what are good ingredients for making compost tea?
If you have access to manure it makes a wonderful tea!
1. Good compost, 2. Rainwater, 3. Oat bran. 4. An aquarium pump.
Good compost is bio-diverse, i.e. made from many different materials. The decomposers are specialists so that diverse inputs mean diverse microbes, which means more ways to aid a growing plant's fertility and protection from pathogens. Rainwater, because chlorinated water kills microbes. If that's all you have, draw off a pail a day or two before you brew to let the chlorine escape. Oat bran is added to the half-pail of compost four or five days before adding the water, so that fungi can multiply. Whereas aerated brewing multiplies bacteria, it doesn't with fungi. The aquarium pump is to replace the oxygen in the water, which becomes depleted after about ten hours. Regards, Peter B.
If you have access to manure, it makes manure tea. If you want compost tea you need fully composted manure or a mix of other ingredients (to the compost, not tea). Fully composted anything smells wonderfully fresh and is not stinky at all.
I don't know where Peter got his information about using oat bran, because I thought that was a secret. Oat bran, and regular oat meal, has been used to prefortify compost for compost tea, but I've never read about it in public before.
If you have access to water from a pond, stream, or even an outside dog bowl, that will be good to spike the tea with more microbes. Letting the chlorine 'blow off' first is a good idea. When you have made the tea and are going to use it, you might use chlorinated tap water to dilute it. I have heard from some local compost tea professionals that their testing indicates they lose about 1/2 the microbes by doing that. Still, that's a lot more microbes than they started with.
Don't use water from an inside aquarium because the chemical used to dechlorinate aquarium water is a fungicide. Even at half strength it is a fungicide.
Here is a link that might be useful: Bruce Deuley's Compost Tea Maker (plans)
Very interesting about the oat bran, DC what do you mean in public, is that some trade secret?
I have access to as much cow manure as I want, if he didnt give it away. My Great Uncle keeps my neighbours oxen. I have to go and get a couple buckets. Oat Bran? as in the cereal?
My water isnt a issue, it comes from a well witch is spring fed. I already have enough buckets and air pumps, tubeing and air stones. I want to use this on my vegetable garden this year. The weather is still cold here so i'm waiting until warm weather to do this. Has anybody ever used the Alaskin BounTea kit? To expensive for me thats why I want to make my own but curious about the bountea kit.
Trade secret? I'm not sure who started it but the people I know who use it seem to only tell you in person, not in writing. I'd be interested to know where Peter heard of it. It might be taught by Dr Ingham in her classes. That seems to be a common thread among the people I have heard it from.
dchall: I can't remember who told me about oat bran, but it works -- demonstrably. Years ago I was on a search for a way to increase the fungal content of compost tea. I was recommended to use a can of dog food, and also the barrel compost biodynamic preparation. But I couldn't tell whether they worked or not. I don't know whether "Teaming with Microbes" mentions oat bran -- it's the kind of source that might. Regards, Peter B.
orgaicpepper: I forgot to mention: oat bran is lower case. You will find it in the bulk section of the store. 15 cents worth is enough to do two buckets, or even more. Regards, Peter.
I heard about adding molasses, do I need it?
organicpepper: I don't really know about molasses; it's bacteria food, and I think (without any evidence I hasten to add) that there should be enough bacteria food in half a pail of compost. But it couldn't hurt. I've just made a batch for my sick-looking grass, and I put some sea minerals in, just because I would be applying a liquid amendment anyway. I sometimes add fish emulsion for the same reason. Regards, Peter.
Thanks for all the good info, a couple more weeks and my compost will be finished and I'll also be harvesting some work castings this weekend.
At tea temps below 75 degrees F you can add molasses at a rate of one tablespoon per gallon of tea. It is a bacteria food. You can tell when the molasses has been used up because the tea stops smelling like rum and starts smelling like socks. Then it is time to use the tea.
My uncle sold his house and now there will be no more fresh manure for me :(
dc what about above 75 degrees-----molasses Bill
At temps above 75 degrees F, water cannot hold enough oxygen for aerobic microbes to survive. If you multiply the population by adding molasses, the point of oxygen starvation comes right away. At 80 degrees, just don't add any food at all. Aerating does no good.
Have you ever noticed that stagnant water will be clear in the winter but covered with slimy mold in the summer? That's because the warmer water cannot hold any oxygen. The aerobic microbes have died and the only microbes left are anaerobic.
Another example is carbonated beverages. Warm beverages do not stay carbonated as long as cold ones. It has to do with gas pressures - severe scientific principles.
I have a 5 gallon bucket with semi-fresh cow manure in it, how long should I leave it sit? Also I have it in a bucket with lots of drainage holes and its sitting in another bucket to catch the liquid that comes out.
Go on You Tube and look up Bruce Deuly of organictexas, there is a four part series on making compost tea very interesting and he mentionss the oat bran
Bruce Deuley lives around here and is a radio host for a natural living talk and call-in show. I cannot confirm nor deny that Bruce Deuley is or is not one of the people I may or may not have heard either mention or not mention oat bran or other additives ;-) Honestly I don't know if he mentioned it or not. I only rarely get to listen to him but I can tell you I heard it long before I met Bruce. I can also say that Bruce is personally acquainted with the person I first heard it from, so who knows who said it first.
organicpepper_grower said, I have a 5 gallon bucket with semi-fresh cow manure in it, how long should I leave it sit?
If you have been listening to Bruce, you should already know that the use of raw manure is highly discouraged by the people who have been making compost tea for many years. Let the manure compost until it smells like fresh soil and then you can use it in tea.
Compost tea, a liquid solution or suspension made by steeping compost in water. It is used as both a fertilizer and in attempts to prevent plant diseases.
Consider the use of the following ingredients in compost tea:
1) humic acid - less than half a cup per 1000 litres
2) fish hydrolysate (an essential fungal food)
3) fish emulsion (a bacterial food)
4) organic molasses (if sweetness is required)
5) liquid kelp (always check for salinity and preservative levels)
6) pure water
7) protozoa foods (carefully netted).
I just found out about Bruce, but on YT he mentions it at a demo (I guess) about making compost tea. Should I mix the manure with other veggie scaps (that my worms dont get).
Are you determined to use manure and not compost? I can't help you with manure.
The only use for manure is to make compost. Then when it's finished composting, you can make compost tea.
Thats what I needed to know wheather or not I could use it fresh or composted, its in the pile now
And therein we start the flame war. Maybe I can summarize before it gets going.
Compost is composted manure.
Manure is raw animal dung.
Compost should smell very fresh and have no diseases or pathogens left in it.
Manure smells like manure and is teeming with disease and pathogenic microbes.
Compost is never a problem assuming it was finished composting.
Manure is seldom a problem even though your intuition (and your nose) tells you otherwise. When it is a problem, though, it's a big problem. Cholera, for example, can kill you before it gets diagnosed. Dysentery used to be a killer but is now just thought of as an upset stomach. Still it needs to be treated.
So yes, you can use manure to make a tea. Would I? No, because it stinks and could cause a disease. That's just my preference.
So is oat bran used primarily for minerals? Nitrogen? Is there something else that can be used, preferably something that could be found for free or in someone's backyard?
The oat bran is used to ''catch'' beneficial fungi.
no oder compost with worms the tea they make is pure and better than cow dung eh plus the castings can be used for your garden , house plants or make more tea ,
Where can I get humic acid at a good price?
The Garden Professors - WSU Extension
Please, people, ... just because Harvard (and now Berkeley) buy snake oil it's not transmogrified into science. Middle America would be better served by using compost as a mulch and letting nature make the tea.