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A Basic Compost Tea Guide

Discussion in 'Organics' started by Outkast Seeds, Feb 7, 2008.

    Outkast Seeds

    Outkast Seeds Well-Known Member

    What is a Compost Tea?

    A Compost tea is an aerobically-brewed liquid extract made from quality microbial foods. When a tea is brewed correctly, it contains only beneficial organisms and nutrients that are essential for the soil and plants well being. Since MJ is normally a nutrient hog this is one of the most effective delivery systems available to us. It can be applied in several ways. I will address this later in the article.

    Benefits of using an aerobically brewed tea are:

    1. It improves soil structure.

    2. It helps aid in retention of nutrients.

    3. Aids in the cycling of nutrients into available forms.

    4. Reduces plant stress due to environmental conditions.

    5. Disease organisms are displaced by the good organisms contained in the

    6. Has the ability to break down compacted soils with repeated uses.

    7. Prevents anaerobic (bad bacteria) organisms from gaining a foot hold in
    your soil.

    8. Compost tea replaces micro-biology back into the soil that we have
    removed because of our over-development and chemical applied
    nutrient and herbicides.

    9. When applied as a foliar spray it covers the plant surfaces and prevents
    harmful material from reaching the plant, including disease organisms. It
    will increase the time the stoma are open and allow foliar nutrients to
    be absorbed into the leaves.

    10. When applied to the soil, it will improve the soil structure, increase
    nutrient uptake, break down pollutants and reduces water use.

    What is needed to make a Compost Tea?

    Compost tea is made with different ingredients, depending on your brewing method and ingredients available to you. Minerals, food sources, and humic acids are added to sustain the growing population of micro-organisms.
    A quick over view of the materials:

    Seaweed- Supplies all the extra trace elements. Seaweed can contain up to 70 trace elements and lots of growth hormones. Seaweed is a beneficial fungal food source for soil microbes. I prefer to use liquid seaweed.

    Compost- this supplies most of the beneficial aerobic organisms (the good guys) and soluble nutrients. Worm castings are your best bet here. Guanos and manures fall into this category. You can either use them separate or together.

    Unsulphered Molasses- this feeds and breeds the aerobic bacteria. Sugar products are mostly carbon which is what the micro-herd consume quickly. To extend the life of your tea, add a little more molasses. Besides feeding the micro-herd, molasses supplies a good amount of minerals also. Sulfur being one of them which acts as a natural fungicide. Molasses is also a natural deodorizer for your tea. For a more fungal tea add less molasses to your aerobic tea. You can use more complex sugars, starches and carbohydrates like seaweed, rotten fruit, soy sauce or other fungal foods. Molasses substitutes are brown sugar and corn syrup.

    Alfalfa meal, corn meal, cattle food, horse feed and fish feed- these will supply extra proteins and bacteria. Corn meal is a natural fungicide and supplies food for the beneficial fungi in the soil.
    Good old garden soil is an excellent free bio-stimulant- Garden soils are full of beneficial aerobic bacteria, fungi and other great microbes. An even better one would be Forest soil, sometimes known as Forest humus.

    You can expect different microbial population levels in your tea based on weather, climate, temperature, seasons, etc. In the summertime you can expect your teas to brew faster and get to your optimal microbial levels faster than in cooler fall weather. Also tea odors, color, and foaminess on top of the tea, will vary based on temperatures too.

    Here is a list of materials you will need:

    1. 1 or 5 gallon container, I use a 5 gallon bucket.

    2. Fish tank pump and an air stone.

    3. A pair of old socks or a # 2 panty hose.

    4. Some type of measuring device…Tablespoon and Measuring cup ( one
    that reads ml or ounces).

    5. Quality compost and liquid additives.

    Once you have gathered all of your usable materials you are ready to begin. First, take and fill the container of choice up. Let it bubble for 48 hours to ensure that all the chlorine is “burned” off. I call this “tepid” water. Once this procedure is complete you are ready to add your organic material. Take your sock and place in what materials you choose to use. Place the sock with the organic material in the container and agitate it vigorously. After about 24 hours you will see foam start to form at the top of the solution. This will let you know that the micro-population of beneficial bacteria are starting to breed. Continue to brew for another 24 hours. Once this process is complete you will have an excellent foliar feed or a soil drench.

    Here is a basic tea recipe:

    Guano Tea and Kelp:

    Seedlings less than 1 month old nutrient tea mix-
    5 TBS. Black Strap Molasses
    1-cup earthworm castings/5 gallons of water every 3rd watering

    Vegetative mix-
    1/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano (PSG)
    1/3 cup High N Bat Guano (Mexican)
    1/3 cup Earth Worm Castings (EWC)
    5 TBS. Maxi-crop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract
    5 TBS. Liquid Karma (optional)
    5 TBS. Black Strap Molasses
    @ 1-cup mix/5 gallons of water every 3rd watering.

    Flowering nutrient tea mix:
    2/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano
    2/3 cup Earth Worm Castings
    2/3 cup High P Guano (Indonesian or Jamaican)
    5 TBS. Maxi-crop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract or Liquid
    5 TBS. Black Strap Molasses

    Dilute as needed. Generally, 2 to 3 cups per 5 gallons of water @ every watering.

    Each mix is unique. Use your better judgment on the amounts and the ingredients. Remember, your tea can be as versatile as you wish it to be. Be creative. Your plants will love you for it.
    Larzbarz8992 and missnu like this.
    lil' miss left hand side

    lil' miss left hand side Active Member

    I made your fabulous tea and its working great! i do have one question, my tea is starting to go pale and it is no longer foaming on the top. i'm pretty sure this means that the micro-organisms have stopped breeding. so should i putt some more materials in it? like molasses and worm castings and put the air stone back in? will this bring life back to my tea or is it stuffed?

    inbudwetrust Well-Known Member

    so can you just use like a worm casting compost tea in addition to other nutrients. or do you use teas alone

    greenleafhigh Well-Known Member

    I love compost tea!!!!!!!!!!!!

    inbudwetrust Well-Known Member

    how do you use it

    meluvyoulongtime Active Member

    thanks! ill have to try this.

    GreenShadows Active Member

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    somebody041 Well-Known Member

    shamelessly stolen and no credit to the original author?

    tsk tsk Outkast Seeds:finger::finger::finger:
    DANK PURPY and Dr. Who like this.

    pacman Well-Known Member

    add it to a nutrient or use it alone, I've done both and l love the combo of the guano, castings, and seaweed. It also helps on nutrient costs, cause a bucket of guano goes a long way:-P

    sam75 Member

    I agree, a guy at the thcfarmer forums deserves the credit, his name is Guano. I have been using his all organic teas instead of buying Earth Juice for a little while now with great results. Frankly, I got tired of running to the hydro shop every month or so to buy more bottles of stuff. But it is Guano's genius that deserves the credit here.


    MJstudent Well-Known Member

    sorry to bring back an old post but i was readin this and GUANO deserves no credit, he wrote his post on thc farmer 7 months after outkastseeds.
    TheTruSmokr likes this.

    personified Active Member

    Your all wrong! I created Guanos and Compost it is my recipe!! Some actually say I may be full of Guano :)
    Sorry I do not have time to discuss this I need to go make more guano as we speak!!
    TheTruSmokr likes this.

    Cheebaca Member

    Nice post man, good information and solid brews.bongsmilie

    THunderC Member

    Hey, quick question. I'm just a bit confused with the application of the "Veg Recipe".

    I question it because it seems very diluted. The way it reads is that you brew the ingredients in 5 gallons of water then apply it as fertilizer 1 cup tea to 5 gallons water.

    Perhaps this is accurate and the tea must be diluted that much or maybe I am reading it wrong.

    Any clarification would be much appreciated.


    scroglodyte Well-Known Member

    my worms are my partners in my gardens. junk mail, to compost, to cannabis........the circle of life....lol

    THunderC Member

    Right on man. Thanks for those noble words of wisdom.

    Anyone else have a more direct response?

    dirrtyd Well-Known Member


    MJstudent Well-Known Member

    teas are the greatest thing ive found in the world of plant growing. havnt given anything but fresh water and compost tea and haven't had a single deficiency or malnourished plant.

    Senseimilla Well-Known Member

    Compost teas go back to the OG/CW days and I'm sure earlier. Everyone builds off of what others did before them and tweaks them. It's the way of the world. Always good to give credit where ya got stuff from though when possible.

    personified Active Member

    I invented the internet and Al Gore took credit!! I hate it when that happens!!
    TBoneJack likes this.

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