Brewing Compost Tea for Young Plants

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by paintballerb2k, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. I'm new to organics and am running my first batch of plants with it. I have some clones 2 weeks in soil since they showed roots in small rockwool cubes. I'm using a soil blend I made myself which has a small amount nutrients in it.

    Some of the plants are yellowing and showing signs of hunger. I either did not have enough nutrients in my starter mix or did not mix it well enough to have more than 2 weeks of food.

    I want to hit them all with an ACT (soil drench) but would like some input before doing so. I really don't wan't to mess up on these plants and burn them. I'm used to growing hydro with coco/perlite so organic is completely new to me.

    Here's my ACT mix:
    - 1 gallon tap water
    - 1 TBSP molasses
    - 1 TBSP EWC
    - 1 TBSP Seaweed Extract

    I am planning on feeding them straight tea without diluting unless you think it will be too strong? Do you think it is too weak... should I have 2 TBSP EWC instead of 1? I'm also planning on letting it brew 24 hours before using.

    Any input is greatly appreciated... as you can see the clones definitely need some nutrients.

    Attached Files:

  2. 6 tablespoons EWC - is it good quality?
    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon black strap molasses
    drop the seaweed extract; you might make a separate kelpmeal tea or just topdress (regular livestock kelpmeal is all you need)

    I do not know what your brewer set up is. More detail is good.

    I find that when plants need a kick that an EWV (vermicompost) slurry works great. Just mix up a thick soupy mixture and pour on your soil. Mixing in a few drops of molasses sometimes helps.
  3. What is the soil mix?
  4. Both of those guys ^^^^^^^^^^


  5. I'm using Sanctuary Soil's earth worm castings. The hydro shop said it's good quality but I am honestly not sure. They also said Sanctuary Soil's empire builder soil is much better than FFOF and cheaper too. Like I said I'm new to organics and have never used EWC before - I can't really tell the difference between low and high quality EWC. Is it in the consistency? My brewer setup is whats pictured. A bucket with tap water using two air stones with an air pump.

    If I were to use 6 TBSP would that be too strong without dilution?

    I'm brainstorming/experimenting with different mixes but this current one has:
    - Sanctuary Soil's Empire Builder soil (40%)
    - Perlite (20%)
    - Sanctuary Soil Earth Worm Castings (20%)
    - Jiffy Organic Mix (10%)
    - Sanctuary Soil Coco Coir (10%)

    Trace Amounts of:
    - powdered dolomite lime
    - Bioag humic acid
    - epsom salt
    - Dr.Earth Compost starter
    - Xtreme Gardening Mykos Mycorrhizae
  6. Paintballer -

    First, let me welcome you to the organics forum. It's nice to see another hydro gardener giving organics a shot. I believe that most of us started exactly as you are - hydro forever (or as long as you have been) before we got sick of paying for expensive bottled nutrients that only gave so so results. I personally did the hydro thing for almost 20 years before I ended up here.

    First - your Compost tea. Compost tea is generally an aerated mix of water, earthworm castings or compost and a food source - molasses, fish hydrolysate, kelp, in minute amounts. This aerated compost tea is NOT used as a nutritional tea. It is used to ensure proper soil microbe levels in an organic garden - the beneficial bacterias that help break down organic matter and feed our plants. Soil microbes also help keep our plants healthy by battling off the bad microbes/bacterias. Luckily, "Microbeman" stepped in here - he is an expert in the field - listen to whatever he has to say; he's done his homework.

    So, as this tea is not a nutritional tea, but is a microbe tea, use the 6 tbs that he recommends. What happens during the brewing process is that the original existing bacteria in the earthworm castings have found, thru the aeration process in the tea, ideal conditions to start breeding. They breed like crazy in the tea solution, overloading the tea with bacteria (and other microbes). When poured onto your soil, there is now millions or billions of these little critters in your organic mix, and they start breaking down the organics in your soil and literally feeding it to your plant. Your plant also secretes food to help feed these soil microbes thru its roots to keep these helpful critters close by, forming a "symbiotic relationship" with them - one hand washes the other. THIS is why you hear of folks adding molasses to thier tea - to feed the microbes. Remember, it doesn't take much.

    I would try and source some kelp meal to top dress your soil with, and to also make teas with. I'm not referring to seaweed extract, but kelp meal - Ascophylum Nodosum. Kelp meal contains about every little micronutrient you need, but even more importantly it contains natural PGR's - plant growth regulators. These help keep internodal spacing short and tight - ie: less stretching.

    There's a lot for us all to learn - you've come to a good place to get started.


  7. Thanks for the welcome and information! I knew compost teas were to increase microbial levels but I thought they also doubled as nutrition to feed the plants. I suppose I should premix and top dress for nutrition and use teas for microbes. As you can see, I still have the hydro way of thinking: using liquids as fertilizers lol.

    If I've got it straight from what you said, the microbes we brew in compost teas help "enhance" the food in your soil by breaking them down and feeding it to the roots. Without any food in the soil in the first place, the compost tea will have nothing to form the symbiotic relationship with. The microbes help "supercharge" your soil by increasing nutrient uptake and fighting off disease.

    I'll definitely use your advised amount of EWC and pick up some kelp meal. Since the clones are still yellowing, I'm thinking about top dressing a minute amount of Chickity doo-doo fertilizer in conjunction with the ACT. This fertilizer is OMRI certified organic and has worked wonders on an experiment plant I keep outside.
  8. Some of us do use liquid fertilizers - made from assorted "Dynamic Accumulators" - certain plants that make use of deep tap roots to "mine" different elements from the earth. By making FPE's (fermented plant extracts) or botanical teas, we can make use of these elements and various compounds that these accumulator plants provide.

    Take a peek -

  9. Hey Paintballer

    If you google Microbe Organics you will find my webpage. There is a lot of information there from research I've done. If you go to the contents and look for 'growing from a microbial perspective' (or something like that) it gives a good rundown of how organic/natural growing works. If you then look at 'So you wanna build a compost tea brewer' it will give several designs for building efficient brewers or even stirring with a stick. Then if you look at 'Compost tea recipes' it discusses various recepies and times. Although I encourage you to start simple; e.g. molasses & EWC (vermicompost)

    Welcome & good luck & ask away.

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