What is it?
Compost Tea is a totally natural microbial inoculant that gets the microbiology back into an ecosystem that has been depleted through use of chemicals, lack of microbial food or serious compaction.
The following diagram is a basic overview of the Soil Food Web in a soil ecosystem. When the building blocks of the web (bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes) are decimated, there is nothing for the higher levels to eat and the web ceases to exist.
Inoculating with Compost Tea gets the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes (occasionally) back into the ecosystem and rejuvenates the Soil Food Web.
- High quality compost teaming with microbiological life is difficult to procure. The Compost Tea is used to 'extend' excellent compost by placing a small amount (1/2lb/5 gallons) in the brewer and adding foods that cause the microbes to multiply. (from 1 billion bacteria in a teaspoon of compost to 4 billion in a teaspoon of Compost Tea). Instead of applying one ton of compost to an acre, one can apply 5 gallons of Compost Tea!
- Compost can't stick to leaves! The area around the leaves (the phyllosphere) is just as important to inoculate as the area around the roots (the rhizosphere).
How is Compost Tea made?
Compost Tea is made by a process called 'active aeration' wherein compost is put in a brewing container with water and agitated/bubbled for 24-36 hours. The addition of microbial food in the process causes the populations to increase significantly.
What Compost Tea is not...
- Compost leachate - the liquid residue in a compost pile after water is run through it. This action is not sufficient to agitate the microbes off the compost.
- Compost extract - a process that strips the microbes off the compost and most of them remain dormant
- Manure tea - putting manure in a bag and suspending it in liquid. This is an anaerobic (without oxygen) process which promotes the pathenogenic types of microbes.