Compost TeasAACT brewingPost your own compost tea.Why aact?
1 cup organic seed meal (equal parts of organic cottonseed meal, flaxseed meal, alfalfa meal & canola meal)
1/2 cup Alaska humus (Denali Gold brand)
1 cup homemade worm castings
2 tbls. kelp meal
1/2 cup fish enzyme (fungai development)
1/2 tsp. BioAg Pure Humic Acid (fungai development)
1 or 2 tsp. molasses (not necessary but I use it when I need higher bacteria counts).
6 gallons bubbled water
Run it at 75F for 18 hours to achieve a high fungai tea and 24 hours for a higher bacteria profile.
Spray on all branches, stems, leaves, everything to destroy powdery mildew and maintain that with 2x per week of neem seed oil application.
Use as an inoculant for the soil after clones are set in veg and again at the beginning of the flower cycle. Maintain with weekly waterings of fish enzyme and seaweed extract.
Works for me.
Fungal vs. Bacteriallink
If you're using earthworm castings then you're good to go and your compost teas will be balanced across the entire micro-herd - bacteria, fungai, nematodes, protozoa, et al.
Bacteria is very easy to grow in a compost tea. Fungai don't increase in numbers but what they can do is to increase in length. It's no uncommon to have 100,000 fungai strands up to 6' in length in 1/4 tsp. of the tea.
The best way to get the fungai up and running is the addition of kelp meal, (Maxicrop works well too) and most importantly the liquid fish products that are produced by enzymes (fish hydrosylate). You do not want to us the standard 'Alaska Fish Emulsion' or related products. You won't have any problem finding it - look for the words 'enzyme' and/or 'hydrosylate'
If you're trying to push out fungai then leave the molasses out of the mix. The carbohydrates feed the bacteria which consume the food and explode by reproducing and limiting the foods needed by the fungai. Even when you do use molasses you only want to add 1 tsp. per 5 gallons of water
Here's a 'kind of' or maybe it's a 'sort of' guide for brewing for specific microbial goals. Assuming that you're using an aquarium heater in your tank and you're running the tea at 70F, then a high(er)-fungal tea will be ready in about 12 hours. That is when the fungai have increased in length by huge numbers.
At 18 hours the bacteria are definitely dominating the culture in the tank. Bacteria will dominate until you hit about 36 hours and then the protozoa are up and running and the bacteria have faded substantially for lack of food.
If you're batching out a tea for use as a soil drench then you're probably best to use it around 15 hours - again assuming that you have the water temperature under control. Aquarium heaters are chump-change.
If you're wanting to brew a batch of compost tea to use to wipe out (once and for all) powdery mildew then I would be spraying the tea after 12-14 hours.
With the addition of the fish enzyme product, kelp (or some kind of seaweed product) and pure humic acid you'll end up with some major levels of fungai from the earthworm castings.
The pure humic acid at BioAg.com is NOT derived from Leonardite - thankfully. Their product is so concentrated that you only use 1/8 tsp. per gallon as a foliar spray. Double that amount for brewing tea.
I would add that if you get the air distribution part of it down correctly, the increased air volume will provide you with much shorter brewing times.Breakdown, uses, and frequency.
An AACT correctly has very little (if any) actual 'NPK' profile. What it does contain are 1 billion aerobic microbes per tablespoon. The primary goal as it relates to container growing is to introduce extremely high levels of fungai.
The other microbes are easily available in the soil - particularly bacteria and protozoa (alfalfa teas are referred to as 'protozoa bombs') as these microbes reproduce easily and quickly.
Fungai cannot to reproduced in the AACT environment but they can be increased in size. The main reason for adding kelp meal and specifically fish hydrolysate (dry organic fish bone meal is another good option) is that these are foods easily assimilated by the fungai and will grow up to 6' in length. That's also the reason for using the proper net bag (mesh size and all) so as to not break up the fungai strands - kinda self-defeating since you went through the expense and effort.
The addition of alfafla meal (or any other seed meal) will provide long-term food for the bacteria to break down.
Bacteria die and contain the macro and micro nutrients in the slime that surrounds them. They are eaten by protozoa and some fungai strains. Protozoa die off and they contain even higher/purer forms of nutrients and are then consumed by fungai that surround the root zone (hopefully) and basically 'mainline' the good stuff into the plant roots.
Plants produce what are called 'exudes' that facilitate which agents that need to be sent to the top of the plant where the action really takes place during the day, i.e. photosynthesis.
Because almost all of the real action takes place above the soil line the importance of having a healthy branch and leaf structure is paramount. A good reason to apply the proper amendments as a foliar application - kelp/seaweed products, fish hydrolysate, liquid silicon, neem seed products, yucca extract (very high saponin levels), fulvic (not humic) acids, etc.
You do not need to add compost teas (AACT) to a soil that already contains high microbial activity. The application of AACT to a soil is to improve weak/sub-standard soils.
There IS a value to applying an AACT as a foliar application to increase the microbial 'shell' that surrounds the plant from the root zone up to the meristems. Once that shell has been created then it's simply a process of feeding the micro-herd using kelp products, fish hydrlysate, and SMALL amounts of molasses, neem seed-based products, etc.
These teas are not fertilizers or nutrients in the sense that we've become accustomed to in the cannabis growing paradigm. They are inoculants, i.e. energizing the micro-herd in the organic compost that you've added to your soil mix. There is no benefit to applying these teas over and over. Maybe twice in the entire grow/flower cycle. Usually only once.
When you spray the teas on the branches & leaves, you are setting up colonies of aerobic fungai - the good guys. Aerobic is stronger in anaerobic in the world of bacteria & fungai as things turn out. By establishing these colonies it is almost impossible for anaerobic fungai (powdery mildew for example) to get established. If you do see a slight re-infestation then another application may be required.
Same thing when you apply the teas to the soil. The aerobic micro-herd kick-start the (sometimes) dormant microbes in your compost and/or earthworm castings and in a couple of days (sometimes within 12 hours) the good guys are in charge with bacteria breaking down the nutrients in the soil mix.
Digested nitrogen is easily assimilated by a plant directly from the bacterial 'exude' or 'slime' - getting nitrogen to a plant is a no-brainer. Phosphorus is a different matter and it would take pages and pages of explanation but here's the Reader's Digest condensed version.
Bacteria has to break down the 'stuff' in the soil. Some things digested by bacteria and floating in the exude like 'N' & 'K' can be absorbed by the plant's root hairs. Phosphorus is broken down into a form that certain fungai can use. It's these fungai strains which then move a new digested form into the plant directly - kind of like a heroin junkie mainlining.
Since we're not trying to high-dose a plant but rather keep the micro-herd alive above and below the soil line, a weekly soil soak and foliar spray of fish enzyme and seaweed extract is all that's necessary along with 1 tsp. of livestock molasses per gallon. That's it. Straight water as needed.Water quality
Before you get too far in your project, it's probably a good time to discuss water quality.
As we all know chlorine is added to most public water systems to kill bacteria and other bad things. And as we all know, aeration will remove almost all of the chlorine and with a pump the size you're talking about using that will happen in 20-30 minutes. No problem!
Next up is chloramine
which is used by many, but not all, water districts. You need to call your local water company and see if they use this in their system. The ammonia in chloramine is the real bad one here.
Wine makers use a product known as 'Camden tablets' but the problem here is that this is an agent used to kill wild yeasts, fungai and bacteria - not exactly what you want if you're trying to make a brew to grow their cousins.
An easy way is to take a couple of tablespoons of quality earthworm castings and put them into your mesh bag and bubble it out for about 1 hour. The organic material in the earthworm castings will activate the chloramine causing it to convert chlorine and the aeration process will remove both the chlorine and ammonia.
That or go and buy distilled water, which if one lives in or near a major population center given the usual quality of water out of the tap, may be the best option.
You only need to apply these teas once (maybe twice) in a 12-week veg/flower growing cycle.
In the mid-90's Dr. Elaine Ingham
began investigating the use of ACT (aerated compost teas) at Oregon State University in conjunction with a group of researchers at University of Washington - Pullman.
Dr. Ingham later went on and founded the Soil Food Web
which has branches in Europe, Asia, South America, et al. This group tests soils, processes, methods and assists farmers and governments in learning how to maximize crops around the world.
Here's a very good article on the "ins and outs" of brewing these teas - link
Edited by patriofarmer, 31 October 2010 - 04:56 AM.