Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
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Please join me in welcoming Eric Fisher, author of Compost Teas for the Organic Grower



Read the book review here!

Eric Fisher will be hanging out in the forums until July 26th, answering questions and sharing his experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a drawing for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of his book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the Composting forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email.

The winners will be notified by Personal Moosage and must respond within 24 hours. Only the winners who respond within that timeframe will receive their book. Watch for a PM, and a notice in this thread announcing the winners!


Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Eric's name to get his attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.
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pioneer & author
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Cheers Nicole,

I am on the case and look forward to discussing anything composting related or otherwise anything related to the book.

Best Wishes Eric
 
master steward
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Wonderful! I wasn't sure which forum to put your giveaway in, as it fits so well in permaculture, soil, organic growing and also composting. Compost teas are so useful!

What's your favorite method for making them? Are there certain plants that are more useful than others?
 
eric fisher
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Anyone one of those forum choices would have been interesting and appropriate, it all seemed to get sorted out almost automatically.


What's your favourite method for making them? Are there certain plants that are more useful than others?



I am always interested in the connections between things. After trawling through 100's of journals regarding compost teas and composting I noticed something that had fallen through the collective gaze of research studies and so forth. I am thinking that it is something in the nature of research that it can be very narrow down a certain avenue. Often there was just a mention here, a mention there. Combining methods and substances seems to be more effective than just one thing.  Later on in the book I started doing this, so I would do a balanced mix (kelp/nettle/comfrey - maximum essential and beneficial elements for microbes) with the semi-aerobic/aerobic mix.  Then I would set up the bubbler with fresh  homemade compost (to be correct it should be well matured, but I am a touch cavalier) to the mix and various other things I mention.  

My absolute favourite application is to integrate this liquid into seed balls. If you have ever done a seedball workshop with kids they love it, but don't come in your best clothes.
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Day Four (pp.118)
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Day Ten (pp.118)
 
garden master
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Welcome Eric, and thank you for agreeing to answer our compost related questions!  I'm thinking about what I first want to ask you about right now :)
 
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Welcome Eric!
My dad once told me that he'd heard that plants like tea and he started watering the houseplants with left-over Orange Pekoe! It was years before I realized that the advice had lost something in translation and that probably wasn't the original intention. That said, the houseplants didn't seem to mind. Hopefully I'll get lots of good ideas to try while you're here this week.
 
eric fisher
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Welcome Eric, and thank you for agreeing to answer our compost related questions!  I'm thinking about what I first want to ask you about right now :)



Cheers Greg,

I'm delighted to be doing it, it's a great forum. I spent a long... long time running round in circles with the book before it all came together so this is like a breathe of fresh air.  I look forward to some interesting posts and learning some new things too. There were many topics in the book that I would have liked to have continued exploring but I wanted to finish it within my lifetime. I might get some opportunities to expand on them here.

Best Regards Eric
 
eric fisher
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My dad once told me that he'd heard that plants like tea and he started watering the houseplants with left-over Orange Pekoe!



Dear Jay,

Thanks for your welcome. I am thinking that your dad might have had something there. I know that Orange Pekoe is supposed to be very high grade tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. I also know that it contains a heady mix of bioactive compounds. It is not unreasonable to think that it may have given your plants a boost and I expect it definitely gave your Dad a boost too.
Orange-Pekoe.jpg
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Camellia sinensis
 
gardener
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Welcome Eric, nice to have you here to answer folks questions on composting and how to use it.


Redhawk
 
eric fisher
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Hi Bryant,

Thanks for the warm welcome. I look forward to some interesting debates.
 
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Welcome eric! I started a thread that maybe you could give input in. Lazy tea. Is this something you cover in your book? The thread is here if you'd like to reply:

https://permies.com/t/118480/making-compost-tea-neccessary#959414
 
eric fisher
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Cheers Wayne,

I did do something on lazy composting in the book as it happens  (pp.116-17). In practice I tend to do lazy methods quite a bit, I am sure you appreciate the advantages.
I will have a look at your thread with interest.

 
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Hi Eric,

Welcome to Permies.   Now I know who to go to for anything CT.  


Cheers, Scott
 
eric fisher
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Hi Eric,

Welcome to Permies.   Now I know who to go to for anything CT.

 

Cheers Scott for the welcome and endorsement.
 
garden master
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Welcome Eric!
 
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Welcome to permies, Eric!
 
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Hi Eric,
I'm glad you're here to talk about compost tea, one of the most neglected areas of organic gardening.  As Thomas Edison sort of said, nobody wants to do it because it comes covered in overalls and it looks like work.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Welcome Eric. I am eager to learn all I can to aid in growing anything in my sandy pinelands "soil"!
 
eric fisher
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Cheers Dave,

Your support and dedication is much appreciated.
 
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Welcome Eric!

Moderator's note: Dillon Langer, your excelent anaerobic tea conversation has been moved here.
 
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Are there any teas that will help a  plant fight off powdery mildew?  It appears to be attacking my squash and cuckes.    Same question but a tea to help fight tomato blights?
 
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Wow!  this looks like a great book.

 
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I attempted a tea from my first batch of compost using a faded, thin shirt for a tea bag in a 5 gallon bucket.  I added 2-3 tablespoons of unsulphured molasses and stirred twice a day for 4 days.  Could that work?  I poured it from the bucket onto the patch of ground that had been covered by my Ecobin composter adding cut sprigs of St. Augustine grass.
 
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love that this book came out on my birthday ;-P
 
John Suavecito
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Hello Eric,
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, 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.

Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
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I'm relatively new to composting and live in Minnesota where our winters are extremely cold.  Any thoughts on what to do in the cool season?  Should we just accumulate the materials and put the pile together in the spring when things warm up?  Is there a best way to sort the material to be composted?
 
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Hello Eric,

I'm just getting the parts together to build my first compost tea brewer. Do you have any insight into what you feel is an efficient design that a pretty proficient do it yourselfer can build?

Thanks!
 
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I have been interested in compost tea since I saw David the Good compost tea creations for his tropical gardens. It looks like he just throws everything in there and it works.  What is your approach and is it different than this very low tech method? Different teas for different purposes?
 
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This is very exciting! I am playing around with a small bubbler system. 5 gallon. I have made a plant/ weed tea, used that, then moved on to compost. Now I have a fish compost manure mix brewing. Not smelly at all. The first batches got stinky very quickly. I would love to learn more about this. Youtube has given me a lot of ideas so far.
 
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Hi Eric. I've enjoyed reading your compost tea posts. Didn't realize until now that it could be used with seed balls. That's very cool. Will definitely try that. Thanks!
 
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I do super lazy compost tea - I bought this composter that has no bottom (it looks like a beehive shape with a small lid on top). I water it and the tea comes out the bottom and waters my plants around it.  Love it!

Sandy
 
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Welcome!  Thank you for sharing your knowledge.  I have been reading to learn about compost tea; looking forward to starting.  I have a feeling that within the next few days I will be saying how much I didn't know what I didn't know.
 
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Welcome Eric! So looking forward to getting your book!
 
eric fisher
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Hi Eric,

Welcome to Permies.   Now I know who to go to for anything CT.





Hi Scott,

Cheers and thanks for your welcome.
 
eric fisher
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Welcome!  Thank you for sharing your knowledge.  I have been reading to learn about compost tea; looking forward to starting.  I have a feeling that within the next few days I will be saying how much I didn't know what I didn't know.



Cheers for your interest Susan.   I enjoyed reading your quote by Aristotle and your fiery signature - very inspiring.
 
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Sweet!
a resource for making tea as opposed to which one to buy.
thanks!
 
eric fisher
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Welcome Eric! So looking forward to getting your book!



Cheers Mandy and thanks for you interest.  

NB: I may run out of the allotted time to answer questions since some of them are rather detailed, but I will get to all of them.
 
eric fisher
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Thanks for the welcome Steve.
 
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