What makes good tea? High diversity in both bacteria and fungi and protozoa. Here are some hints and tips that will halp you get the most out of your tea.
Hint: The quality of your compost directly affects the quality of your tea. Diverse compost = diverse tea.
- Understand that bacteria multiply quite easily. They will grow faster than anything else in your tea.
- Fungi do not really grow within most brewing cycles (48 hourse and under). However, if you agitate correctly you can extract fungi from your compost.
- Protozoa need a minimum of 24 hours to divide.
- Feeding too much can promote anaerobic activity even in adequately aerated brewers. This is because the bacteria will multiply as long as they have food. After they eat all the food, they go to sleep and attach to surfaces. As they build up they block air from reaching those at the bottom and anaerobes can start working.
- Temperature affects growing rates. Temps in the 70 degree Fahrenheit range promote the fastest growth.
- Anaerobes and pathogens are always present and will multiply if you create an environment for them to grow. Too little air, too much food, temeratures that are too high, and brewing too long are some of the reasons tea can become anaerobic.
- Brew for your application. If you are foliar applying your tea to food crops, you want to use good compost, a good recipe, lots of air and shorter brewing times. If you are inoculating a compost pile, you want longer brewing times and more food. If you are soil soaking, you want longer brewing times. With soil soaking, you want the whole spectrum of biology from bacteria to protozoa. This means you will have to brew longer.
- Apply your tea within 12 to 24 hours after brewing. Any longer and the tea becomes anaerobic. Too many anaerobes in your tea make for tea that can actually harm your plants. Try to get your tea on as fast after brewing as possible.
- KEEP YOUR BREWER AND AIR DELIVERY SYSTEM CLEAN. Clean it after every use. You don't have to sterilize it but clean off any scum or build up on surfaces. Use a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide if you notice organic build-up that doesn't clean right off.
- If you are using composted manures, make sure the compost is cured. Make sure you have enough air in your tea to inhibit pathogen regrowth. You will have pathogens in any manure product. If you brew correctly, you will create an environment that inhibits pathogen growth in your tea.