what's the best way to store compost tea?

brightisland(8)February 21, 2012

I'm new to organic gardening and composting.

What I'd like to know is how to store compost tea?

I have a composting bin that collects the compost tea in the base - 5 gallons of it - and it's nearly full! Since my garden is not yet ready for me to start using it, I'd like to know if I can store it, and if so, what suggestions do you folks have about how to best do so?

Thanks!

Sara

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myluck(5 In)

Just a curious question. What does your garden need to have to make it ready to use the compost tea?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:03PM
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bi11me(5b)

Read this thread first:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/soil/msg0212493515336.html?74

About 80% through there is a discussion about leachates vs. compost tea.

What you likely have are leachates. The link below gives a very detailed description of compost tea, but the pertinent quote I extracted from it is this:

"The shelf life is short in high quality tea with active organisms necessary to attach to lead surfaces and not be washed off. In the research that we have done with 24 hour brewing cycles, after just 6 hours without any aeration, the oxygen levels are lowered by over 300 %. If the compost tea is not used within that time, aerate, agitate and add more food to the tea to feed the micro-organisms."

Here is a link that might be useful: Compost tea explained

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:30PM
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gunnersm8

as mentioned above i dont think thats really tea.

that said, and my initial answer is "in the ground" thats where id put it, and thats where it would be naturally.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:47PM
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brightisland(8)

myluck: You asked, "Just a curious question. What does your garden need to have to make it ready to use the compost tea?"

Right now my 'garden' is not actually a 'garden', but rather is a 32' x 36' area covered in black plastic, which will be coming up off of the ground and covered in newspapers, soil/compost and woodchips in the next few weeks. (No, the woodchips will not rob the soil of nitrogen, as it will be sitting on TOP of the ground, not tilled into it.)

Needless to say, with the ground covered in black plastic, there is nowhere to pour the stuff, but it is getting full.

Furthermore, from my understanding, you don't actually use the undiluted liquid from the base (whether or not it's technically called 'compost tea') on your plants, but rather you dilute it - about 10 parts water to 1 part liquid - to fertilize your plants. (I'd have to double-check that ratio.)

Finally, I visited that thread about leachates versus compost tea. I can't imagine why the liquid from my envirocycle would be toxic. First of all, the bin has only had waste from fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds and leaves, along with a bit of shredded, recycled paper put into it. No water has ever been added. And there are vents for oxygen and the thing has been moved around, so I'm not sure where the danger component comes into play.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:51PM
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bi11me(5b)

The problem is not the contents, but the concentration. That is why it needs to be diluted. At 10:1 you have about 50 gallons worth... the freezer may not be an option.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 4:33PM
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brightisland(8)

bi11me: Thanks for the explanation. That does make sense as far as the concentration being an issue.

But... Wow... 50 gallons... you're right. That's a LOT of liquid fertilizer.

Actually, I was thinking of storing the concentrate somehow and then diluting as needed. I wonder if that would work? Would the freezer be a good way to store something like this? I have a chest freezer, but it never occurred to me to freeze this kind of liquid.

Considering my garden will be ready in a couple of weeks, should I just leave the stuff where it is, then dilute it when the ground is prepared and mix it into my soil when I do the planting?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Compost tea, or the leachate from a compost bin, will go bad, become anaerobic (absence of air) if stored for any time unless some form of aeration is provided. Substances that are anaerbic tend to develop more disease pathogens then do substances that are aerbic.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:58AM
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myluck(5 In)

Now I understand. I was going to say put it in the soil whether there are plants or not. Feed the soil before you plant. Get the micro organisms built up.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:10AM
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rlv4(7)

If it were me...

Just dump it back into the compost, if it drains out immediately then your compost is too wet, add some more browns to absorb the extra moisture. Then the nutrients are in the compost and there when you're ready to add to your garden.

Put it in the freezer? WTF? C'mon, we're trying to make people believe that organic gardeners are normal. Suggestions like that don't help our case.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 7:06PM
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traildad(9)

I have just made my first two batches of actively aerated compost tea. The purpose of it was to multiply the beneficial micro-organisms to a level much higher than normally lives in the compost. Then apply it to the soil as a boost to the soil life. I would think that the moisture draining from your compost would have the same soil life as the compost itself. If you want the advantages of compost tea, I would imagine that actively aerated compost tea would out perform what drains out on its own. Have fun with the new garden.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:05PM
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bi11me(5b)

rlv4 - I feel no need to justify my "normalcy" to anyone, particularly when it comes to organic practices on on organic discussion page. The purpose of the tea is to introduce and encourage micro-organisms in soil. These organisms are essentially immune to freezing, they have evolved to accommodate seasonal temperature fluctuations. The OP hopes to preserve those benefits until the soil in their garden is most likely to gain from them, freezing would preserve the viability of the micro-organisms until they could be used, and reduce any potential losses due to anaerobic processes taking place. It's a practical solution, just because it doesn't fit into a conventional mind-set doesn't mean it isn't worth considering.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:59PM
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rlv4(7)

Sorry to offend...I just don't believe that is a practical approach. As traildad states the micro organism levels in leachate are going to be the same, or likely less than the compost. So it seems to me it is not worthy of freezer space. Store it in the compost pile. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go turn my compost pile in my bath tub. (just funnin', everybody needs to lighten up)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 8:57AM
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myluck(5 In)

rlv4-- just because there is a bathtub next to my garden...it has a purpose....it's practical...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 10:37AM
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bi11me(5b)

rlh4 - you just need to read a little more carefully. The OP has a commercial bin that collects leachates, not a pile. Pouring them back on will simply cause them to filter through the compost and recollect in the storage tray below, it solves nothing. In a pile, the same thing would happen, but instead of being collected, they would drain into the soil.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 1:05PM
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rlv4(7)

Pile or bin, doesn't matter which. If you add more brown dry material, it will absorb the moisture, and nothing will drain out.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:20PM
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mugs132

Tumbler leachate is far from poison for plants. Just educate yourself and be leery of the misinformation in this thread. See below videos. Hope this helps you.

How to turn leachate into tea - http://youtu.be/Uf3yOgm7ZI0

Tumbler review (envirocycle) - http://youtu.be/Ue-04L6OZ7o

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:42PM
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ernie85017

Don't store it. The beneficial herd will use up the sugar in the tea and start to die. Use it!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:02PM
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