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Re: compost tea makers
There are machines that cost much less, and are more effective at extracting and growing ALL the organisms you need in tea, than the one that Frank spoke about. I won't even mention that company as making tea machines anymore, because they don't make compost tea machines. They make bacteria tea machines; their machines don't do an adequate job of extracting and growing fungi, protozoa or nematodes. Given the predilection of that machine to go anaerobic during the tea brew, it might be safer to just buy an inoculum of bacteria from a company like EM, or Organica, or Helena, or Agri-Energy, or... well, the list is quite long.
There is a 5 gal machine from KIS (www.simplici-tea.com) for $99. that extracts bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes - all the organisms you need - and the soluble nutrients from the compost quite well. The data for the latest improvements are not on their website yet, but the machines are producing great tea. It takes just a pound or so of compost to make 5 gal, which is enough to put on 1 acre (you put the 5 gal of tea into the amount of water needed to spray out on the acre, make sure the water is chlorine-free).
Alaska Giant (www.alaskagiant.com) makes a 1 gal tea maker for $40, and a 5 gal tea maker for $80. Again, both very good tea makers, make great teas, with good fungi. Both good choices. They have a starter mix as well.
EPM (100 gal and 500 gal sizes) makes GREAT tea makers, and they have a 22 gal machine coming out soon. Their website is www.composttea.com They also sell the fungi that take out many root-feeding pests, as well as foliar insects.
Wormgold has just released a tea machine, not on their web site yet, so stay tuned. Nice, low-profile, easy to clean, sizes 50 to 200 gal.
Earthworks makes 35 and 85 gal sizes (www.soilfirst.com). Really great fungal and bacterial biomass.
James Sottilo makes tea makers to order. JAMSOT@aol.com
There are many tea makers on the market, for reasonable prices, that extract the organisms just fine, and let them grow without worry of the tea becoming anaerobic.
The foods the machine manufacturers make match the needs of their machines, or if you want some really great compost and activator, try Hendrikus Schraven's website, hendrikus.com. They make some super foods for the organisms.
And try some of the special bacterial and fungal inocula available - just a pinch in the tea, and grow the good guys yourself. Don't put in too much, if they grow too fast, they use up all the air in the tea, and that's when you grow not-so-good bacteria, like E. coli and other human pathogens.
It is not that difficult to do a good job. You need to have care, true, but don't be scared off.
Or find a tea center near you, and buy the tea from a professional. Check the SFI web site for the names of reputable tea centers near you.