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Re: Regulation of compost teas (was: NOSB loses its head)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dale Wilson" <nosliwelad@YAHOO.COM>
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 12:46
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Regulation of compost teas (was: NOSB loses its

> I thought they were talking mainly about adding food sources for
> microorganisms.  Alcohol can be a food for some microbes, but sugar is
> better in general.  The idea behind addition of soluble food and
> aeration is to induce multiplication of the (presumably) beneficial
> microbes in the tea.  These would then be more effective at colonizing
> and displacing pathogenic organisms from the plant surface, and/or
> inducing systemic acquired resistance in the plant.
> Back to my question. Is it really true that compost tea only works when
> it is spiked with a food source and aerated before application?
> If that is really how it works, a safer approach might be to get a
> little culture tube of the right bacteria and use that to inoculate a
> batch of sugar water and inorganic salts, aerate it and grow up a
> tremendous crop of exactly the species you want.  I have done this with
> biocontrol bacteria and it is very easy to do.

But then it is not "organic" is it.

When you get right down to it, a compost tea can be used in different ways,
and the way you plan on using it controls how it is made and the way the
nutrients in it, gets into the plant.

One way to use it, is as a foliar spray/drench, in this way the nutrients
are taken up thru the stoma in the leaves. This method it is not about
increasing the bacteria at all, but getting the soluble nutrients out of the
compost and into the plant directly.  And it is as simple as soak the
compost for a few hours, strain and apply.

Another way to use a compost tea, is to put it down around the roots to jump
start the bacteria in that area, and hence increase the nutrient uptake from
the root zone, but, the "tea" can splash up onto the foliage and/or
(depending on the plant) the edible part.

Take your pick, they both have pluses and minuses.

With ether method, you should not have any problems with pathogens as long
as people remember to rinse/wash the food before eating, after all, do you
go and eat right after going to the bathroom without washing?

Personally, I use dried molasses directly on/in my compost pile. When I have
an over abundance of N material, and I start to smell the ammonia, I
sprinkle a handful or two of the molasses in the dampest part for the
compost and mix in a couple of days I check and repeat if necessary.

Greg H.