Saturday, February 13, 2010

Home Made Compost Tea Brewer

As part of being prepared and learning to grow vegetables and fruit when the SHTF I have been researching alternatives (in addition to the Ruth Stout method) in enriching my soil so synthetic fertilizers will not be necessary, and one of the books I have read is called Teaming with Microbes.  This book gives a very easy to read explanation of the soil food web and all the microorganisms that should be in the soil to properly feed the crops.  It also explains the benefits of Compost Tea which is used to introduce beneficial microorganisms into the soil and onto your crops.  Having a healthy soil is vital in growing good looking and tasting vegetables and fruit.  If you are a farmer/gardener, which you should be, then it is vital that you prepare your soil and make sure the beneficial bacteria and fungi are included in your soil.  For me, the previous owner of my small farm tilled and used chemicals which destroyed the soil food web.  One indicator that will tell you if your soil is bad is if you do not have any earthworms in the soil.  If you dig a one foot square area and you do not have any worms then you can be sure that you do not have healthy soil.  This was how my soil was last year until I placed hay and mulch over the soil.  There were no worms to be found but after a few months the soil started to recover and worms started living in the soil.

So to increase the microorganisms in my soil I decided to build a compost tea brewer.  I based my brewer on this brewer plan created by Harvard.  For the most part, my compost tea brewer is the same except for the barrel.  I will be using a 50 gallon food grade barrel instead of a plastic garbage can since I could not determine for sure that the plastic garbage can was food grade.  In addition, I will be using a different air pump.  I have not obtained the air pump yet but I will be buying the EcoPlus Commercial Air 5 which was recommended by Tim Wilson of Microbe Organics which has a lot of good info about microorganisms and compost tea.   He has some good pictures of microorganisms if you are interested in that kind of thing, which I am for some reason. LOL

Also, I will not glue the pipes together.  With compost tea you need to be able to thoroughly clean the pipes or the tea will not come out right.

Below are some photos of my Home Made Compost Tea Brewer.  I will post more photos once I get my air pump and barrel. 

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!



  1. What would be the benefits of compost tea brewing over just plain composting? Not that I have a lot to compost...the hens take care of most of it. Just curious.

  2. I'll give you a quote from Teaming with Microbes. "But the chief problems with these two tools [compost and mulch]? They take a while to reach the rhizosphere. And neither mulch nor compost sticks to leaves. Plants generate exudates from their leaves, attracting bacteria and fungi to the phyllosphere, the area immediately around leaf surfaces. As in the rhizosphere, these microbes compete with pathogens for space and food and in some cases can protect the leaf surfaces from attack. You cannot immediately introduce this microbiology into the rhizosphere, or into the phyllosphere at all, with compost or mulch."

    So the benefits with compost tea is that you can apply the tea directly onto the plant leaves and the microorganisms will be able to attach themselves to the leaves and possibly protect the plant from disease. It also lets the microoganisms get into the soil and roots faster than compost.

  3. it's a liquid diet for vegetable plants. Makes sense. I've used trench/pit composting in my garden for about 5 years and we're beginning to see some improvement.

    Have you heard of using Epsom salts to help replenish minerals in the soil?

  4. Yes, it's suppose to get all the good stuff in the compost into the soil and plants faster. I'll let you know how it comes out. I probably have to buy a microscope to make sure the brewer is able to grow the microorganisms in the tea.

    I have heard of Epsom salt and used it in my garden last year. I plan to use some again this year.

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