Compost Tea Basic & Compost Extract Recipe
By Elaine Ingham
A basic tea recipe would be as follows, with the understanding that if larger or smaller quantities of water are used, change the amounts of additives relative to the amount of water.
25 gallons of water, aerated to remove chlorine, add two teaspoons of a humic acid solution (preferably humic acid extracted from your own compost).
1 to 2 tablespoons of humic acid diluted in 2 cups of water BEFORE adding to the compost tea water OR 1 to 2 tablespoons of fish hydrolysate (pre-diluted to neutralize the acid preservative according to the label on the container).
1/2 cup of kelp mixed in 5 cups of water BEFORE addition to the compost tea
5 pounds of good aerobic (good smelling, like deep forest soil) compost with excellent bacteria, fungi, protozoa in the compost. Using a microscope, assess the compost: Using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400X total magnification, there should be a MINIMUM of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficial nematode per drop.
Additional foods if needed to improve fungi: 1 cup steel cut oats, or bran flour, or shrimp shells (no protein on the shells!) put in the compost bag with the compost
Replace humic acids with the same amount of fish hydrolysate if the plants need a nitrogen boost
Place the compost (please test so you know the compost contains the organisms needed as indicated above) in the compost bag (0.5 to 1 pound per 5 gallons of water)
Briskly massage the bag for 30 seconds to a minute
Check the tea to make sure it has the organisms needed.
If not enough organisms, then extract another 0.5 to 1 pound, repeat if necessary until organisms reach minimum or desired levels.
If the compost you are using has good sets of organisms in it, perform the procedure above.
But if you do not know if your compost is good or not, then add foods (humic acid or fish hydrolysate, or steel ground oats, or bran or…..whatever fungal food desired) to the compost 3 to 7 days before extracting (good air flow around the compost, don’t let it get stinky).