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Actively Aerated Compost Tea (recipes? Uses?) Plus some direct questions!

 
pollinator
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Location: Sierra Nevada Foothills, Zone 7b
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Hello Permies!

So I just completed my first Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) brew. I spread it all around. In my garden, in my wife's flower beds, poured some on a pile of cold compost, made some very dirty martinis-you get the point.

After having done so I REALLY got into what AACT is and how to tailor it. I thought it might be cool (and informative, really just informative) if people were to share their tea recipes, their intentions as to what the tea is to do, and results. I think it would be beneficial to all if we had a thread to compile whose doing what with which variety of AACT.

I also have a couple quick questions.

If I wanted to revitalize bare soil, I would want a fungal-dominant tea, correct?

How do you feel about AACT as a biochar "charging" agent?

Does it make any sense to wet a worm bin with tea made from castings from the same bin? I think my worm population could use a little push.

Thankis a million!

-Dan

Oh, I almost forgot my brew was: 25 Gallons, 10 cups worm casting + 2 Tablespoons Molasses and 2 Tablespoons liquid kelp. Brewed for 22 hours.

 
Dan Fish
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Wow Dan, a very well though out post you got there. I bet people would be well informed by any answers you receive. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable comes along soon to help! Good luck!!!
 
Posts: 49
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Hi Dan,

I make up lots of AACT’s and what I have found is the teas are only as good as the base compost used.

This means good compost will make up a good tea – Rubbish in rubbish out.

I have a microscope so I am always checking soil and composts to see what they are really made up of.
Unfortunately a lot of compost and soil amendments have no life in them.

I make up teas from worm castings, IMO (Indigenous microorganisms – Korean Natural Farming), and good composts or a mixture of them.

Take note,  to ensure you have enough aeration, a small fish pump normally won’t do.
I have found running the process  for 36 hours works the best.

To answer your questions –

To revitalize bare soil, I would first feed the soil a dressing of compost, wood chips, and then mulch.  Once done you can then apply the tea.
( You need to ensure the microbes have a food source to start with.)

AACT as a biochar charging agent would be great but then use the biochar straight away and as said above make sure they have a food source.

Apply the worm bin with tea from casting made from the same bin will not harm, but you could also use teas make from other sources which may
increase the diversity of the microbial life in the bin.

I hope that helps.

Cheers
Anthony


 
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Location: Brownsboro, AL, United States
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As Anthony said, "rubbish in, rubbish out", is paramount for the compost. For soil rehab,  "typically",  you need very fungally dominant tea. Typically. However,  as Dr.  Ingham stresses time and again, you MUST test first to assess baseline soil conditions. Without it you're only guessing.

Worm casting tea isn't going to be terribly fungal. Best to produce GOOD compost tailored for fungal production, then take enough out for a couple, or more tea batches and mix in good fungal foods, I like oats, and add humic acid. Then let it have a few days to get "fuzzy" with mycelia, then brew.

Ensure your brewer doesn't have sharp corners which will become stagnant, and NEVER use an air stone,  as they will contaminate and are uncleanable. The surface disturbance is what oxygenates the brew,  requiring sufficient air and large bubbles. Dr. Ingham suggested a MINIMUM of about 2 - 3 cfm for a 200 hal brew. I'm concerned that would be in an IDEAL vessel. As I'm not wealthy I use an Ecoair 7 air pump (about $100 @ Amazon), 3566 gal/hr (7.95 cfm) @ 6.96psi which is 22.9 ft-water,  works great in 55 gal plastic drum batch.  I plan to add another when scaling up to a tote.

Large populations of beneficials with few detrimentals can not be over stressed. Apply your tea, then Carbonaceous mulch, and / or spray the mulch. Your goal is inoculation and ensuring available food. And protection from sun and wind, etc.

Good luck, if I can help, or you need testing, DM me.
 
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Good thread Dan. I would differ a little from the previous posts but not greatly. Mainly i wouldn’t be to stressed about it all. Air stones can work fine, but are not ideal long term due to the clogging potential mentioned above. Good compost, good water, lots of air, and microbe food and you will be fine. I even add weeds, yarrow, comfrey, horsetail or other dynamic accumulators to my teas for their chelation and nutrients. If it smells good, it’s good tea in my experience. I would agree about mulching before applying the tea, as the mulch will become inoculated and provide food and shelter for the soil microbes. I also inoculate my woodchip piles before spreading if I can. I would also think that a bacteria rich worm tea would be a good start, as the is would create a food base for future fungal dominant teas. I like to use duff and decomposing wood from old growth forests nearby for my fungal inoculant. If possible, I also base it all on fish or duck pond water for nutrients and microbes abound in it. It is hard to go wrong with an oxygen rich environment with diverse biota and nutrients (and you don’t need much of any one thing, just a little of everything).
 
Dan Fish
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Wow thanks everybody. Almost too much good stuff to respond to. But I'll try!

Anthony, when you say use the biochar right away how long would you let it soak? I feel like I am seeing conflicting methods here, at least with the "traditional" use of each half of the formula. I'm trying to say that biochar is usually soaked for a few days or placed in contact with compost for weeks but AACT is recommended to be used immediately after the pump is shut off. Also, what kind of microscope would be the cheapest I could get away with?

J.L. Thanks for the info and the offers to help! I have not tested the soil I want to rehab. I know it is probably close to as poor, biologically, as concrete. It is a former hydraulic mine (light tan clay and river rock, no grasses, very few manzanita) so I figure anything will be a step in the right direction. When I get more money I would like to get it tested though. Also, I will attempt to create a fuzzy tea bag very soon.

Ben, I am very intrigued by your idea to use rotting wood and duff from the forest as a fungal component. As of now I feel like my weak point is my compost. I have a pretty lame compost pile since I can't seem to keep the bears out. Hence why I have been using the worm bin.

Y'all are SAINTS!!!

-Dan
 
Anthony Saber
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Dan Fish wrote:Wow thanks everybody. Almost too much good stuff to respond to. But I'll try!

Anthony, when you say use the biochar right away how long would you let it soak? I feel like I am seeing conflicting methods here, at least with the "traditional" use of each half of the formula. I'm trying to say that biochar is usually soaked for a few days or placed in contact with compost for weeks but AACT is recommended to be used immediately after the pump is shut off. Also, what kind of microscope would be the cheapest I could get away with?


-Dan



Hi Dan, You don't need a very expensive microscope I have the Amscope Microscope which does the job.
You are looking at spending $200 to $300 but shop around.

A microscope will change the way you look at soil, composts and teas.

I would let it soak for an hour or so longer is OK too. Make sure the BioChar is totally covered. I like to make up the soak from worm castings to ensure all the microbes will be present.
The BioChar needs to have a coating of the soak. I also pore in the remainder of the soak into the soil.
 
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