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Growing Blueberries Using Aerated Compost Tea: A Practical Alternative to Growing Without Chemicals
In recent years, aerobically brewed compost tea has grown into a thriving business, producing commercial compost tea makers that brew thousands of gallons of tea per day. There is considerable enthusiasm for aerobically prepared compost tea, which is being used by more and more growers. There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence showing its ability to control plant diseases and blueberry diseases.
Aerobically made compost tea offers ecologically and economically sound answers to the problems farmers face due to chemical build-up in fields and groundwater. By helping the farmer overcome wilt problems, other benefits include healthier plants, higher yields, less irrigation needed, and better resistance to stress and drought conditions.
Aerated compost tea is perfect for acid-loving shrubs such as blueberry plants. Aerobically prepared compost tea should be the cornerstone of a fertilization program.
Compost tea made aerobically can help make the soil healthy. Healthy soil, in turn, resists diseases and insects and improves mineral content. A new group of growers is beginning to report remarkable results using aerated compost teas to promote plant health and control plant pathogens. In this age of chemicals, much of the soil has lost much of its health. Farmers and gardeners have felt that we need to use pesticides, fungicides, weed killers, etc. to grow crops successfully.
We think that if there is a bad pest or disease, we have to go out and kill it with pesticides. What we don’t realize is that there is a huge amount of beneficial life going on in the soil and in the leaves. When we go out to kill disease, we also kill many beneficial organisms. Its long-term impact is not only on the current crop and future yields, but also on future problems such as pollution. Over time, we kill more and more beneficial microbes in the soil.
As a result, not enough beneficial microbes (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes) remain in the soil to do much good. But now with aerated compost tea we can replace chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides with badly needed beneficial microbes. By using a composition path, your garden can now be safer and more environmentally friendly. Beneficial microbes in compost tea Increases plant growth and supplies plants and soil with nutrients, Nourishes beneficial organisms It also helps ward off disease and replaces toxic garden chemicals.
These beneficial microbes perform many functions, such as converting and releasing nitrogen into the soil. Use of chemical fertilizers over time; we find that we need more and more nitrogen because the microbes are not producing as much. Microbes also store nitrogen in the soil, but when they die, nitrogen and other nutrients such as calcium are no longer retained in the soil and leach away from sources that pollute groundwater, rivers, lakes, etc. pesticide chemicals also leach out, contaminating our precious natural resources.
A brief history of aerobic composting
Farmers used to make their own compost tea by placing a bag of compost in a container of water and letting it sit for a while. This compost tea was anaerobic and often smelly. In recent years, a new technology has been developed that replaces the stagnant water tank with a “brew” that oxygenates the water. This creates live, active microbes that are ready to go to work in the soil, which in the case of healthy soil is also an aerobic environment. This process has proven to be very successful and what sets it apart from old-fashioned tea is that it is completely aerobic.
Compost tea is the cornerstone of a healthy organic fertilization system
High-quality, aerobic, compost tea is made from compost and other natural ingredients. The “brewer” extracts beneficial microbes from these materials, and food sources are also added so that the microbes in the compost can grow. These microbes multiply many times during composting. Oxygen levels are kept high to ensure the reproduction and growth of these beneficial aerobic microbes. These microbes, when applied to the soil, repopulate the microbial population in the soil and leaves. These microbes perform a variety of tasks in the soil, including: breaking down crop residues, releasing nutrients when the plant needs them, storing nutrients, reducing overwintering diseases, attacking disease organisms, fixing nitrogen, releasing soil nutrients, especially phosphorus, and adding organic matter. back into the soil during work.
On leaves, microbes occupy space that pathogens can take over and form a physical barrier to pathogens. Therefore, it is important to establish these good microbes before any pathogenic invasion.
By adding these beneficial microbes back into the soil and leaves, you replenish the invisible army that was lost due to the use of harsh chemicals, so they can go to work for you. Less fertilizer is needed as these valuable microorganisms begin to repopulate the soil.
A Corvallis, Oregon blueberry grower (Bob Wilt) uses terms like bio-rich and nutrient-dense and will be happy to tell you how compost tea has helped. Wilt said soil health has improved drastically when growing organic blueberries using compost tea as the mainstay of his blueberry operation. The result is a healthier and tastier product with drastically improved soil health.
Compost Tea Formula.
Aerated composting is somewhat more complicated than non-aerated composting and involves oxygenating the microbes in the compost solution using a mechanical air pump (such as an aquarium air pump). Several compost tea brewers are now commercially available; you can also build your own.
A fairly typical recipe for carbonated compost tea is based on vermicompost with nutrients such as soluble kelp, humic acid and ground fish carcasses (ie fish hydrolyzate) and a small amount of peanut oil to reduce foaming.
The necessary conditions for tea production are as follows:
1. Water at room temperature
2. no chlorine in the water (aerate to remove gasses), if it is chlorinated let it freeze overnight
3. neutral water (pH 6.5–7.5),
4. oxygen is maintained above 6 ppm throughout the brewing cycle and
5. Good aerobic compost.
A recipe for compost tea that some are using now
100 gal. For chlorine-free water (let it stand overnight or aerate), use natural well water if possible.
30 pounds. from high-quality compost or vermin compost (worm castings); the quality of the compost is directly related to the quality of the tea
32 oz. organic molasses or pre-mixed nutrient mix (sustainable farming technologies)
16 oz. kelp flour soluble in cold water
Optional: Finely crushed shells of one to two dozen eggs may be added to fertilizer teas during preparation.
Note: Molasses is added at the end of making compost tea, but while aerating the tea. The molasses provides the microorganisms in the tea with sugars that they can eat and reproduce.
Depending on the weather, temperature, seasons, etc., different levels of microbial population will be produced in your tea. In the summer when it’s warm, you can expect your teas to steep faster and reach the most favorable microbial levels sooner than in the fall. it’s cooler.
Practically all knowledgeable organic farmers swear that kelp is an important component in making compost teas. Almost all kelp extracts used in agriculture come from the common North Atlantic kelp species Ascophyllum nodosum. Kelp contains about 60 naturally occurring major and micronutrients, carbohydrates and 18 amino acids, vitamins and naturally occurring growth promoting substances.
Over the years, farmers have found that they need to use more and more fertilizer to keep up with their crops. The main reason for this is that beneficial microbes are gradually destroyed during intensive farming due to the use of pesticides, soil compaction, extensive cultivation, etc. If these microbes are not replaced, nutrients are no longer retained. into the soil and leaches into the groundwater. By supplementing these microbes with high-quality aerobic compost tea, you put biology back into the soil that retains nutrients and greatly reduces or eliminates leaching.
Beneficial microbes in the soil are also natural predators of disease organisms. If these beneficial microbes are not present in sufficient quantities, disease organisms will proliferate, causing an increased need for chemicals. It takes time for the beneficial microbes in the soil to multiply and grow, so it is best to apply the crop from last fall this spring, although a spring treatment is still beneficial if it was not done last fall. Many diseases and microbes that overwinter in the soil need time to find food, reproduce and start working.
These microbes need food. Growing microbes without food has limited benefits, when applied to leaves the tea must be sprayed with an activator or microbial food to get the microbes started. An active bacterium secretes a sticky substance that adheres to its leaf. After the microbes have established themselves on the leaf, they begin to feed on the exudates of the leaf and the leaves on the exudates of the microbes. Aerobic compost tea is not a fertilizer, but is part of the whole fertilization picture. It contains biological life that greatly enhances the benefits of the nutrients already in the soil, but it is still important that the nutrients are well managed and balanced. Failure to do so will reduce the benefits of the tea.
Applying compost tea
Although the use of aerobic compost tea has many advantages for the grower, the tea must be used with biological laws in mind to ensure treatment success. Compost tea is a biologically active liquid concentrate of living organisms that spoils very quickly. It should be used as soon as possible after preparation. The millions of living microorganisms in the tea use up the available oxygen very quickly (within 4-6 hours of brewing), unless this oxygen is pumped into the air through the tea, the microorganisms die. Aerobic compost tea is a liquid rich in live bacteria, fungi, protozoa and more that are ready to go to work, but need to be given what they need to live and reproduce.
Certain principles must be kept in mind during implementation. Oxygen levels must be maintained until application, but with simple fish/aquarium equipment this is fairly easy. There are solid particles in the tea, so larger filters (>25 mesh) and therefore larger nozzles are required. If possible, it is recommended to use a diaphragm pump.
Aerobic compost tea should be applied in the cool of the morning or evening to allow the microbes to settle in before the sun is too bright. It is important to apply to the leaves at least 6 hours before rain so that they are not washed off before they set. If you are doing a soil application, it would be ideal during or just before a light rain.
Typically, compost tea is applied at a rate of 5 gallons per acre and at a temperature of about 65 to 70 degrees. If possible, use well water, not chlorinated water.
How often to apply
As a soil drench, it is recommended to use at least 2-3 times in each growing season. During periods of high disease pressure, the leaves should be applied every 10 days, because microorganisms do not live on the surface of the leaves for long…
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