I have been making compost tea for about 20 years, and I followed the original recipe from Elaine Ingham and the yahoogroups compost tea forum. However, a few years ago, my state in all its wisdom decided that to "protect" us, so it is now illegal to sell or buy fish hydrolysate. The experts had always said it's better than the cooked fish meal for the compost tea. I have been just going to the grocery store, buying a small cheap piece of fish, cutting it up, putting it in the blender and adding it to the tea. The good news is it doesn't smell as bad. Do you see any down sides to this in making an effective tea? I mostly do foliar application but some soil drench as well.
…my state in all its wisdom decided that to "protect" us, so it is now illegal to sell or buy fish hydrolysate. The experts had always said it's better than the cooked fish meal for the compost tea. I have been just going to the grocery store, buying a small cheap piece of fish, cutting it up, putting it in the blender and adding it to the tea. The good news is it doesn't smell as bad. Do you see any down sides to this in making an effective tea? I mostly do foliar application but some soil drench as well.
Which fish are you using ? What you mention concerning not cooking the fish I endorse (With one or two caveats below) because it denatures the fish; beneficial organisms tend to prefer the uncooked stuff.
Apologies for my late response, your post got buried in the abundance of questions I enjoyed last week. One or two like yours needed to some extra reflection. In researching my book I was stunned by the blatant stupidity of the regulations and rules that authorities in both the Uk and the USA were wanting to impose. I’m convinced that there is some kind psychological schism that happens to people in institutions, maybe it is just idleness. I don’t understand it but I am incredulous of what it produces. I think in this instance it is part of the obsession in modern society with sanitising and sterilising everything which in many ways flies in the face of the many sophisticated approaches of organic/permaculture growers. (Plagiarising myself) The irony is that studies have shown that people living in overly sterilised environments are often more susceptible to the dangers of certain organisms because their systems are less accustomed to dealing them (pp.119-120).
With this in mind I decided on an international approach and left it to the individual grower what relationship he/she wanted to have with Uncle Sam-Nanny State ; aiming only on crafting amendments that were safe and effective, regardless.
I think at the root of the fish regulation is the concern around the existence in fresh fish of certain worms such as cod worms, seal worms, and tapeworms. Cooking eliminates this concern. HOWEVER freezing also works. So if you are worried about this kind of thing this is also an option.
Because you are doing foliar applications, with safety in mind I would not use any fish that I wouldn’t be happy to use in sushi/sashimi.
Cod worms can be spotted with the naked eye (cod, haddock, pollock, and hake).
Seal Worms can mostly be spotted, with sushi - vinegar fixes it (salmon, mackerel, Pacific rockfish, jacksmelt, some halibut, some flounders, some shad and especially jacksmelt and herring)
Cod and seal worms only cause minor ailments and quickly leave you system. The real baddy is Tapeworm – so stay away from fresh wild trout or largemouth bass.
Now I am going to my own fridge because this talk of fish has been making me hungry, got some nice freshwater Rainbow Trout !
Thanks for the response Eric,
I am not worried about the worms. I don't think that my fruittrees are susceptible to fish parasites. However, I just meant, do you have any guidelines or caveats about using fresh fish in the compost tea instead of hydrolysate?
Thanks for the response Eric,
I am not worried about the worms. I don't think that my fruit trees are susceptible to fish parasites. However, I just meant, do you have any guidelines or caveats about using fresh fish in the compost tea instead of hydrolysate?
It wasn't the trees I was concerned about. Just common sense really don't spray the stuff on the fruit prior to consumption. Best Regards.
PS I don't understand why Natural Farming automagically links to Eric Fisher's book that I haven't bought yet . I don't have that book. I refer to that term as defined in
Regarding book there is a strong element of Natural Farming which I converted from indigenous approaches (IMO-Indigenous Microorganisms Tea) in the Philippines which is very closely related to the approaches in Korea that you mention. I also engaged quite a bit with Masanobu Fukuoka's work regarding no-till and seedballs. I was a bit concerned that the way my 'Compost Teas' book was presented that the readership would just think it was about AACT when in reality, as far as someone can be objective about their own work, it was more holistic looking at a number of different approaches wrapped around good holistic practice with loads of diverse applications. Other approaches included tea for protection and control (had a look at IPM- Integrated Pest Management), traditional approaches (Steeping etc.), IMO as I mentioned and further out on the fringe which included some biodynamics which made the publishers a bit nervous. With this concern in mind I added a few posts emphasising other approaches and I think the clever bots noticed.
Last week I was involved, pretty intensely, with the book promo and I had tinkered around with the boost facilities because I am a geek and I was interested in the nuanced system they have running here. I was only doing boosts for a day or two at a time and I am thinking my hand must have slipped to carry it on a bit longer, so that would explain it. I get the feeling that there are quite a few people in the background here constantly trying out new things and expanding the capabilities of the site. In the context of social media/forums I think it's more interesting to engage with something like that even if it goes wrong occasionally rather than something that is rock solid but a bit bland. Obviously it would not be so good if you were running an exchange.