How we make Compost Tea and keep our veggies healthy year around

We've been giving tours of our organic urban farm since spring of 2018 and this question always comes up.  How do we keep our veggies healthy year around?

For us the answer has everything to do with the soil, compost, worm castings and compost tea.  There are many different ways to make compost tea, we have our way of doing and this is how we do it.

Clean Water

Worm CastingsWe use a 50 gallon drone for making our compost tea, we have 2 of them which can be used simultaneously for making 100 gallons of compost tea.

We fill one drone with clean water, preferably we want rain water, but if it hasn't rained we can use potable water for as long as it sits for at least 24 hours.

Compost

To the 50 gallons of water we will add around 3 gallons of bacteria rich compost.  Compost is an important part of the mixture as it brings the bacteria we are trying to multiply into an environment that will encourage their growth and reproduction.

Worm Castings

From our worm operations area we will harvest worm castings, around 3 gallons worth of worm castings will be added to our 50 gallon drone.  The worm castings are full of nutrients and minerals, this is an important part of the mixture as it helps to feed the good bacteria we are trying to multiply.  Here is a blog post we wrote on our worm operations at our urban farm.

Compost TeaComfrey Leaves 

The leaves of this plant are used to help make powerful liquid fertilizers.  It is high in Nitrogen, Phosphorus,  Potassium, and many trace elements. Its high carbon to nitrogen value means that it does not deplete nitrogen from the soil, as it decomposes.  We will add around 20 leaves of comfrey in to our 50 gallon drone for our compost tea mix.

Molasses

This is the last part of our mixture, we will add what is equivalent to around 20 table spoons of molasses in order to help the reproduction and feeding of the good bacteria we are looking for.

Oxygen

The final step is to add a small fish tank air pump in to the mix.  The pump will send oxygen down the air lines which we have secured at the bottom of the drone with a pvc pipe.  The air lines have been clipped every inch of the line that sits at the bottom of the drone.  The lines add air to the drone which helps provide the good bacteria the oxygen they need in order to live and thrive.

Brew Period

Once the oxygen lines are in place, we will let the air pump run for 48 hours in order to give the bacteria enough time to grow and multiply.

Once the 48 hours are up, we turn off the pump and begin to filter out the water from the drone and add to the areas we wish to feed.  The feeding of compost tea in our farm is done once a week for all our grow areas.  In the near future we will look to add a water pump and a hose in order to bring the compost tea directly to the grow areas more easily.  For now we carry them out in watering cans which do the work.

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