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10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
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Compost Tea Newbie

 
gardener
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Here I go.  I have everything I need.  Set it up, last night about 5pm, time will tell how I did.  I'm definitely going to buy a different air hose.  The kit I bought came with the hose, but it is super soft and flimsy, not going to work long, and doesn't like to stay in the suction cup things I bought to keep the hose on the bottom. I decided to skip the air stones because our water is well water, good because no chlorine, but bad because it is very hard.  I would have to replace the stones constantly.  I may have to buy the paint strainer bags after all.  After about 17 hours the water still looks very lite, only a small difference from when I started.  I do have some screen that my husband bought the has a tight weave to keep mosquito's out, so I think I will make a bag with this and put it in today and see if that does the job.  If not, well back to amazon. I would love to hear any comments or wisdom you would like to share.  Thanks.
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Congratulations on your first brew Jen! That does look extremely light, can you provide us what you put in the bag? And did you add any liquid of any kind (besides water)?
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I put about a cup of organic compost, a cup of worm castings, and about 1/4 cup Down to Earth Bio-Live and 1/4 cup azomite. (As I was dumping the azomite in I remembered reading that azomite is not useful in compost tea.) Oh well, it shouldn't hurt even if it won't help. That's it.  I wanted to keep it simple.  I was going to add some liquid fish/kelp organic fertilizer, but I was out, and can't find the one I been using. Another brand I found also had molasses in it. I didn't get it because I have read molasses can be tricky to use in compost tea.  I filled the bucket with only water.  
Maybe  I don't have enough volume in the bag, but it still seems like it should be darker than it is.  I still think it's the bag.  Like I said I'm new at this so I could be wrong.  
Last year I just put compost and or worm castings in a bucket, gave it a good stir and used it right away.  I was hoping brewing compost tea would be better.  Thank you.
 
s. lowe
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Well, first of all, in my experience I found azomite to produce a reaction in compost tea that indicated to me that it was useful (there was more foam, it formed earlier, and the finished liquid was more opaque than the same recipe brewed without aconite. But we never scoped anything and those attributes are very inaccurate correlaries for tea quality) so if you've got it a bit can't hurt. I also use about 1/3 cup (I measure my dry tea ingredients by "handfulls", azomite is a pretty light handful in my recipe) so you could probably use less.

Other than that, are you watering it into the soil or applying  it with a sprayer? If you're just watering in you could consider forgoing the bags all together. My understanding is that they're primarily to make it easier to clean up and to keep sprayers from clogging so much. Your bags do look like a tighter weave than mine but i know people who use old socks so I don't think the bag is really trapping anything.

I do think that you will get more out of your tea by adding something for the microbes to eat while in the tea. This could be liquid or powdered fish, kelp, or alfalfa meal (that could go in your bag). This does make me.curious what.color the water would be if I didn't add any liquids and just had the  compost and worm castings in a bag. Maybe I'll try that later this summer.

I have to.admit, me and my garden have been living it up with no compost tea since I inherited the remnants of samples of a friend who.had been an organic fertilizer rep and moved away.  Got lots of.little progress earth packets, sample bottles from ABC organics, fish, kelp, humic acid, all the goodies. But if it stays sunny this week I'll make a little batch of tea with no liquid stuff and see if that color is far off from what I get
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thank you very much. I switched to the mesh bag and the tea became dark.  I did notice the air hose on top of the water. I moved it back to the bottom of the bucket.  The tea has a aquarium type smell, not bad, but not what I expected it to smell like.  
I intend to apply the tea to the soil around the veggies.
What do you use to make compost tea?  
Thank you for letting me know about using azomite.  I know I read somewhere that it wasn't useful for compost tea. It's one of the things that make it challenging, there is so much conflicting information on what you should or shouldn't do. I just figured I would start simple, and play around with the recipe.  
Another confusing thing is how much to dilute the tea once it is done.  Appreciate your help thank you.
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s. lowe
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I think your approach of 'start simple and see what works' is a great way to go.

I have been told by people that you can dilute tea by up to 20:1, that is the model that the farm that I work for uses. When I make tea at home for the garden I water it full strength onto wet soil, meaning if it hasn't rained for a week or two (i live on the coast, we get rain more regularly than you all do inland) I water from the spigot before I apply the tea to ensure that the microbeasties have a good home to get delivered to.

It definitely helps to have the aeration at the bottom, You can just zip tie a nut or bolt or something to the end of your hose to keep it down. or use a produce twisty or something.

I can give you my loose recipe that I use, I brew tea in a 55 gallon drum with usually around 40 gallons of liquid in it

In the bag;
2-3 handfulls of compost
2-3 handfulls of worm castings
1 handfull of alfalfa meal
1 handful of bokashi
small handful of insect frass
big pinch of azomite/greensand

In the water;
about a pint of liquid fish (I actually prefer brands that have a diversity of sea life, you can probably find Pacific Gro near you and their good. crab, squid, shrimp, etc.. definitely seems to add to the finished product)
an ounce or so of humic acid (i inherited like 2 gallons of Anasazi Gold from a friend, I'm not at all positive I will ever buy more of this when it eventually runs out but I know that humic acid is used by commercial organic famers and I have it so...)
3-4 oz of SeaCrop - this is a sea water concentrate made on the olympic peninsula. I put it in my water and am generally convinced that it's amazing for supplying trace minerals. It can definitely replace azomite/greensand and there are other sea mineral             concentrates you could use as well but I'm a bit of a fan boy of this one and the creator, Art Ziegler, wrote a great book called Seawater Concentrate in Abundant Agriculture where he goes into the benefits of sea minerals and talks about and tests other brands besides his own.
a cup or so of soluble kelp powder or 12 oz of liquid kelp

depending on the weather I brew this for 18-36 hours (longer in the spring/fall, shorter in the summer) and then water it in
These things are all in the recipe that the farm on work on uses and my measurements are all based on easier ways for me to remember the recipe. I don't think that everything in there is 100% necessary and at home I just use what is on hand. I will actually buy quality compost, insect frass, liquid fish, sea crop, and kelp. Otherwise I depend on kickdowns, 'expired' items from my work, and random late season sales at the garden store. I make bokashi sometimes and buy it sometimes because it is central to my home composting efforts.

For a 5 gallon bucket I would say use about 20% of the amounts in that recipe as a baseline and experiment a bit. Rich forest soil can replace the compost for sure.
 
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Jen, great job getting started.  I agree with s. lowe's advice.  My method is 1-2 quarts of worm compost and 1-2 bunches of chopped accumulators (comfrey, dandelion, dock, nettles) loose, into a 5 gallon bucket of fish pond or rain water.
My pump is oversized and the airlines are weighted.  If I'm having coffee at home, I run a second batch of water through the grounds.  This goes into the tea after it cools.
My tea is more of a stew so if I'm spraying, I strain it 2 or 3 times.  The worms get the dregs.  If I'm hand watering, it goes on chunky.
A 'bad' or weak batch of my tea is still way better than our city water and a good batch almost makes things grow before your eyes.
As a rule - no, guideline - I try not to spend money managing my composting.  So I don't buy ingredients for my tea - not judging those who do
Have fun and figure out what works best for you and the plants you love.
 
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I have this bag for my compost tea, which I like a lot. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JWAK33S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KRTHC04DS2V5HNYMBT6H?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I mostly put my tea’s through a Venturi valve on my irrigation system. I just use worm castings from my worm farms, nothing else besides added carbs (of whatever form I happen to have). My batches tend to have no smell for first few days besides the vague earthy smell of the castings, but the longer I let them go the more they smell yeasty and like aged cheese.  Not a bad smell persay but it gets stronger.  Anyone else? I think there’s a correlation to a stronger smell the more carbs I add to the batch.  
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10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
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