I’ve been learning how to make microbe rich compost tea. My friends at Microbe Tea Facebook Group are also advising me.
Compost tea is that fastest way to put life back into the soil that I know of, and can be simple and cheap. The microbes are mainly bacteria and fungi, which are in abundance anywhere and everywhere, covering nearly everything, floating around; and are already at your service waiting to come to a thriving life and be utilized where you wish.
First, I swept up some local plant debris: leaves, twigs, flower petals, rocks, dust, cobwebs, bugs; and put into a bucket. (There is already wild bacteria and fungi present on the debris, lying dormant).
Next ingredient is to add sugar. Any sweetener will probably work, but white sugar is sterile with no unknown organisms present. Sugar is the microbe’s food and what activates their metabolism to multiply fast.
Next, I filled the bucket with filtered water. (Be careful of city water that has chlorine).
Next is to add oxygen to the water by stirring with a stick, several times per day. Oxygen will activate the beneficial microbes and give an advantage over any “bad,” or anaerobic microbes that may feed on your plant’s roots.
Other considerations to add in is any organic material. Mulchs, composts, urine, blood, fecal matter, etc., but again, I’m going for simple and free.
Small patch of dead soil to use, a few feet by a few feet (meter squared).
This is the normal soil of Southern California: sandy, dead dirt, doesn’t hold moisture. There is hardly any rain and the government has declared a drought for the past several years.
Next, I transplanted a Back-to-Eden strawberry plant that Paul Gautschi gave us.
The strawberry is wilted from being unearthed a week ago.
I splashed some of the compost tea to get some microbial life started. I covered the dirt with local debris to protect the new microbial life. Covering the soil is the most important thing. The compost tea is only 24 hours old at this point, but I’ll sprinkle some of the compost tea course over the next few days.
Other websites have more rigid rules and make it in to a science, but hey–I’m just learning, watching what will happen, trying to keep it easy and simple.
I’ll let you know how the strawberries make out and see how fast the dead dirt will change in to living soil.
Some other thoughts:
There are ways to buy the microorganisms if you want a full spectrum–though, I do not know the benefits, though diversity always a good thing.
Also there is technology available if you want to scale up and apply compost teas on a broad scale. Large aerating tanks and back pack sprayers come to mind.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any other ideas.