Smelly compost tea used--are veggies safe to eat?

triciagrace07March 29, 2014

I made worm compost tea for the first time and just poured it on my garden. It smelled pretty bad, does anyone know if my veggies are safe to eat or of my veggies will die? Should've researched this before I did it :-(

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mendopete

It should not smell bad. Aerated tea has a smell that is pleasant and "yeasty".
Describe how you made the tea.
I would suspect that your worm compost may have been anaerobic.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:16AM
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triciagrace07

I used 5 gal bucket, 2 tablespoons molasses, 3/4c worm compost, 2 tablespoon fish oil, 2 tablespoon kale & aerated with fish pump. Let stand for five days

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:00PM
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mendopete

You should use the pump for 24 hours or so and then use the tea immediately. When I use fish oils, I don't get any foam. I am not sure that matters. Make it when you need it and then use it.

I think everything should be ok with your plants and veggies safe to eat. If the plants die now you may not want to eat the veggies................... or get any.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:29PM
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triciagrace07

Thank u so much! I'll def only do 24hrs next time, all the plants so far are still alive and healthy :-)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:01PM
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mendopete

There lots of ways to make tea. And there are also lots of recipes.
The ambient temperature has a big effect on brew time. I brew outside and it gets cool at night. Sometimes this slows the process and it takes 2 days for me to get foam. Living in a cool climate I only brew when temps warm up and the days are longer. It helps to start with lukewarm chlorine-free water.
That being said, I think it is great for your garden year-round with or without foam. Its all good.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:50PM
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equinoxequinox

You mention using "worm compost". I have always read to use worm castings. Not sure why the "2 tablespoon fish oil, 2 tablespoon kale" are in there. Not sure why "Let stand for five days." I thought the idea was to take it from the airirater and immediately get it sprayed on.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 7:01PM
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hummersteve

You let that mix sit for 5 days and all the microbes died too , that explains why it smelled bad. It should be used within a few hours of stopping the aeration.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:26PM
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triciagrace07

Lesson learned use tea right away :-) thanks for all the tips. Def a learning process. And correction I did use castings.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:59AM
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hummersteve

A couple of other things that I have read is to make the tea with temp at least 70F and not in direct sunlight. I just use molasses , seaweed powder and bonemeal.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 11:42AM
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BluButterfly323(8)

Remember not to use water straight out of the tap. It has chlorine and will kill your good bacteria. Let the water stand over night or use your fish tank water. I aerate with a pump for 24 hours and YES use molasses. It helps create the bacteria. You can spray your foliage with the compost tea. It keeps the bugs away. (The bad bugs anyway) . If you don't aerate and just let your tea stand for a couple days, you have to keep stirring. That's why the pump is such a breeze to use. Compost tea is safe on all vegetables. It's the leachate that is toxic to use on veggies.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 4:02PM
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pskvorc(3)

What is the toxic nature of the leachate?

No hidden agenda. I'm just curious.

Paul

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:46PM
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sbryce_gw

There are varying opinions on leachate. Some people use it with success. But leachate can contain volatile organic compounds that can be toxic to plants.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 1:11AM
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chuckiebtoo

Leachate, a mixture of the water we drink, veggie and fruit scraps and other foodstuffs intended for human consumption, bedding materials like newspaper and corrugated cardboard devoid of chemicals harmful to us, and worm excrement which we know is a killer of bad bacterias, has proven to me after 15 years or so to be of no threat to the environment or me.

I can't say that about any chemically laced commercial products people spray, spread, swab upon, and wash into the ecosystem packaged in containers warning us of the consequences misuse could wreak upon our pets, neighbors, and selves.

I use leachate whenever I find some with never a bad outcome.

Also, if you have AVCT that has somehow passed its expiration date (dead and stinky), put it into the soil or a compost pile because it does have some fertilizer properties, and ......where else you gonna put it.

Chuckiebtoo

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:48AM
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pskvorc(3)

I kind of assumed any toxins in a by-product of vermiculture - vermicompost, leachate, and "tea" - would be a product of "garbage in, garbage out", (practically a malapropism in this forum). Sounds like that's the case.

So I am gathering that if you feed your worms 'stuff' that has 'bad' stuff in it, they are unlikely to turn the bad stuff into 'good' stuff, and, if the 'bad stuff' doesn't kill them, it will be left for 'recovery' in the 'product'. "Toxins in, toxins out". N'est pas? (Practically the sum of my 'knowledge' of the French language.)

Paul

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:43AM
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