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Should we use a microscpe with school's compost tea?

 
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Hi Eric,

Thank you for all of your support in our compost tea adventures! I love the seed ball idea. I work at a school garden and we have been making tea for our garden for about the past 6 months. The students have a lot of fun making and applying it. I am wondering about our recipe for a 5 gallon bucket of aerated tea and if you would recommend adding anything or simplifying it. We currently do 4-6 cups of compost from a local composter, 1-2 cups of our own worm castings, 1 tsp of a kelp/humic acid mix, 2 oz molasses, 2 oz fish fertilizer, rain water, and we use a tea lab bubbler. The tea looks good and smells sweet, has foam on top... but other than those observations I am not sure how much benefit our tea is having on our plants. Do you recommend checking the tea under a microscope throughout the brewing process?

Also, we have been brewing our teas in the greenhouse, which significantly varies in temp. from day to night since we are in the mountain west. Would you recommend not brewing it in a space where the temp fluctuates 20 to 30 degrees between day and night?

Thank you!
 
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Do you recommend checking the tea under a microscope throughout the brewing process?

Also, we have been brewing our teas in the greenhouse, which significantly varies in temp. from day to night since we are in the mountain west. Would you recommend not brewing it in a space where the temp fluctuates 20 to 30 degrees between day and night?



Hi Taylor,

Your set up sounds pretty good. You don't mention how long you do runs in the bubbler. I would recommend around three days because it allows larger and important microorganisms such as protozoa to develop. If you are in the greenhouse try and rig up some way to get a bit of shade because many microorganisms may get nuked with the UV light. 20-30 degrees centigrade is fine but I would recommend that just before you apply it that  you let it cool down to the temperature outside and not in direct sunshine if its a foliar application.

I do recommend you use a microscope because it is a great educational opportunity although you can make very good compost tea without one. The microscope gives you the direct insight that helps you tweak things and is a great diagnostic tool. Can I suggest you check out my free download on here because there is rather a lot of discussion regarding this matter. The classic example is spotting too many ciliates which is an indication of anaerobic conditions which should be avoided with this system. The kids can watch videos on YouTube of the different microorganism then spot them under the microscope. I would also recommend you start making your own compost with all your little helpers it would be easy to set something up.

I am glad you picked up on the seed ball thing. You can use the compost tea in the seed balls.  I run workshops doing seed balls from time to time and the kids love it, but it is a touch messy.



 
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