Alfalfa Tea

Has anyone made fermented alfalfa tea? I want to use it to feed pecan trees. They say you'll know when it's ready............
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a simple search brought up about 50 websites which answer this, but this is the most simple:
In a 5-gallon bucket, put 1 cup alfalfa meal. Fill bucket with water and let it sit overnight. The result will be a thick tea. Apply generously to the root area of shrubs and flowers or use as a foliar spray after straining.
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opined:

Yep, I know how to make it from info on the web..... }:-) I've used soaked alfalfa pellets as a compost starter in the past. The one I'm going to follow is to take a 30 gallon trash can, cover tightly, and let it ferment for a week. Most of the sites hint at what it will smell like, which could be described as recreating a cow's stomach with the resulting smell of manure. I hope to get a 50lb. bag today and I'll also be adding Epsom salt. http://www.nurserysite.com/clubs/peninsular/tea.html
We're already using coffee grounds (~200 lbs. per tree) for slow release nitrogen and zinc, and I wanted a quick boost of nitrogen as well as the triacontanol growth stimulant and other trace goodies that alfalfa meal promises.
So, I was wondering if the fermentation process was worth the wait, considering. I'm a serial aerobic compost tea maker, so I'm looking forward to adding this stuff to my organic arsenal and am fishing for comments about it......
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It will smell like someone took a look sized pee in it! I make the tea for my plants and I have the mix sit out in the hot mojave desert sun and I have to do it out in my desert field as it can stink to the sky. Plus I use HAY and the hay is usefull for building new beds, I lay down the used hay and pile the dirt over it, my iris love it. I have used 2lt soda pop bottles to put the tea in, closed the cap and set out in the sun for a week, almost need a gas mask when I open them to use the tea.

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I like the idea of the soda bottles for small batches in my own garden. I thought of transporting it in 6 gallon water cans in my car, but I think I'll make it onsite at the dog park. I guess I'll also have to apply it at night after all the dogs have gone home, as I suspect some might be enticed to roll in it......

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I've made it from both meal and from pellets but have never let it ferment. What is the supposed benefit of this? And a really tight cover is a good idea- the latch batch I made found a fruit rat swimming in it :-0
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Toni
South Florida USA
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I suppose merely soaking it doesn't release all the goodies into the water.
From the website: "Dry alfalfa is a good slow-release source of nitrogen, but since you will be "digesting" it by letting it ferment in water, the resulting tea is a soluable, fast-acting nitrogen source."
Now I'm wondering if making it aerobic with an airstone would be good, bad or indifferent, just like compost tea..........

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Alfalfa is a Nigon fixer in the soil, much like clover, you would have to add sugar to it.
My best back of it I do the following:
In a steel tub I place alfafa ( I use raw HAY ) and I fill it with water, making sure that the hay is well soaked.
I let that sit for about an hour, I then use plactic buckets and by hand I slowly remove the hay, squeeing it to take out most of the water. I get the steams, and the leaves form a fine mash.
The hay and leaves go into a 55gal trash can to be hauled out to my garden and used. The water mix I then put back in the steel tub and I add one or two hansfull of steer manure and mix it in good.
I then let this sit for another hour, I then repeat what I did with the hay. I then take the tea that has been made and put it in soda pop plastic bottles which I take out by the garden and for one day, starting in the am let them cook in the high mojave desert sun, sometimes reaching 100F outside.
I then that night, place the bottles in a area out of the sun and use them during the summer.

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The reason I use it so much is because it's CHEAP. I live on a fixed income and when I can afford to buy other plant foods I do, but most of the time I have to make do with cheap stuff and that means the a. tea.

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I would not make a anaerobic tea using anything anymore. Not after they've found how wonderful aerobic tea has been. I think you should make that same aerobic tea using alfalfa, not that smelly stuff.
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opined:

You know, that's what I'm thinking, unless the advantage is making a lot of ammonia. It should still infuse the tea with all the trace elements. I think I'm going to to going into mass tea production. I need some more airstones.
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It's not just the ammonia, it's the anaerobic microbes which are not as beneficial, possibly harmful to certain other biota in the soil. Studies (and I don't have one off hand to quote) have shown that aerobic tea is superior to stagnant teas.
If you are going into mass production you will need much more than air stones! You will need to buy or make a brewer which can brew at least fifty gallons. Also, the quality of the organic matter you use in the brew is rather important, if you want to make a good tea. There's a lot to it.
If you are going to use alfalfa pellets, you can buy them at any good feed store, PetSmart should sell bags or any farm supply store will sell it in pellets or cubes. I prefer the cubes, myself. I would also suggest you use some molasses in the mix since alfalfa is a high nitrogen content.
V
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opined:

You're preaching to the choir here, V. And, I like the way the compost tea smells when it gets close. Sweet and syrupy, I almost want to taste it myself.

Hmm, I'm not going to try to be a Dromgoole here, as I basically shoot for the lazy gardener's ideal of effort versus results...... I'm set up for six 5 gallon buckets for now. I use my own compost and throw in some Ladybug or similar potting mix if I have it and maybe a drizzle of Medina Plus.

I was very pleased with the 50 lb. bag of meal I got from Buck Moore Feed Store on Lamar today. Nine bucks....... I also got a 50 lb. bag of dried molasses for $13.00. They're small and quaint, but I like 'em. I read that the pellet making process uses heat that might destroy some of the nutrition, so that's why I searched for the meal. I used to use non-sulfur molasses from the grocery, but I started using horticultural molasses from Big Red Sun as an excuse to go there and buy something I can afford.........
I'll report back how it turns out.
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Interesting point. I didn't realize they used heat to cube it up. I actually didn't know how they do it. When I say cube, I am talking about a 3" by 3" cube, not pellets, like the Bradfield Fertilizer sells...or that stuff they give you at the petting zoo's for the animals.

Yes, the horticultural molasses definitely is better for the purposes of gardening as it still has the iron in it. Sulfur is a great element for our calciferous soils.
I just potted up about 54 Aristolochia plants for my garden club swap. I also have a ton of Gaura lindheimerii. I have not entered a garden center yet this year. I hope it stays that way. I need nothing! Help!
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