Most trusted compost tea recipes
Why there are many different recipes at all?
These recipes are for 64oz (1/2 gal) of water
All recipes in this article are adjusted for 64oz (1/2 gal, 2 liters) of water. Compost volume is measured in ounces. Because compost is relatively light I want to make sure - we are talking about fluid ounce which is about 1/8 cup or 6 tsp or 2 tbsp or 30ml. All other ingredients are measured in "tsp" (tea spoon) which is about a tea spoon or 5ml.
1. Microbe Organics
I consider Tim Wilson from Microbe Organics??the most trusted authority on aerated compost tea. He has been??experimenting with compost tea recipes for over 10 years. He looked at hundreds??of batches of tea in microscope, documented??how different ingredients affect microbial population and created a 4-hour video tutorial on??analyzing compost tea quality.
His most interesting observations:
- Humic acid suppresses microbial division and growth
- Kelp meal delays microbial development in the first 24 hours
- Black strap molasses and fish hydrolysate feed both bacteria and fungi equally well
- Alfalfa meal is good foodstock which sometimes adds protozoa to the compost tea
Here??is the current version of his recipe adjusted for 64oz (1/2 gal)?????of the final product
Bacteria-dominated??Compost Tea Recipe (brew time 24-36 hours)
|Black strap molasses||2 tsp|
|Fish hydrolysate||0.2 tsp|
Fungal Brew (brew time 18-20 hours)
|Fungal dominated compost||1.5 oz|
|Black strap molasses||1 tsp|
|Alfalfa meal||2 tsp|
2. KIS Organics
Tad Hussey runs a personal site Gardening With Microbes??and a company Keep It Simple, Inc - both dedicated to compost tea??makers, composts and biological amendments. He works with Microbe Organics and runs his own tests through Soil Food Web testing lab. In my tests his compost and his microbial food mix performed the best in a tea bag form-factor.
Balanced compost tea recipe
|Alaska Humus||0.3 oz|
|Fungal compost||0.3 oz|
|Blend of alfalfa meal,??feather meal, steamed bone meal, fish bone meal??and??natural calcite||2 tsp|
3. Teaming with Microbes (the book)
Teaming with Microbes is the Winner of the 2011 Garden Writers of America Gold Award and also a??very??enjoyable read about soil biology. I read it on the plane in one sitting. This book??convinced me??on no-tilting and explained a lot about??how exactly??bacteria/fungi/protozoa help my plants.
Chapter 17 is fully dedicated to compost teas and here is the quick summary.
- You cannot "overdo" applying aerated compost tea. Start with applying it twice a month. After establishing healthy soil food web population go to once a month and then three??times a year.
- Sun kills microbes. Apply before 10am or after 3pm.
- To be effective as foliar spray, compost tea must cover 2/3 of the leaf surface. You have to apply to both sides of the leaves.
Bacterial compost tea
|Vermicastings or compost||4??oz|
|Nonsulfured??molasses or maple syrup||1.5 tsp|
Fungal compost tea
Mix powdered oatmeal,??malt or soybean meal with your compost and let it sit for 3 days at 80F. At this point you should see a network of mycelia (white fluff)??
|Nonsulfured??molasses or maple syrup||1 tsp|
|Fish emulsion||0.2 tsp|
|Powdered oatmeal,??malt or soybean meal||1 tsp|
4. Compost Junkie??
Dave Dittmar has been "addicted" to compost for 15 years. He has been running CompostJunkie??website since 2010 and created??dozens of tutorials on how to compost and make aerated compost tea. His main point is that all human health starts in the soil, so take a good care of it. I totally agree with him but these recipes are??"classic" and use both humic acid and kelp. Research by KIS Organics and Microbe Organics shows that you need to avoid humic acids completely and avoid kelp for short brews (24 hours or less).
Balanced Compost Tea Recipe
|Balanced compost||10 oz|
|Humic acids||1 tsp|
|Liquid kelp||0.5 tsp|
|Black strap molasses||0.5 tsp|
Bacteria-Dominated Compost Tea Recipe
|Cane sugar||1.5 tsp|
Fungal-Dominated Compost Tea Recipe
|Humic acids||1.5 tsp|
|Liquid kelp||0.5 tsp|
|Ground oatmeal||0.5 tsp|
|Yucca extract||0.2 tsp|
Ultimate??Compost Tea Recipe
|Vermicompost (worm castings)||1 oz|
|Fungal dominated compost||1 oz|
|Garden soil||1 oz|
|Forest soil||1 oz|
|Soluble black strap molasses||1 tsp|
|Soluble kelp||0.5 tsp|
|Humic acids||0.5 tsp|
|Fish hydrolysate||0.5 tsp|
|Rock dust||1 tsp|