She has some good ideas about how to get animals to spread hay inoculated with compost tea. Near the end she talks about spraying animals with compost tea to prevent parasites? Anyone have any experience with this or willing to try it out for themselves?
With my connection speed it will take 12 hours to download that movie.
I've produced and used compost and worm casting tea extensively. I'll swear by the stuff. While spraying crops it is not uncommon for me to soak my shoes. It would seem the stuff is harmless to humans.
Spraying animals? Never considered that. Good tea is aerobically produced. The aerobic bacteria are promoted-the tea will become saturated with them. The primary purpose is to inoculate the soil and plants. On the plants the microbes served to displace harmful microbes. While it makes sense that it would do the same when sprayed on livestock, I'm not able to confirm or refute it as a beneficial practice. All I have for livestock is a few chickens, they get grumpy if I spray them or I would try it out for sure. This Dr Ingham is credentialled, check into it.
As for spraying the hay... The tea serves the soil by increasing the microbial diversity with beneficial microbes. A few gallons fits on my back, can be applied directly and specifically over a fair area in a reasonable time: 4 gallons, about 1000 sqft, about 20 minutes. Once inoculated, I'm pretty much done with that area. Treating that area again is not needed. A worst case would be a brush fire, but even that would not destroy all the soil life, it would actually promote regrowth of the microbes I put in. If lots of hay were to be added to a compost heap, spraying the hay with tea would promote rapid decomposition.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
Ah, thanks. I'd heard about using a T shirt but I think I'd rather try the towel idea. I was always too scared of clogging up my sprayer to chance it so its nice to hear that the towel actually works for you. Now I can add this to my arsenal.
An excellent video. I would not have thought to use the animals that way to rejuvenate an area of land. Pretty neat.
I know that compost tea is actually beneficial to humans. On one video.... have watched so many so forget where... one guy described how he had a serious skin condition that no medical help had been able to resolve for him .... and as he handled and sprayed the compost tea on the land he started noticing within few days how this condition healed itself.
Another local case I know of is a Chicken Farmer who really had a problem with disease in his commercial houses. His wife said that the smell sometimes coming into the house on the wind was seriously unpleasant. He was introduced to EMs (Efficient Microbes.... those that grow in compost tea) and started using it in one his commerical houses... he sprayed the deep litter and also put it into the drinking water of the birds. His medical bill for that hen house fell to nil. He now uses it throughout and saves himself an enormous amount of money every month now in not having to buy in anti-biotics.
What is sold in the name of food .... sometimes. Sick birds propped up with anti-biotics long enough to bring them to slaughter. Yuck.
Life thrives in complexity. Modern agriculture has made great strides towards simplifying the process of growing crops but fails to account for complexity in nature. Fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides are generously administered to monocrops but the soil microbes are destroyed. While the plants may grow, the soil is dead. The only way to continue crop production is to add more chemicals.
In rich, healthy soil, microbes thrive with incredible diversity. Some microbes chelate plant nutrients, some send out filaments holding soil together, some create oxygen, and here and there are some less desirable germs. The key aspect is that they balance themselves.
In nature, things are in balance. Harmful insects are kept in check by natural predators. Mowing down a vast area for a monocrop will wipe out pests, but it will also wipe out predators. This gives the pests an advantage while populations reestablish. Planting vast areas of a single crop year after year depletes the soil of specific nutrients and offers advantage to pests where they are able to propagate to destructive populations. The only way to counter these effects is to add more chemicals.
I was talking with a senior executive at a phosphate mine about fertilizer and organic methods. His view is that phosphorus is a natural fertilizer. My view was that it has been concentrated to the point that it is destructive to the soil microbes, upsetting the balance of life, giving the undesirable microbes an advantage. The answer the guy proposed was to add more/different fertilizers/sprays/chemicals to make up for the imbalance. The guy just did not understand. The balance is already there.
Croplands have been abused for decades. Even where chemicals were not used, the bareness of the soil exposes the microbes to damaging UV radiation, altering the balance. Aerobically produced compost tea adds complexity, via the diverse microbe species within it, which is critical to healthy soil.
Healthy soil produces healthy plants. Bugs are lazy, weak and opportunistic. They prey on weak, sick, and damaged plants. Offer a bug a healthy robust plant, it will look for an easy meal elsewhere. The same with plant diseases. A weak plant will succumb to a wilt or blight long before a healthy plant. A diverse bacterial soup reduces the opportunity for plant diseases to gain a foothold where it becomes a crop destroying problem.
Compost tea is a step in the right direction, but its only a piece of the puzzle. Polyculture, crop rotation, companion planting, fallowing and inclusion of various microclimates all contribute to increased complexity of the greater environment.
There are monocrops where bees have to be brought in to pollinate the crop. With all other life extinguished, there is a limited window for bees to gather the resources needed for their survival. Monocrops wipe out bees-they wonder why the bee population is crashing. By growing a great variety of crops, there is always something in bloom-the bees thrive.
Everything has a job to do. The microbes, grasses, compost and manure, legumes, toads, worms, bees, birds, poisonous plants, deep mulch, morning dew, even weeds-all contribute to the richness and diversity of a healthy environment.
Compost tea is barely understood. Exactly how it works and what it does is only now being studied by agriculture scientists. I can tell you without the studies how it works and what it does. It increases the complexity and interaction of life in the soil and on every surface to which it is applied.
In humans and livestock, a healthy body creates a wide array of antibodies as a wide array of germs tries to infiltrate their systems. The only way a body can develop these antibodies is to be exposed to them in amounts that are small enough to be defeated before sickness can set in. Compost tea would be an outstanding source of exposure.
Compost tea helps build healthy soil. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants and animals which leads to healthy immune systems which leads to healthy people.
Of all the articles and papers I've read on compost tea, I've not yet seen anything negative. Perhaps Monsanto will pay a scientist to write something.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
My position on the compost tea is that it is a really good organic solution, but not a permaculture solution.
If there was a plant (or area of plants) not doing well, the organic approach would be to figure out the problem and then add amendments or other things to try and make things healthy. The permaculture approach would be to take the same information and think about how to help nature resolve the problem - usually by adding some form of diversity.
In general I think that the compost tea takes more effort than it is worth. I think that if you are working in a small space and this is a hobby, then it is certainly interesting and worthwhile. I can also think of lots of situations where compost tea will do almost nothing, but it is those same situations where people are out there spraying willy nilly. For example, a soil that is more like a gravelly dirt with hardly anything growing there. The spray will make the plants happier for a short time, but then they will just go back to being miserable.
I visit with Helen Atthowe, goddess of the soil and longtime Missoula County Horticultural Extension Agent. We start off talking about compost. She is the most advanced composter I know. And we talk about how composting doesn't have to be as difficult as people make it out.
We also talk about compost tea. Especially when it is of value and when it is not.
I played the podcast, found it a good investment of time. Now I have to find the time for all the other podcasts. Thanks a lot!
What I picked up on was a description of evolution by Atthowe over many years of effort. Evolution in the garden, evolution of her compost methods, evolution of the soil, evolution of her spirit.
We are all at different stages of development in our endeavors. To some of us, composting is second nature, more of a reflex than a conscious effort. Some have never built a compost heap. Others have moved on to hugulkulture. I am reminded of Jonathan Livingston Seagull: There is always a higher level to be achieved if you have the drive to keep trying.
To some folks, compost tea is an advanced step in soil conditioning. To others, compost tea is a fundamental early step. There are people who no longer use it as their soil in a high condition. I'm right around the middle. In my opinion its use is essential in establishing the microbial diversity in abused soils. Once established, continued treatment is effective against disease and insects. In time, as the ecology of the soil improves, healthier plants will be resistant to disease and insects, reducing the need for treatment.
Consider the notion that organic gardening is a precursor to permaculture. It may not be the only path to that end, but the methods are understandable and easily duplicated. Start small and simple, take the next step, keep on going.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
I would love to see Helen take a few steps backwards in her evolution. Back to her days as a County Extension Agent. I would love to see her give seminars to the other Extension agents, to educate them that BayerAg and Monsanto type companies are NOT the future in profitable farming. The lessons that she has learned along her evolutionary path need to be taught to those who are charged with providing advice to inquisitive farmers throughout all of America's counties. Just MHO. I wish her well whatever path she chooses to follow. Kudos!
Tomorrow is the first day of the new metric calendar. Comfort me tiny ad:
1st edition of Living Wood Magazine--Now free for a while