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Large DIY compost tea brewer -- please share your suggestions or resources for building one

 
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Does anyone have suggestions or resources for building a brewer in the 100-200 gallon range?  We have a broad acre property that we manage and I would like to start incorporating compost teas into our pasture ground.  Thanks
 
gardener
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For such a large tank you probably would need to use a stainless steel or Cross linked poly tank. The poly tanks I've been able to find locally are flat bottomed but you can get a cylinder with a conical bottom all mounted on legs.
Then you also need the tank to have an inlet port that would swirl the liquid via pump which would work very near perfect for making aerated teas. and the exit valve is at the bottom of the tank for complete discharge by gravity.

This is a good company to start your search with conical bottom tanks
 
pioneer
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The most cost effective way would probably be using food grade plastic 55 gal drums.  I can get them from the brewery here for $5 each and you can scale up just by adding barrels.
 
gardener
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I'm not sure if swirling is required,  but I've had  a pump set up to a lawn irrigation head that works great.
I only took it down to make it over into a three headed,  three barrel version..
For "dirty" water that might clog sprinklers,  an airlift could work:


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airlift_pump

 
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Hello All! Long time reader, first post!

We are growing a 10 acre permaculture farm on the Azuero peninsula Panama. We have restored (are still restoring) degraded cattle hillside into a tropical food forest, growing just about every fruit and forage we can get our hands on. My compost needs are vast, so Ive been brewing compost teas to try to maximize my added soil amendments and stretch nutrients for the whole farm.

Im interested in feedback about how to improve my system -- here's what I usually do (photo attached):

I have about a 300 gallon duck pond with a fish pump air compressor bubbling air thru pvc from the bottom of the pond up. I put about 3 gallons worth of worm compost in a "tea bag" made from shade cloth. I put probably 10 gallons worth of chopped fresh greens from a nitrogen fixer usually Balo, or Moringa in another tea bag. I add about 10 lbs of sugar, stir, and then let it bubble continuously until I start to see a lot of foam and bubbles , usually about 2 days at 85 degree temperatures. If we've recently harvested animals, the fresh blood goes in there as well.  I have the pond setup to drain into a spigot, connect my hose, and spray directly onto the soil of the chosen plants, usually not diluting.  

What could I be doing to better my system? Thanks in advance!
20190724_082527.jpg
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Compost tea brewer
 
Bryant RedHawk
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William Bronson wrote:I'm not sure if swirling is required,  but I've had  a pump set up to a lawn irrigation head that works great.
I only took it down to make it over into a three headed,  three barrel version..
For "dirty" water that might clog sprinklers,  an airlift could work:


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airlift_pump



Swirling isn't a requirement but it does introduce some new theory that is resulting in some surprising results but the jury is still out on that and most likely will be for several more years.

The idea behind the "vortex" theory is that within such a swirling action water molecules with pickup extra electrical charge (ionize) then disperse that extra charge resulting in some molecules ending up with an extra O or an extra H atom attached.
This has been shown in the laboratory setting but it only last literally nano seconds then everything is back to normal.
So nothing is lasting long enough to really matter, or is their some extraordinary thing going on in such manipulation, that is the question still to be answered.

I have done around 20 experiments so far with this idea and still don't have any conclusive data, one way or the other.
The one thing I can say is that using a vortex for brewing compost teas does show an increase in the bacteria, fungi, amoeba, flagellate and springtail counts over a static stirring method.
The reasons for this increase are from better oxygenation of the water and better suspension of the molasses and other components into the solution caused by the constant movement of the solution.

Redhawk
 
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Dave Dahlsrud wrote:Does anyone have suggestions or resources for building a brewer in the 100-200 gallon range?  We have a broad acre property that we manage and I would like to start incorporating compost teas into our pasture ground.  Thanks



A few disused bath tubs, which are about 80 gallons or so each, should suffice. They could be: connected in sequence via some creative piping, in different stages of brewing, or with different brews, etc.

 
William Bronson
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Very interesting, Dr.RedHawk
I love you approach to such things.
It occurs to me that swirling matches the movement one would find in streams better than most other stirring methods.
What constitutions "static stirring" by the way?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau William, I term static stirring as stirring such as in a pot of soup, where you stir for a short time then walk away or at least let the motion of the liquid cease.
A vortex can be formed but I've found through my experiments that if you start and stop a vortex, the resulting numbers of organisms is far less than if you have a constant vortex going.

It has been likened to a river that forms a vortex from the actual shape of the river bed rather than from the confluence of water currents within the river by some of the others working on this project.

There are studies on water flow through pipes that are showing new areas that will create vortexes at pipe connections particularly at 4 way junctions. This is important for high rise buildings so the possibility of blow outs can be reduced or prevented all together.
 
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:There are studies on water flow through pipes that are showing new areas that will create vortexes at pipe connections particularly at 4 way junctions. This is important for high rise buildings so the possibility of blow outs can be reduced or prevented all together.



I'm intrigued by this... Is the intent to create or avoid the vortex? (I'm guessing to create) and introduce a new shape to replace the standard 4-way junction? I'm imagining that a blow-out occurs when (these are drain pipes?) many pipes are combining flows at once, and there is a back-up/build-up of pressure to the point of failure?
And the vortex solves this? Maybe by keeping an air channel open for venting? (sort of like how you can swirl an upside-down bottle of fluid and have it pour out quickly rather than glug, glug, glug it's way out.)

There's a few designs for airlift vortex brewers that use a 4-way (turned into a 5-way or even 6-way) so as to have 4 airlift tubes issuing from the bottom of the tank. I could imagine a fitting with spiral arms might be more efficient than a standard 90 degree fitting. Something inspired by hydro-electric turbines even? Now that 3D printing is so available, I'm sure it could be made inexpensively.
 
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In my area there are a lot of old feed silos with conical bottoms that would be easy to retrofit for water/tea.
Farmers and ranchers here barely use them anymore, many would be glad to get rid of them for very little money if not free.
 
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How about an old dairy tank ? Ought to be some floating around with the loss of small dairy’s anymore
 
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I can recommend Tim Wilson's discussion of building a compost tea brewer: http://microbeorganics.com/#So_You_Wanna_Build_A_Compost_Tea_Brewer
He also sells plans for a 50 gallon brewer, that can be sized/volumed up by choosing a different pipe size: http://microbeorganics.com/#Plans_For_50_gallon_airlift_ACT_Maker

You mentioned that you want to use compost tea for your pasture. If you dilute the brewed tea 1:2 or 1:3 with water, you catch two birds with one stone. Firstly, will have a greater chance that the microbes will reach the grass rhizosphere (especially in the dry season). Secondly, you can use a smaller brewer, or make 2 smaller ones and thus have some redundancy.

I bought Tim's plans for his Mini-Microbulator and I am very happy with it.

Edit: fixed typo
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Thanks for all the info and suggestions guys, this should really help out!!!  So I have a bit of a follow up..... I've got a line on a 220gallon conical bottom mixing tank for cheap, the hitch is that it was used to mix herbicides on a commercial farm.  I've heard that you can rinse the tanks with hydrogen peroxide solution several times and it will neutralize the toxic elements and make the tank useful again.  Has anyone heard or done this with success or should I just keep looking?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The hydrogen peroxide rinse is a minimum of 3 times, in your case I think the prudent thing to do would be 4 to 5 rinses. Be certain to not miss any spots.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Thanks Doc!  I'm glad to hear that this technique is t least somewhat valid, that really opens up quite a few more doors and seems like a great way to repurpose what otherwise would be a waisted resource for many folks as they transition away from toxic chemical agg!!!  Thanks again!
 
pollinator
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Here is a vortex compost tea brwer build I did early last year. Works good.  You can scale up.
20180304_105213.jpg
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Adriaan van Roosmalen
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Dave Dahlsrud wrote:[snip]
I've got a line on a 220gallon conical bottom mixing tank for cheap.
[snip]


According to Tim J. Wilson you would need an air pump that can deliver:

  • Minimum of 220 x 0.05 CFM = 11 CFM (Cubic Foot per Minute). This is equivalent to 82.3 US gallons per minute or 311.5 liter per minute
  • Optimum of 220 x 0.08 CFM = 17.6 CFM  ( 131.7 US liquid gallons per minute or 498.4 liter per minute)


  • Converter used:
    http://www.kylesconverter.com/flow/cubic-feet-per-minute-to-gallons-%28us-fluid%29-per-minute and http://www.kylesconverter.com/flow/cubic-feet-per-minute-to-liters-per-minute
     
    pollinator
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    I like the technology behind making Highy Oxygenated Bacterial Mineral Water.

    Use an air pump to lift water to where it will vortex and/or cascade onto mineral rich stones.



     
    Adriaan van Roosmalen
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    I brew compost tea with a Mini-Microbulator that I built using a plan that I bought from Tim J. Wilson's. A video demonstrating it:  


    A video of the 50 gallon version:


    But I also use the much more simpler procedure to create Jadam Microorganism Solution (JMS), that has to be diluted 10x before using. For JMS  you don't need a pump and very little ingredients. See http://en.jadam.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=8350
     
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    A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
    http://woodheat.net
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