Introduction: Compost Tea for Hydroponics and More...
These instructions are for encouraging living beneficial bacterial to take-up residence in your plant's roots.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR STERILE HYDROPONICS
To begin your compost tea, you must start with a good compost. Best results come from the Ancient Forest ready-made compost from gardening centers, but in a pinch you could use stuff you make in your own backyard. Compost is made from decaying organic plant matter – and you can put everything from yard trimmings to vegetable waste in your compost pile.
This tea will work wonders on your outdoor crops as well!!
I have found excellent results using a tea containing mycorrhizal - comes from the Greek words mykes, meaning fungus, and rhiza, meaning root. Mycorrhizal fungi are fungi that have developed a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the root systems of living plants, from garden vegetables all the way up to the trees of the Old Growth forests. Networks of mycorrhizal filaments envelop the seedling’s root structure, supporting the plant’s own ability to utilize water and nutrients in the soil. This relationship encourages healthy, vigorous growth. More information on this topic can be found here: MycoGrow
For a copy of my Indoor Plant Care Checklist visit my CoreConduit: Indoor Garden Controller System
Step 1: Consumables and Equipment
I recommend the following ingredients for a 3-5 gallon size batch of tea.
- Nylon stocking or similar mesh filter (cheesecloth)
- General Organics Ancient Forest 0.5 CF Humus Soil Amendment
- Molasses - Blackstrap, Unsulphured
- AZOMITE® trace minerals "rock dust"
- MycoGrow @ http://www.fungi.com
Use my DIY Bubbler Bucket
- 3-5 Gallon Bucket - cleaned cat litter container works great!
- Air pump
- Air stone
- Air tubing 1/4" PVC or Nylon
- Optional: Tubing Cutter
- Optional: 3-4" ABS Coupler or something similar that can be used in the same way.
Step 2: Fill It Up
Stretch the nylon stocking over one opening of the ABS coupler
- Add a healthy handful of the compost/hummus.
- 1-2 tablespoons of molasses.
- Approximately 1 tablespoon of rock dust
- 1 heaping teaspoon of MycoGrow fungi dust
Tie the stocking closed with a simple knot.
Fill the bucket with water and move to a place where it will be out of the way for the next 1-3 days but will also have access to an electrical outlet for the air pump. Kitchen, washroom, or garage?
Using the nylon or PVC tubing that fits the air pump connect it to the air stone(s).
Add the air stone(s) to the bucket.
Plug in and run the air pump continuously.
Use the lid or tie-off the stocking so that the compost mixture will soak in the bubbling water bucket.
Step 3: Keep It Clean and Brew-up More Tea!
Whether you are using compost teas from your garden or purchasing compost teas from garden stores and specialty retailers, there are a few things to remember before you start using them in your hydroponic systems. For one, compost teas contain organic material – and they are inherently a vector for fungus and bacteria because they contain live culture of both from the decomposition process. In short-term hydroponic grows, this is fine – since you'll probably harvest your plants long before the microbe concentration builds up to an intolerable level – but compost teas aren't suitable for constant use over a long time horizon. You will need to flush between growing cycles and plant changes and also check your nutrient lines to make certain that they are not clogged by algae. Like all nutrients, compost teas should be diluted before they are put into your hydroponics system – so treat them as though they were store-bought nutrient solutions and add water until the PPM range is approximately what it would be for the store-bought nutrients.
Looking for more?
- Check out the Garden Controller project!!