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Are anaerobic teas benefcial?

 
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Hey Eric, I’ve heard a lot of spiel denouncing anaerobic teas, mostly around the idea that plants like aerobic conditions (not drowning) so anaerobic microbes encouraged by anaerobic teas are worse than whatever’s different about aerobic teas.  What’s your take?
 
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Hey Eric, I’ve heard a lot of spiel denouncing anaerobic teas, mostly around the idea that plants like aerobic conditions (not drowning) so anaerobic microbes encouraged by anaerobic teas are worse than whatever’s different about aerobic teas.  What’s your take?



Hi Dillon,

I think many people decide on one camp or the other and I really don't think it is as straightforward as that. It is a broad area and depends on how you make it and then how you use it.
Do you have a particular example of anaerobically prepared tea so we can consider the pros and cons in a more concrete way ? I ask for a specific example because there is very broad range of methods under the anaerobic banner from the Bokashi style to chucking manure in polythene bags. Also an anaerobic process can just be one aspect of the substances path to being used in a meaningful way. For instance you could have something that is really nasty, seething with phytotoxins and disease then spread it out on your land and encourage the worms for a year then things can turn around.

 
Dillon Langer
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eric fisher wrote:

Hey Eric, I’ve heard a lot of spiel denouncing anaerobic teas, mostly around the idea that plants like aerobic conditions (not drowning) so anaerobic microbes encouraged by anaerobic teas are worse than whatever’s different about aerobic teas.  What’s your take?



Hi Dillon,

I think many people decide on one camp or the other and I really don't think it is as straightforward as that. It is a broad area and depends on how you make it and then how you use it.
Do you have a particular example of anaerobically prepared tea so we can consider the pros and cons in a more concrete way ? I ask for a specific example because there is very broad range of methods under the anaerobic banner from the Bokashi style to chucking manure in polythene bags. Also an anaerobic process can just be one aspect of the substances path to being used in a meaningful way. For instance you could have something that is really nasty, seething with phytotoxins and disease then spread it out on your land and encourage the worms for a year then things can turn around.




Well, if we were to get specific my preferred method of anaerobic tea making is to throw organic matter, usually freshly pulled weeds, occasionally with added amendments like ash, into a bucket filled with water and just wait.  I usually dilute this with water when I apply it to garden plants, though.

Thank you for the advice!
 
eric fisher
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Well, if we were to get specific my preferred method of anaerobic tea making is to throw organic matter, usually freshly pulled weeds, occasionally with added amendments like ash, into a bucket filled with water and just wait.  I usually dilute this with water when I apply it to garden plants, though.




1. Can I ask if you stir it at all and the frequency ?
2. How long did you wait to use it ?
3. Did you put a lid on top; was it tight fitting ?
4. In what way did you apply it to plant ? eg. foliar spray, root drench.
5. Which plants ? and their use.  For instance if you are pouring the stuff on salad leaves then eating them straight after, I might be concerned.

Regarding the ash I would be inclined to do pH test because too much alkalinity might be a problem. Also regarding the 'weeds' did you spot any you know  because some are dynamic accumulators and can be real asset to your brews.
 
Dillon Langer
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eric fisher wrote:




1. Can I ask if you stir it at all and the frequency ?
2. How long did you wait to use it ?
3. Did you put a lid on top; was it tight fitting ?
4. In what way did you apply it to plant ? eg. foliar spray, root drench.
5. Which plants ? and their use.  For instance if you are pouring the stuff on salad leaves then eating them straight after, I might be concerned.

Regarding the ash I would be inclined to do pH test because too much alkalinity might be a problem. Also regarding the 'weeds' did you spot any you know  because some are dynamic accumulators and can be real asset to your brews.



1.  I stirred infrequently, usually not at all unless I decided to add something later.

2.  The average time I waited was about 3-4 ish months.  (It may not bave been fully decomposed but it was good enough for me.)

3.  No lids.

4 and 5.  It gets diluted with water and poured around the bases of my squash, tomatoes, corn, and melons in some of my prepared beds.

Good to know about the ash, it’s just usually a resource I have a lot of in winter because stove fires.  Weeds usually include, at least in the batch of tea I’m referring to, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, foxtails, etc.

I should also note that I have no need for perfection or even efficiency.  As long as the tea has any positive effect I would be happy, and I think it does anyways but I don’t know the science.
 
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eric fisher wrote:

1. Can I ask if you stir it at all and the frequency ?
2. How long did you wait to use it ?
3. Did you put a lid on top; was it tight fitting ?
4. In what way did you apply it to plant ? eg. foliar spray, root drench.
5. Which plants ? and their use.  For instance if you are pouring the stuff on salad leaves then eating them straight after, I might be concerned.

Regarding the ash I would be inclined to do pH test because too much alkalinity might be a problem. Also regarding the 'weeds' did you spot any you know  because some are dynamic accumulators and can be real asset to your brews.


Hi Eric!
I'm not Dillon, but I do that too, my answers for what I have done:
1. no.
2. about a week
3. no
4. root drench
5. mostly mustard weeds
Then I piled the drowned weeds on as mulch. :D

Good, bad, other?
That was in Zone 8B (desert southwest) with very alkaline soil. (Currently in 6a/b with MUCH better soil!) My theory behind it was kill the weeds so they didn't spread seeds, and get all the nutrients and mass I could back into that serious caliche soil I had.
 
eric fisher
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Good to know about the ash, it’s just usually a resource I have a lot of in winter because stove fires.  Weeds usually include, at least in the batch of tea I’m referring to, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, foxtails, etc.

 -- You have some potent stuff in this list.

You gave me a lot to think about here Dillon so I slept on it, and then there is the time zone differential. Anyone reading this and posting on here, be rest assured I will get to you.

You have already told me that you feel your mix does feed your plants and you notice a positive response so I expect the feeding aspect is positive. If you want to enhance things further consider the nutrient balance and what essential and beneficial elements are available to your plants.  For the sake of brevity I won’t go into  the ‘law of the minimum’  and essentiality here which you may already be well aware of.

Don’t think you have to worry  much regarding phytotoxins since you leave it in the 3-4 months and these are usually prevalent in fresher organic matter.

I am rather nervous regarding your use of the ash (Potassium Hydroxide), it has a very high pH of up to 14 ! ; which is very extreme. On a plus side it is likely to nuke any pathogens around because most of them are neutrophils.  On the minus side it’s going to nuke almost every other living organism too.  When you put your solution/mulch on the land the earthworms may want to avoid it, which is not something you want.  I gather you have laid down a lot of ash. I would be inclined to do a soil pH test and test your solution as a matter of urgency.

I would also be inclined to use the ash as a separate amendment and add seaweed instead in your bucket which is high is potassium, traces, growth hormones and is more gentle.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is  high in calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron.

Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliate) is an interesting one. It is high iron and high in oxalates  which have pesticidal properties like rhubarb leaves.

Regarding foxtails present in varied grasses be careful with this stuff. It is toxic to dogs, horses and an irritant to humans. The inflorescences and spikelets can enter the body via the nose and ears and is high in oxalates like miner’s lettuce.

Hope that helps. Just for the sake interest I have included a spikelet pic below.
Hordeum_murinum_spikelet_cluster-SEM.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hordeum_murinum_spikelet_cluster-SEM.jpg]
 
Dillon Langer
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eric fisher wrote:

Good to know about the ash, it’s just usually a resource I have a lot of in winter because stove fires.  Weeds usually include, at least in the batch of tea I’m referring to, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, foxtails, etc.

 -- You have some potent stuff in this list.

You gave me a lot to think about here Dillon so I slept on it, and then there is the time zone differential. Anyone reading this and posting on here, be rest assured I will get to you.

You have already told me that you feel your mix does feed your plants and you notice a positive response so I expect the feeding aspect is positive. If you want to enhance things further consider the nutrient balance and what essential and beneficial elements are available to your plants.  For the sake of brevity I won’t go into  the ‘law of the minimum’  and essentiality here which you may already be well aware of.

Don’t think you have to worry  much regarding phytotoxins since you leave it in the 3-4 months and these are usually prevalent in fresher organic matter.

I am rather nervous regarding your use of the ash (Potassium Hydroxide), it has a very high pH of up to 14 ! ; which is very extreme. On a plus side it is likely to nuke any pathogens around because most of them are neutrophils.  On the minus side it’s going to nuke almost every other living organism too.  When you put your solution/mulch on the land the earthworms may want to avoid it, which is not something you want.  I gather you have laid down a lot of ash. I would be inclined to do a soil pH test and test your solution as a matter of urgency.

I would also be inclined to use the ash as a separate amendment and add seaweed instead in your bucket which is high is potassium, traces, growth hormones and is more gentle.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is  high in calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron.

Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliate) is an interesting one. It is high iron and high in oxalates  which have pesticidal properties like rhubarb leaves.

Regarding foxtails present in varied grasses be careful with this stuff. It is toxic to dogs, horses and an irritant to humans. The inflorescences and spikelets can enter the body via the nose and ears and is high in oxalates like miner’s lettuce.

Hope that helps. Just for the sake interest I have included a spikelet pic below.




Well crap, I haven’t killed anything yet.  I don’t use all the ash I’ve created from fires too or I surely would have nuked everything by now.  You’re damn right foxtails are an irritant when the seed matures and gets stuck in all your socks.  And that’s good to know about miner’s lettuce.  I usually accredit my lack of serious pest issues to neglecting to weed or separate plants into neat rows so that it all becomes just patches of veggies amongst grasses.  (I like to tell myself I’m breeding for neglect surviving plants with my passive, borderline lazy ways.  Hence my highly unscientific teas.)

Anyways, thanks for the help Eric.  Much appreciated.
 
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Not knowing anything about compost tea, I just soaked my empty compost bags in a repurposed  livestock water bowl, one of the black rubber kinds. Added water and left it. Pulled out the bags one day when I thought about it and left it again. This week I was doing something nearby and heard a "ploip" sound. And yes, there is a toad hiding in the compost tea presumably eating mosquitoes. I suppose the toad is technically aerating the tea. But I suppose my point is that sometimes a combination of laziness and forgetfulness can lead to something useful. At least for the toad.
 
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