Aerobic Alfalfa Tea- 1st batch

Six 5-gallon buckets and aquarium air stones. I started out with 2 cups of loose alfalfa meal per, and couldn't find my bottle of molasses, so I used 2 cups dried 38% molasses. One bucket didn't have an airstone, so it served as a test batch. Since I was mostly interested in the nitrogen, the growth hormone, and trace nutrients I added four more cups of alfalfa. I only let it brew three days and stirred a few times a day. All smelled sweet, the sludge expanded to about a third capacity and the tea was dark green soup. It probably didn't get the microherd going much, if at all.
Next up, a blend of 2 cups alfalfa and and 2 cups compost with real molasses in No Nonsense knee highs. I'll brew until I get the gooey, foamy tea.
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If you are making aerobic tea, the pantyhose fabric is too tight a weave and the beneficial organisms cannot get out of the bag into the water...
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opined:

Really? That's not good. But almost all the tea websites mention using panyhose as a tea bag or strainer. I would think the weave would not be small enough to limit bacteria, although it might with fungi. I'm wanting to get the little guys into the solution and not cling to the sludge.
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The absolute authority on this subject is Dr. Elaine Ingham and all of her research is found here:
http://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach_pgs/c_03a_aerated_tea.html
If you look down on the pages you will find a spot where she says you can use a bag for the compost, but the holes must be the right size.
With pantyhose, the holes are not just too small, they clog because there is usually some spandex in the fabric which causes the holes to actually each be its own diaphragm or sphincter...I know that sounds ridiculous, but aerobic tea is artful and if you really want the full benefit of the product you make, you should follow her instructions, closely.
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On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 19:52:03 GMT, escape

The absolutely polluted scientist whose techniques have little if any useful data is Elaine Ingham.....
That being said, 200 micron bags are generally used in commercial brewers.
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On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 19:52:03 GMT, escape

We are beginning to get data showing the fraud for what she is!
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wrote:

Vendor Ingaham posing as a scientific researcher set the standard for vendor-disseminated information & that is never going to change. Ingaham seems legitimately to have been mentally ill with some paranoid conspiracy theories on why her data couldn't be duplicated in any actual field study, so after several years of being a Big Cheese in a crooked industry, she finally became such an embarrassment she was at long last cast to the wolves as an abberation. She is not an aberration, & her "findings" are still the only ones the industry promulgates.
The data to date supports compost teas as a tepid fertilizer & nothing more; its ability to enhance microorganisms is equal to the ability of regular watering to do so. Furthermore, though the vendors want you to believe aerating the tea is best & "safer" because non-aerated tea might be toxic, the few studies that indicate an unpredictable (so impractical) ability to deter disease as a foliar spray applies only to non-aerated teas. And it turns out aerated teas are MORE apt to contain harmful pathogens, rather than less apt as vendors of pricy equipment pretend, often on the basis of fraudulant sales-oriented "research" by the likes of Ingaham.
Vendors want you to believe teas need aeration so that duped marks will pay $500 to $1,000 for special equipment to do for a high price what could be done for free & with no such equipment. By & large the whole fad for garden teas is hokum & what little good teas do is exceeded by any number of better metheds, such as organic compost topcoatings & sensible irrigation. And while the tepid fertilizer value of compost teas washes out of the soil with the first rain or the first regular watering, maintaining the soil with compost or leafmold topcoatings or other methods is a longlasting method.
If you have a compost barrel that saves the drippings, it does no harm to use that as the basis of a cost-free tea. But anyone spending money on equipment & tea mixes with the expectation that it is anything but the weakest possible fertilizer, they're duped marks & nothing more
In sum:
1) As a tepid fertilizer, okay, even though of less value than virtually any other method of soil restoration or improvement.
2) For disease control: it's an illusion. To quote University of Washington horitulturist Dr. Chalker-Scott: "In the peer-reviewed literature field-tested compost tea reported no difference in disease control between compost tea & water."
3) Never believe anything promulgated by vendors. There is no such thing as an honest garden tea vendor since the honest thing would be not to take people's money for useless equipment. It is ONLY profitable because bolstered with lies.
For assessment of the Lies of vendors vs the Realities, see: <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/3e740acc9cd1e1d2?dmode=source
For definitively wasteful & potentially harmful nature of teas, see: <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/4d3a210350839b0d?dmode=source
How the fraud is perpetuated through half-truths & lies & workshops at nurseries all on the worst level of hucksterism: <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/409e0c1292fe4656?dmode=source
My old report on Ingaham's "tradition needs no science" looniness & paranoia, written a few months before the embarrassed industry jettisoned her as their chief divinity: <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/955f80727de46b92?dmode=source
Ingaham's easily lampooned loony-tunes letter that publicly revealed her magical anti-science thinking & her paranoid state of mind: <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens/msg/ff945350d678f297?dmode=source
Any website invested in selling you stuff is not going to provide you with the actual data of compost teas harming ground water, leaching too quickly out of soils to be of any benefit, being in every regard inferior to a topcoating of mulching compost, NOT improving the microorganism content of soils, NOT repairing anaerobic soils, and for the most part not even hindering pathogenic organisms (no more than would a good soaking with pure water in any case).
Not everything labeled "organic" is a good thing. The pro-Chemical lobby just hates it when "ecofundies" refuse to believe cancerous toxic chemicals are good for us & go all insane in defense of their PetroChemical fetish. Will greenies get just as fetishistic & up in arms when their favorite organic fad is found out to be 99.9% flimflam? Watch the Compost Tea thread(s) to find out!
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I know you dislike top posting, but I wanted to leave your post in tact without having to scroll down to see what I had to say. I find your post very interesting and worthy of looking in to.
I will say that my experience has been that I had a brugmansia which has had tobacco mosaic virus for about 8 years. I've kept this plant alive and sort of thriving. Last year I started using aerobic tea which I brewed myself using a 5 dollar air pump and one dollar air stone and the plant actually performed a remarkable 75% better than in past years. It went longer without the need for water and it bloomed profusely.
Now, I have no way of knowing scientifically if the plant simply pulled out on its own, based on the care and fertilizer I lovingly gave it, or if it was the tea. I had no control plant and it certainly wasn't scientific.
However, I will agree with you that lately it sure does seem a lot of people I used to have respect for have been sounding more like kooks than not and they are ALL (every one of them) pushing THEIR fertilizer brands or THEIR potting soil or compost mixes.
I will confess also to being skeptical when I heard a lecture by one of the "premier" steer producers in Texas (Betsy Ross) who told us that the compost SHE uses in her aerobic tea costs fifty dollars for a cubic foot. Uh wow! I immediately felt hair on the back of my neck stand up. Her beef is also, on average approximately ten dollars a pound. They are all grass fed, no corn or fillers or other cows in their food. Just pure grass grazed which really is how beef should be raised. I don't eat meat of any kind, so it doesn't matter to me one way or the other, but I thought her lecture was a bit maniacal.
So, I am rethinking my stance based on your post and I'm trusting you because I know you would never do anything to harm the environment. I gather this from years of reading your posts and I respect your gardening methods.
One last thing, did you intentionally misspell Dr. Ingham's name? If so, what did I miss?
Do you use any compost tea at all in your garden?
Victoria
On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 16:26:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) opined:

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Blimey, Vic, you're mellowing :-)

I use comfrey tea. I grow a large-leafed, non-seeding, non- spreading comfrey variety (Bocking 14) developed for the purpose at the Henry Doubleday Research Association, whose website you'll find on the web..HDRA is the UK's main "Organic" gardening guru. Just dump the leaves and stems in a barrel of water, cover and wait 2 or 3 weeks. It stinks horrible, costs absolutely nothing. (The plants can be propagated easily from root cuttings). Then use slightly diluted as a liquid root and foliar feed and it has similar results to the revival of your brugmansia. Many gardeners swear by it as an aphid spray. I also use the fresh chopped leaves to line potato trenches, as a surface mulch (the fresh leaves are hairy and old ones crisp and rough, slugs and snails won't go near it), and as a compost heap activator. Nettles can be used in all the same ways but I find comfrey is even better.
Janet.
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On Sat, 9 Apr 2005 11:56:59 +0100, Janet Baraclough

Comfrey has a chemical property which is known to help with psoriasis and eczema when infused with oil. I forget just now what it is, but I do know you aren't supposed to eat comfrey or it can cause liver problems. So, maybe this is why slugs and snails don't eat it, who knows. I do have comfrey, but I would love to find the Russian form, which is variegated.
I've made tea with Epazote which has been an excellent grasshopper repellant.
As for me mellowing, I don't know how I couldn't mellow after having found Dharma and practicing on a daily basis. I've been practicing now for just over a year and yes I can feel, see, hear and touch the changes in me. I'm sorry if I was ever harsh with you.
Victoria
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We can still buy comfrey-infused oil and cream here, and it's excellent for bruises, sore joints etc. Its old name here is "knitbone", used to mend fractures in livestick and humans. Before it was banned for internal use, my husband had a very bad leg break and took comfrey pills for 6 weeks. After the plaster cast was removed, the leg was x-rayed again. The orthopaedic consultant initially thought the x-ray dept had sent the wrong patient's film. It was the first time he had ever seen a fracture so perfectly healed it was absolutely undetectable.

Thankyou, glad you're feeling serene.
Janet
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Vic, call me in Las Vegas! There's more to this story, and Jessica does NOT have the whole story.
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opined:

Sorry T, I don't remember where I wrote the number! E me snipped-for-privacy@animaux.net
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IV. CONCLUSIONS There is mounting pressure on farmers to reduce pesticide use. At the same time, farmers must maintain crop yields and THE ROLE OF UNCOMPOSTED MATERIALS, COMPOSTS, MANURES, AND COMPOST EXTRACTS 475 maintain or improve crop quality in order that they can retain their market share. There is increasing evidence that the use of uncomposted plant residues, composts, manures, and compost extracts/teas can help them do this through improvements in soil health and through direct and indirect control of pests and pathogens. In a few documented cases, control of specific pests or diseases using uncomposted plant residues, composts, or compost extracts/teas in conventional agricultural or horticultural systems has been equal to or better than that achieved with synthetic pesticides. However, for many pests and diseases, the level of control that has been demonstrated in glasshouse and field trials is lower than that normally considered acceptable for conventional growers. Commercial and domestic produce buyers may find it difficult to accept that the quality and yield of conventional crops treated in this way are often lower. For organic growers, who have no access to fungicides or other synthetic pesticides, uncomposted plant residues, composts, and compost extracts/teas may provide useful additions to the range of partial disease control solutions to which they have access. Considerable work is required to develop protocols that can be used to ensure predictable and reliable pest and disease suppression or control from organic amendments on economically important temperate crops in different soil types. Some of the recent work has been done on tropical or sub-tropical crops and in different soils and farming systems from those represented in temperate zones. It will be necessary to adapt the techniques and protocols successfully developed or being developed in these climate zones for use in temperate farming systems. Many of the recent reports of improved plant growth or successful disease control using compost teas are based on anecdotal information or commercially sensitive data held by private companies. There is a strong need for independent research to demonstrate the effects of compost teas and to elucidate the mechanisms behind reports of disease suppression or improved plant growth. A great deal of the recent work on composts and compost teas done in the United States has been carried out using input materials that are prohibited or not readily available in Europe. Research is required to assess the quality and diseasesuppressive properties of composts and compost teas prepared from input materials that are cost-effective and readily available to European farmers. REFERENCES Abawi, G. S. and Crosier, D. C. 1992. Influence of reduced tillage practices on root-rot severity and yield of snap beans, 1991. American Phytopathological Society, Biological and Cultural Tests 7: 9. Abawi, G. S. andWidmer,T.L. 2000. Impact of soil health management practices on soilborne pathogens, nematodes and root diseases of vegetable crops. Appl. Soil Ecol. 15: 37-47. .Abbasi, P. A., Al-Dahmani, J., Sahin, F., Hoitink, H. A. J., and Miller, S. A. 2002. Effect of compost amendments on disease severity and yield of tomato in conventional and organic production systems. Plant Dis. 86(2): 156-161. Agrios, G. N. 1977. Control of plant diseases. In: Plant pathology. 4th ed., pp 173-221. Academic Press, New York. Akhtar, M. and Malik, A. 2000. Roles of organic soil amendments and soil organisms in the biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes-a review. Bioresource Technol. 24: 35-47. Albiach, R., Canet, R., Pomares, F., and Ingelmo, F. 2000. Microbial biomass content and enzymatic activities after the application of organic amendments to a horticultural soil. Bioresource Technol. 75: 43-48. .Al-Dahmani, J. H., Abbasi, P. A., Miller, S. A., and Hoitink, H. A. J. 2003. Suppression of bacterial spot of tomato with foliar sprays of compost extracts under greenhouse and field conditions. Plant Dis. 87(8): 913-919. .Anon. 2001. Compost Tea Trials. Cascadia Consulting Group. Final report submitted to Office of Environmental Management, City of Seattle. 8 March 2001. 50 pp. Anon. 2003. A sustainable approach to controlling allium white rot. Agriculture Link (Newsletter for the Agriculture and Horticulture Industries PB8431). Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London, UK. Armstrong, G. and McKinlay, R. G. 1997. The effect of undersowing cabbages with clover on the activity of carabid beetles. Biol. Agric. Hortic. 15: 269-277. Aryantha, I. P., Cross, R., and Guest, D. I. 2000. Suppression of Phytophthora cinnamomi in potting mixes amended with uncomposted and composted animal manures. Phytopathology 90(7): 775-782. Baker, K. F. and Cook, R. J. 1974. Biological control of plant pathogens. In: The Biology of Plant Pathogens. pp. 220-285. Kelman, A. and Sequira, L., Eds., W. H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco. .Beare, M. H., Coleman, D. C., Crossley, D. A., Hendix, P. F., and Odum, E. P. 1995. A hierarchical approach to evaluating the significance of soil biodiversity to biogeochemical cycling. In: The significance and regulation of soil biodiversity. Collins, H. P., Robertson, G. P. and Klug, M. J., Eds., Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. .Ben-Yephet, Y. and Nelson, E. B. 1999. Differential suppression of dampingoff caused by Pythium aphanidermatum, P. irregulare, and P. myriotylum in composts at different temperatures. Plant Dis. 83(4): 356-360. .Berner, A., Sousa, H., Koller, M., and Mader, P. 2000. Suppressivity of garden waste and manure compost depending on the turning frequency and compost age. Proceedings 13th International IFOAM Scientific Conference, Basel, 5: 55. Boehm, M. J. and Hoitink, H. A. J. 1992. Sustenance of microbial activity in potting mixes and its impact on severity of Pythium root-rot of poinsettia. Phytopathology 82: 259-264. .Boehm, M. J., Madden, L. V., and Hoitink, H. A. J. 1993. Effect of organic
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Paggers, I sent you the .pdf titled The Role of Uncomposted Materials, Composts, Manures, and Compost Extracts in Reducing Pest and Disease Incidence and Severity in Sustainable Temperate Agricultural and Horticultural Crop ProductionA Review
Did you receive it?
Ingham is a whack but there's significant work by others that doesn't relegate compost tea to a simple tepid fertilizer.
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wrote:

I got that & wrote you back a long commentary at the time, sorry if you didn't get it. I saved that pdf file because while there is nothing actually new in it, & it is not original research in & of itself, it is the best all-in-one-place overview of peer-reviewed data I've seen, & I thanked you for sending it at the time. There was only one thing in it that I had not already read elsewhere: that aerobic teas are more likely than non-aerobic to bare harmful human pathogens. Even with my science-induced negative opinion of a wholly fraudulant industry, that one took me by surprise.
As an interesting overview of past research, the piece by & large ends up dismissing the value of compost teas, but also weaves into the overview a few "best case" scenarios (which ain't that good but not entirely awful) which will be the parts vendors will like while ignoroing the great bulk of the information, since nearly all the claims of tea vendors are contradicted in the overview. For examples:
Vendor claim: compost teas increase beneficial nematode population & deter harmful nematode populations. Factoid from overview: "No products of compost decomposition have been shown to have an immediate effect on nematode population." None, zip, nada.
Vendor claim: Aerated teas used as foliar spray prevent plant diseases, but non-aerated teas may contain plant pathogens & human pathogens (those two claims are to convince tea users they need the expensive aeration equipment to be both effective & personally safe when spraying teas). Factoid from overview: "The authors of this review are not aware of any published evidence to prove either of these claims."
(Indeed, the "best case" studies for sprayed teas controlling pathogens are for the non-aerated teas only, but the outcomes even for non-aerated are too unpredictable to be taken seriously for practical applicability. And the "best" pathogen control is reportedly for powdery mildew, but even spitting on that would have some positive effect, & if anyone wants REAL control of mildew they will use dilute milk. The "best case" for something like tomato blight is that aerated teas had zero effect, non-aerated an unpredictable or limited benefit occasionally -- so even the best case outcomes do not support selling all that gawdawful expensive aeration equipment & special-recipe teabags which are across the board hokum. The occasional minor or unpredictably positive values of compost teas are all set against other methods that are predictable & significant, with composted & uncomposted plant materials still the sensible & effective choice vs the fad & the fraud of compost tea).
Every vendor claim item by item is either debunked in this overview or shown to be of minor signifiance compared to other soil enhancement methods, or unpredictable for reproducible results hence of no practical value. As teas do have a few tepid or unpredictable values wildly exaggerated by vendors, there a few statements in the overview vendors will hail, but it boils down to being a weak & minor fertilizer certainly unworthy of financial investment in special equipment.
Anyone who wants to use soil teas anyway would learn from the overview of peer-reviewed research that the cheapest no-energy non-aeration method is NOT improved upon with aeration vats & equipment, & in fact the tepid value of teas is more environmentally friendly by cost-free energy-free non-aerobic methods. So even if the minor positives are inflated in order to praise teas, the industry promoting teas remains fraudulent. The higher claims for aerobic teas, as the overview states, are strictly anecdotal, not scientific, & retold for the sake of promoting private companies, not to be regarded as verifiable data. The authors do not rule out the possibility of greater value being discovered but so far the peer-review science shows that the anecdotal & business-motivated claims are proving very, very hard to substantiate in reality.
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