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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 8:37 am 
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Location: Little Elm, TX
I'm confused, & worried about my 25 gallons of compost tea I'm brewing...

I collect my compost leachate from the drainage of my raised compost beds, add this to a 30 gallon tub, add molasses, then airate tub with pump that induces air that circulates the leachate in tub very well. The only thing, this brew always is smelly, it never gets to that good smelling yeast smell you all talk about. Currently my wife is yelling @ me to get rid of this of the back porch!!!!!

It is 80 degrees plus now, is this a problem...Am I not getting enough air into the leachate???? Now I'm worried about using my brew because its always on the smelly side not the good yeasty side. Please help. Is compost tea bad to use when it on the smelly side? Owe, its been brewing for several weeks, & has smelt like a horses a_s since day one!!!!!

Thanks,

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 Post subject: sorry for the post
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 8:55 am 
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Sorry about my post...sometimes it gets confusing. :oops:

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 10:12 am 
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Most aerated tea experts like Dr. Elaine Ingham from SoilFoodWeb.com, do not recommend brewing teas over 3-7 days of aeration, and also not brewing too much with lots of extra dry molasses in aerated teas when outside temps exceed 85 degrees F.

Most aerobic bacteria and fungi have an optimal temperature range and optimal watery tea solution envrinment, that they love for maximum survival and growth in aerated teas. Some microbes like drier environments. Some like wetter. Some like room temperature. Some can handler cooler or warmer temps. So based on the quality of your tea ingredients, your outside temperatures, and length of brewing, you can grow a wide variety of different types of bacteria and fungi.

In my experience, it is so easy to grow bacteria, aerobic or anaerobic. They live in almost all types of tea conditions, no matter what your temps are, or how bad your ingredients are. The only problem is that only all the aerobic bacteria smell good, and totally are beneficial for all composting, soil building, and disease control. Some of those smelly anaerobic are harmful or even deadly to other beneficial microbes, soil, or plants.

Fungi are all aerobic, and they are hardly to get it right in teas. They require more aerobic compost loaded with good aerobic microbes and macrobes, lots of aertion, and fungal foods like molasses, seaweed, fish, rotten fruit, or even good rich forest dirt to get more fungi breeding in the teas.

I wouldn't say that your long brewing smelly teas are so bad that they have no use in the garden or lawn. As a matter of fact, any level of organic matter or few aerobic microbes will eventually improve any soil type. The challenge is getting more of the good guys growing in the tea, real fast, real good.

One way to get better smelling tea is by using longer brewing times. However the 3-7 day limit is usually the limit where the microbes explode in growth so fast, that usually after that time limit, they start eating each other!

Another thing you can do is take the old compost and other stuff's remains out of the juice, and replace it with better compost or more fungal foods in the old juice, add more molasses, and aerate the tea again until it smells better. This will give you more aerobic microbes per gallon too.

Some people use 2 or more bubblers per bucket or tub of tea to get even more maximum aeration to the microbes per gallon in the tea.

If it is too hot outside, don't use so much or any sugar products in your tea brewing. The microbes will grow too fast, turning the tea temporarily anaerobic again.

Hope this helps some.
Happy Gardening!

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 11:36 am 
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My tea is going on three weeks...the color turned from a brown carmel color to almost a black color & its on the smelly side.

The contents in the tea is about six cups of dried molasses in 30 gallons of compost leachette when I started the tea.

This tea I have worries me...I think I'll just get rid of it. I'll start over with a different batch.

So next batch should be 7 days max, move tub to shade out of the sun, get alot more air to leachette, & hope for a better smelling tea.

Thanks CompostCaptain,

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 11:50 am 
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Hey, buddy, 6 cups of molasses per 30 gallons of tea seems a little extreme!

Usually good teas with lots of other bacterial or fungal foods in them turn to a coffee brown color.

I only use a cup or less of dry molasses in my 20 gallon tub recipes when needed.

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 12:28 pm 
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If you were brewing tea in 65-70 degree water, you could use one ounce of liquid molasses per gallon of tea. Using 6 cups of dried stuff at 80 degrees seems to be the reason for your smell.

Warm water holds less oxygen than cooler water. Warm microbes reproduce faster than cooler microbes. Having more microbes means using oxygen faster than when there are fewer microbes. Therefore, warmer microbes use up the scant oxygen lots faster turning the tea anerobic no matter how much air you pump into it. Warmer teas will simply let the bubbles float to the surface instead of absorbing the oxygen from them. 80 degrees seems to be the magic point where no supplemental molasses should be used or you are going to go anerobic.

I would suggest pouring your current batch onto your compost pile. If you're making a 25 gallon batch, start with dechlorinated tap water. You can use the aerator for that. Once you're pretty sure the chlorine is out, put 5-10 gallons of compost in and let it go. If it smells bad after a few hours, the compost is a problem.

Excellent, finished compost smells fantastic! If yours doesn't, then you need to let it compost a little longer. Water it good and let it cook for at least another week. Fluff it up and check for smells. Check all around because a pile can smell good on top and the bottom smells rank. That's why we turn the pile or let it cook longer.


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 2:24 pm 
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Location: Little Elm, TX
Thanks alot for the replies,

I'll start a new batch of tea, 50/50 mixture of water & compost leachate...
add a cup of dried molasses, add a air stone pump with my circulating pump...put 30 gallon tub in shade & let it brew.

I'll check daily for smells. If it smells soon after a day or sooner, then its probably the compost in my raised bed.

When I bought my compost bulk loads...they said it was horse manure compost...maybe it wasn't fully composted?????

Thanks again for all the help.

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Little Elm, TX


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 3:01 pm 
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All the horse manure that I collect for my composting weekly for my personal use or for selling to my customers, is always pre-mixed from the equine clinics with lots of untreated sawdust and hay in it.

Also my mature compost that I use in my soil, or in my teas is never black (aka black gold). Only humus that is over 1-2 years in my soil is that black. I use my compost after 1-2 months of hot composting. It's color is dark brown, it's homogeneous, and always pleasant smelling.

I have never had any problems with smelly teas using the compost plus molasses alone. If I have smelly teas, it's always the other stuff that is my problem, like the old fish scraps or rotten alfalfa hay, etc.

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William Cureton


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 11:15 am 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
Lessons I have learned as I go into my four+ batch of compost tea.

(1) I start my tea with the BEST water possible. Since rainwater is often not available in Dallas, I use several of the hints found in the DirtDoctor Compost Discussion topics. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Tang (for every five gallons of tea) to de-chlorinate the water. Next I run my aquarium pump for 24 hours to get as much oxygen into the water as possible.

(2) Put my compost in nylon mesh bag and old panty hose so I do not have to filter the tea before dumping it on my lawn and garden.

(3) Mix all the ingrediants well (except compost) in my tub (I use an 18 gallon, $3 tub from WalMart). I do the MacBeth witches scene and stir the "cauldron" until everything is a thick soup (molasses, epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, alfalfa pellets, etc.) YMMV - Your Mixture May Vary, based on your receipe.

(4) Dilute my tea with de-chlorinated water. Use Tang and bubble air into 5 gallon buckets for about one hour. I dilute the tea 4:1 in my five gallon bucket. Then use a cut-out plastic milk carton to distribute the mix wherever it's needed in the yard.

(5) Finally, I ALWAYS take the compost used in the tea and put it back on my compost piles. It has made a noticable difference in the final result.

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There is a pleasure in the thought that the particular tone of my mind at this moment may be new in the universe; that the emotions of this hour may be peculiar and unexampled in the whole eternity of moral being. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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