For those new to the concept here is info on aerated compost teas:
What are the Benefits of Aerated Compost Teas vs. Classic Teas?
Aerated compost teas are the latest in scientific organic research
today. In many ways, aerated teas offer greater immediate benefits
than classic compost, manure, or other homemade foliar teas. Just by
applying a cheap aquarium air pump to a 5 gallon bucket of tea, you
can get amazing results. (Cheap, inexpensive aquarium airstones are
also recommended to be applied to the hose in the water. This produces
a better distribution of smaller air bubbles to make the aerobic
soil/comosting microbes breed better.) Instead of just brewing teas
for quick valuable water soluble nutrients from the compost or manure,
you can breed a larger population of beneficial aerobic bacteria and
fungi in the tea. It is the microherd in our soil, compost, and teas,
that is really more important in soil development and disease control
than just the soluble nutrients. Aerobic microherd populations reduce
offensive smells in compost piles, the compost teas, and the soil.
Aerobic microherd also break down bad poisons and pathogens into safe
nutrients in hot compost piles and aerated compost teas. Diluted
anaerobic compost or manure teas are great liquid fertilizers and
disease controllers also. Many people prefer the anaerobic teas better
because they are simpler and easier to design and apply. However,
recent research has proven that the aerobic microherd populations
fight diseases and bad soil and plant pathogens better and supply more
power to your soil's total health and texture. Keep in mind that all
types of organic and natural foliar teas are designed to complement
and enhance, not replace, basic composting, green manuring, and
organic mulching techinques in your garden. The soil microherd
continue over months and years to eat up insoluble OM in the existing
soil and the extra soil amendments and break them down into more
available soluble nutrients for plants later in the year.
Technically even in un-aerated teas there is still some aerobic
action taking place for several days. All fungi is aerobic. Some
bacteria are totally aerobic, some bacteria are totally anaerobic, and
some bacteria can act both aerobic or anerobic based on the soil or
tea environment. Un-aerated teas can continue to keep alive some
aerobic or aerobic/anaerobic microbes, for up to 10 days in a watery
solution. After 10 days, the whole un-aerated tea will contain only
You can expect different microbial population levels in your tea
based on weather, climate, temperature, seasons, etc. In the
summertime you can expect your teas to brew faster and get to your
optimal microbial levels faster than in cooler fall weather. Also tea
odors, color, and foaminess on top of the tea, will vary based on
There are several different levels of teas as well as different
recipes and styles. Here is the simple steps as outlined by one of our
own GardwenWeb members who is an expert on teas and compost. This is a
brief description of the different strength levels of tea making as
outlined by "BILL_G" :
Level 1: Put a shovel full of good compost in a 5 gallon bucket of
water, wait one week, and apply to garden or lawn either full strength
or up to a 1:4 water ratio. This is an excellent source of ready
available soluble nutrients. NOTE: If you stir your brew daily or
every other day, it helps get more oxygen to the mix for better
decomposition and better aerobic microbial population growth.
Level 2: Do same as above, but now add to the recipe a few cups of
alfalfa pellets or some other cattle feed. Now you have extra nitrogen
and trace elements from the bacterial foods.
Level 3: Do all above plus now add the air pump bubbler. Now you
have more aerobic microbes to add to your soluble nutrients in the
Level 4: Do all the above and now add a few tblsp of molasses or
other simple sugar products. Now you really maximize the aerobic
microbes in the tea, which in turn produce even more extra soluble
nutrients from the bacterial foods.
Here is my suggestions also. You can add more high nitrogen foods
in the tea. Remember the only main ingredients that are necessary to
make a good bacterial and soluble nutrients tea are: aerobic compost
and sugar products. Everything else is optional. Your teas can be as
creative as you are. Let's assume a 5 gallon tea recipe for our
1. Add 1/2 bucket of finished hot compost. This supplies most of
the beneficial aerobic microbes and soluble nutrients. Some people use
slightly immature aerobic compost because it has more fresh nitrogen
in it, but less microbes than finished hot compost.
2. Use 2-3 tblsp molasses, brown sugar, or corn syrup. This feeds
and breeds the aerobic bacteria. Sugar products are mostly carbon
which is what the microherd eat quickly. Add about 1-2 more tblsp of
molasses for every 3 days of aerobic brewing to make sure the sugar is
digested before touching the soil at application time, and to
guarantee that the aerobic bacteria population stays strong throughout
the brewing process. Molasses also contains sulfur which is a mild
natural fungicide. Molasses is also a great natural deodorizer for
fishy teas. For a more fungal tea don't add too much simple sugar or
molasses to your aerobic teas. Use more complex sugars, starches and
carbohydrates like in seaweed, rotten fruit, soy sauce, or other
3. Add 1-2 cans of mackerel, sardines, or other canned fish.
Supplied extra NPK, fish oil for beneficial fungi, calcium from fish
bones. Most commercial fish emulsions contain no fish oils and little
to no aerobic bacteria. Fresh fish parts can be used, but because of
offensive odors, it should composted separately with browns like
sawdust first before adding to the tea brew. NOTE: For those organic
gardeners who prefer vegetarian soil amendments, you can skip the
fishy ingredients, it's not necessary. There is plenty of NPK in
alfalfa meal and other grains that you can use.
(NOTE: If you use canned fish products, you may want to let it
decompose mixed with some finished compost, good garden soil, etc. in
a separate closeable container for a few days before using. Since most
canned meat products contain preservatives, this will guarantee that
the good microbes in the tea will not be killed off or harmed in brew
4. Add 1 pack fresh seaweed. Supplies all extra trace elements.
Seaweed can contain about 60 trace elements and lots of plant growth
hormones. Seaweed is a beneficial fungal food source for soil
microbes. Liquifying the seaweed makes it dissolve even faster.
5. Add 1-2 cups of alfalfa meal, corn meal, cattle feed, horse
feed, catfish or pond fish feed. Supplies extra proteins and bacteria.
Corn meal is a natural fungicide and supplies food for beneficial
fungi in the soil.
6. Add rotten fruit for extra fungal foods. Add green weeds to
supply extra bacterial foods to the tea.
7. Good ole garden soil is an excellent free biostimulant. Garden
soil is full of beneficial aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other great
microbes. Some people make a great microbial tea just out of soil.
Forest soil is usually higher in beneficial fungi than rich garden
8. Fill the rest of the container with rainwater, compost tea, or
plain de-chlorinated water to almost the top of bucket. You can make
good "rain water" from tap water by adding a little Tang (citrus acid)
to the water mix before brewing. Urine water is also an excellent
organic nitrogen source for teas (up to 45% N).
9. Some people like to add 1-2 tblsp of apple cider vinegar to add
about 30 extra trace minerals and to add the little acidicity that is
present in commercial fish emulsions. Many fish emulsions contain up
to 5% sulfuric acid to help it preserve on the shelf and add needed
sulfur to the soil. You can add extra magnesium and sulfur by adding
1-2 tblsp of Epsom salt to the tea.
10. Apply the air pump to the tea. NOTE: Some organic tea brewers
prefer not to use the air pump method. You can get some extra oxygen
in the tea by stirring it daily or every other day. The air pump just
makes the oxygen levels in the tea happen faster than by hand, thus
greatly increasing the rate of aerobic microbial growth in the tea. If
you prefer to use the air pump, let it bubble and brew for at least
1-3 days. (NOTE: The 3 days limit is just a good guideline. The real
test of brewing time is by your own sight and smell test, because
everybody's tea is different due to the various microbial species and
breeding activity that takes place during the brewing process.) The
aerobic tea is ready to use when it has either an earthy or "yeasty"
smell or a foamy layer on top of the tea. If not satisfied with the
look or the smell of the tea, go up to a week of brewing. The extra
brewing time will help the microbes digest more of the insoluble
bacterial and fungal foods in the tea and make it more available for
your plant's or your soil's nutritional needs.
Apply this tea full strength to get full nutrient levels per
plant, or dilute it from a 1:1 down to a 1:5 water ratio to spread the
beneficial microbes over a 1-acre garden area (mix 5 gallons of tea
per 25 gallons of rainwater).
To reduce straining, you can place all your ingredients in a
closed panty hose or laundry bag during the brewing cycle (don't use a
too fine mesh bag or the beneficial fungi can't flow properly through
Here's another method to avoid straining and to maximize the
amount of microbes in application: Simply turn off the air pump, stir
the entire mixture real hard, and then let the mixture sit still for
about 30 minutes. Scoop off the top juice straight into a watering can
You can apply with a watering can, or simple cup, or in a
sprinkling system. All compost teas can be used as a foliar feed or
soil drench around plants. They also make great compost pile nitrogen
and bacterial activators to heat up the pile for faster finished
composting. Always take the remains for teas and recycle them back
into your compost piles.
As stated, you can use your homemade tea as a foliar feed or as a
soil drench or both. Soil drenches are best for building up the soil
microbial activities and supplying lots of beneficial soluble NPK to
the plant's root system and the topsoil texture. Foliar feeds are best
for quick fixes of trace elements and small portions of other soluble
nutrients into the plant through its leaves. Foliar feeds are also
good for plant disease control. Foliar feeds work best when used with
soil drenches or with lots of organic mulches around plants. You can
poke holes in the soil around crop roots with your spade fork, to get
more oxygen in the soil to further increase organic matter
decomposition and increase microbial activity in the soil.
Aerated teas can also be used to greatly speed up the
decomposition process of hot compost piles. The extra aerobic microbes
in the tea will breed and cooperate with the aerobic microbes in the
organic matter in the compost pile.
You should not use any liquid soaps as a spreader-sticker agent in
a fertilizing/biostimulant tea like this. It can hinder or harm your
aerobic microbes that you just grew in the tea. You need to use better
products in your tea like liquid molasses, dry molasses powder, fish
oil, or yucca extract as a spreader-sticker.
A good aerated tea is very economical. 5 gallons can be diluted to
biostimulate an entire acre of garden via foliar spraying only. If you
soil drench only, it takes at least 15 gallons of tea, before
diluting, to cover an acre of garden soil. Also there is enough
aerobic bacteria and fungi in a good 5 gallon batch of aerated tea,
that is the equivalent of about 10 tons or 40 cubic yards of regular
These homemade aerated compost teas are just as powerful, maybe
more powerful, than any commercial natural or organic fertilizer or
soil amendment on the market today. And they are a lot cheaper too! So
have fun, be creative, and keep on composting!
Entered by CaptainCompostAL