This was, for example, a major topic at the British Grassland Society's
Organic Farming Conference in 2004, where vendor-oriented propogandists &
their hired "scientists" were set-upon by actual researchers concerned
about the human pathogenic threat posed by compost teas. Because academics
& serious researchers frequently work in a "publish or perish"
environment, the world wide web is not their first choice of
"publication." Vendor propoganda on the other hand is going to appear
primarily on the web because it would be laughed out of scientific
publication & the web is more "democratic" when it comes to falsehoods &
exaggerations promulgated by vendors & their flunkies like our own beloved
Tom or the eerie Mr Diver now in our ng promoting exclusively vendor
falsehoods without even slight regard for authentic data.
The web can be great for Insta-Info or superficial double-checks in a
hurry for topics more political than scientific. If you've read an actual
book or some articles about something, it's hard to remember all that
verbatim, & googling can provide reminders. But if the web is to be one's
first & only source of information, one will end up more often
MISinformed, & not deeply knowledgeable about anything a-tall.
Plus any Web search for "compost tea" in particular will not usually get
you even abstracts of serious research since it isn't a precise or
scientific term & not all academics coopt that term, preferring an array
of terms, most commonly "Compost Extract(s)" but also an array of terms
that define the type or method of obtaining compost extracts.
So if you require only a web citation you'll have to look for it yourself,
there's probably something about it somewhere but you'll be weeding
through masses of sales pitches & propoganda to find your way to one
paragraph of fact. But if you will settle for something far better, here's
a precise quote in answer to your specific request:
"Further work is required to ensure that the production and use of compost
teas and extracts can be guaranteed not to propagate and spread human
pathogens onto food intended for human consumption. There is continuing
debate over whether compost extracts and teas require to be registered
with the pesticide authorities, e.g., The Pesticides Safety Directorate in
the UK" [Litterick et al "Role of Uncomposted Materials, Composts,
Manures, & Compost Extracts in Reducing Pest & Disease Incidence &
Severity," Critical Review of Plant Sciences, 2004]. This was also quoted
very close to verbatim without being credited as to author, in an official
government document under the sub-heading "1.2 Pesticide regulations
relating to the use of compost teas/extracts" in a web document you CAN
find at the UK Department of Environment Food & Rural Affairs website; the
government document version begins "At present, the main potential problem
with compost teas appears to be the concern that fermenting compost could
potentially support the growth of human pathogens."
-paghat the ratgirl
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
You can refer to this as a plant extract, liquid plant manure, or grass
You can expect to get some soluble nutrients, and maybe some bioactive
How soon is uncertain, since you are doing some new and different based
on the unique volumes, ingredients, and aeration scheme you have
Typically plant extracts are made by a simple soaking method that is
non-aerated and are allowed to steep for 7-10 days.
In your situation, I think 3-7 days is a range to consider.
There was a farmer in Missouri who obtained a USDA-SARE grant and
made farm-scale quantities of grass tea in one of those kiddy swimming
pools. He called it green tea extract and used it as a soluble
liquid organic fertilizer for his market crops of vegetables and
berries on several acres. It was thoroughly documented through lab
He presented his research at the Small Farm Today conference in
Jefferson City, MO, last November. He compared the green tea extract
with commercial soluble fertilizers. The organic treatment provided a
substantial amount of fertility, but was not sufficient as a complete
fertilizer "alone". He was pleased with the results. He expressed
interest in combining the extraction with a microbial inoculant such as
EM (Effective Microorganisms) to faciliate the bioprocess.
Liquid plant manures and plant-based pest control and fermented plant
extracts are *very* common in India, Africa, and Asia where poor
farmers use local resources instead of purchased inputs.
Good for you to give it a try (though I suggest you might
try smaller volumes of grass, and also use other local
plants such as clover and garden herbs like comfrey).
Northwest Arkansas, Zone 6b
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