they expand rapidly. One of the worm bins favorite treats is a couple handfuls of coffee grounds. I've read that the worms can use the coffee grounds as grid in their gizzard to help grind food, so maybe that is why they love them so much.

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Post  has55 6/24/2021, 12:47 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
jimmy cee wrote:I have a small garden bed now and trying my hand at vermicompost. When I get enough castings I will attempt making tea from castings. I started this worm farm March 16th and it is a really slow process. Enjoyable nevertheless.

It does take a while for the worms to start multiplying, doesn't it. But, once they start growing and multiplying they expand rapidly. 
Will a Red Worm Population Double in 3 Months?
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Post  OhioGardener 6/24/2021, 1:55 pm

has55 wrote:
OhioGardener wrote:
jimmy cee wrote:I have a small garden bed now and trying my hand at vermicompost. When I get enough castings I will attempt making tea from castings. I started this worm farm March 16th and it is a really slow process. Enjoyable nevertheless.

It does take a while for the worms to start multiplying, doesn't it. But, once they start growing and multiplying they expand rapidly. 
Will a Red Worm Population Double in 3 Months?

The breeding cycle for Red Wigglers is 27 days, so theoretically their population could double every 60 days.

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Post  OhioGardener 6/24/2021, 9:13 pm

I felt guilty, as well as a little mad this evening about how I did the foliar spray of compost tea on Monday evening.  I went out to pull some Rhubarb stalks to make another Rhubarb Crisp, and discovered the plants were all totally covered with black aphids. It occurred to me that when I did the foliar spray of the compost tea that I did not spray the Rhubarb plants. Typically plants that I keep sprayed with compost tea never have an outbreak of aphids. The underside of the Rhubarb leaves had so many black aphids on them that there was very little of the leaf visible. So, after I harvested the stalks I needed and composted the cut off leaves, I mixed some Neem Oil & Soap and sprayed all of the Rhubarb leaves to kill the remaining aphids. When I do the next compost tea spray at the two-week interval, I won't be missing the Rhubarb.

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Post  has55 6/25/2021, 8:34 pm

interesting. tell me your recipe again. Enquirer wants to know.  Very Happy
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Post  OhioGardener 6/26/2021, 10:54 am

has55 wrote:interesting. tell me your recipe again. Enquirer wants to know.  Very Happy

I included it in the first post of this thread:

This evening I started the first batch of Compost Tea for this season. Put 30 gallons of water in the brewer, and added 6 cups of compost, 2 cups of worm castings, and 2 cups of blackstrap molasses. It will brew for 24 hours, and tomorrow evening I will do both foliar spray and soil drench of all 7 raised beds.

It is not an exact science, though. As a rough estimate, I typically use 1 cup of compost and 1/2 cup of unsulphured molasses per 5 gallons of water. If I have worm castings available, I use some of them for good measure. If I add more compost, I increase the molasses as well to ensure the microbes get fed.

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Post  OhioGardener 8/9/2021, 1:20 pm

Did the monthly foliar spray and soil drench of Compost Tea. The benefits I have seen this year of doing monthly applications of compost tea have been incredible.  Lush bug free vegetables, and no powdery mildew so far this year. Not to mention more vegetables than we can use.

Made a compilation video of the finished compost tea under the microscope.


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Post  has55 8/9/2021, 5:58 pm

Thank you.
Are you at the level where you can put the names with an arrow or maybe a posted time stamp note of what we are looking at in the video? Great pictures.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/9/2021, 6:10 pm

has55 wrote:Thank you.
Are you at the level where you can put the names with an arrow or maybe a posted time stamp note of what we are looking at in the video? Great pictures.

I am approaching that ability, but not quite there yet. First I have to learn to take good notes when capturing a screen shot. I have a friend that I periodically send screen shots to for confirmation of what I am looking at, and he either confirms my thoughts or corrects them. That info with the notes I should be taking would allow me to include names and pointers to them.  I'm getting there....

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Post  has55 8/9/2021, 6:13 pm

awesome, thanks for sharing
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Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Empty Spraying em-1

Post  Hawgwild 2/7/2022, 8:09 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
Last year I started a routine of spraying compost tea every other week, and alternate weeks I sprayed EM-1. It was very successful, and I am going to try to repeat it this year.
Just wondering how you are mixing the em-1 to spray on you plants. Are you activating the em-1 then deluding it before spraying?

I have a quart of em-1 I'm activating now to use for some of my evergreen plants and flowers.
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Post  OhioGardener 2/7/2022, 8:24 pm

Hawgwild wrote:
OhioGardener wrote:
Last year I started a routine of spraying compost tea every other week, and alternate weeks I sprayed EM-1. It was very successful, and I am going to try to repeat it this year.
Just wondering how you are mixing the em-1 to spray on you plants. Are you activating the em-1 then deluding it before spraying?

Yes, you must use the activated EM-1, not the Mother.  I mix a 1% EM-1 solution -- that is 2.5 Tbsp EM-1 per 1 Gallon water.

Only do the foliar spraying in very early morning, or in the evening after the sunshine has weakened.  The sun's UV will kill the microbes if sprayed during high sun times.

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Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Empty Thanks OhioGardener

Post  Hawgwild 2/7/2022, 8:42 pm

Just the info I needed... I am learning so much on the awesome forum..

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Tea Time -- Compost Tea, that is Empty Worm casting tea in cold weather...

Post  Hawgwild 2/12/2022, 7:25 pm

I've started a new batch of worm castings tea but not sure how effective it may be with our current temperature range in northwest Louisiana...Low to upper 30's night time  and near 70's days.

I added 3 cups worm castings and 3 tablespoons molasses in a 5 gallon bucket outside.

Just checked water temp in the bucket and was 56 degrees. Will probably drop more tonight.

Do you believe the microbes with grow with these current temps? I will move the bucket out in the sun as the day warms..

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