PDA

View Full Version : Going Organic


Pristine1
02-03-2009, 09:21 AM
Hi everyone, I know you probably get asked a lot of questions regarding the organic approach and its benefits. I am totally sold on it, I've seen the benefits of compost in my planting projects.

I have decided to focus my business on organic lawn care and maintenance (Don't want to have my lawns cut at 2" by the mow-blow-and go outfits!

My question is this: Where do you get your compost tea from, and also where are some good places to look at brewers for a do it yourselfer? If I don't have a lawn sprayer yet, what are your suggestions? I have a few ideas on how to treat my customers organically, but I'm not ready to invest in the sprayer yet.

Thanks in advance, and these forums are fantastic!

NattyLawn
02-03-2009, 10:29 AM
www.microbeorganics.com --50 gallon Microbulator 50
www.simplici-tea.com --5 gallon KIS brewer and compost tea "kits"

How are you going to brew tea and have no sprayer? Backpack sprayer?

ICT Bill
02-03-2009, 10:37 AM
There is an excellent group of folks that have been practicing organic land care for over 20 years at NOFA, also the Ecological Landscaper Association (ELA) meeting is coming up in 3 weeks in springfield MA
The ELA always has sevral brewer manufactures there. Tim Wilson who is on here often makes a great design and cost effective

http://www.ecolandscaping.org/
www.organiclandcare.net
Dive in and get edumacated

Pristine1
02-03-2009, 12:13 PM
www.microbeorganics.com --50 gallon Microbulator 50
www.simplici-tea.com --5 gallon KIS brewer and compost tea "kits"

How are you going to brew tea and have no sprayer? Backpack sprayer?

I guess that would be my next question....do you all brew tea in your sprayers or do you need a separate brewer. I could easily go out and build a sprayer, I believe that from what I've read here, one needs to be careful about killing off microbes with too much PSI and too small of an opening on the nozzle.

I have the ability to pick up a high end client base quickly, so money won't be as much an issue, I am just trying to put together my spring plans, and then take it from there.

Mr. Nice
02-03-2009, 12:49 PM
There's many ways to brew and spray.

If I was you I would start small....like brewing 1-5 g batches.
See how that goes?

Spend lots of time researching organic methods and the principles of it before you make any major investments?.

Do you own a microscope? you will need one.

treegal1
02-04-2009, 09:51 AM
you need to brew your own tea, buy one or make your own, don't even ask about the how to now, its all out there, your in for some reading time. I make and use my own high end brewers.

and yes get a microscope!!

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 10:24 AM
I have been reading a TON and I am pretty confident in a lot of this. I have been looking at the brewers, they seem relatively simple to make. A major question that I have is what are the app. rates for the tea? Also, how much compost is required to make this tea? Finally, if anyone is using "worms", how much space is needed to create a big enough environment for that to work? Thanks for all of the great advice and attitudes here!

treegal1
02-04-2009, 11:00 AM
I have been reading a TON and I am pretty confident in a lot of this. I have been looking at the brewers, they seem relatively simple to make. A major question that I have is what are the app. rates for the tea? Also, how much compost is required to make this tea? Finally, if anyone is using "worms", how much space is needed to create a big enough environment for that to work? Thanks for all of the great advice and attitudes here!
tea rates are based on the # of live ones and the dilution rate, how much depends on the compost #s to start......

the worms can be done in a pail or shoe box, if you only need that little???

1 of my 2 beds are 1142 square feet, and they cost like a small home, or you can use a box of any size as long as they warm and feed its all good

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 11:06 AM
To start I'm not going to need too much, but I have found that getting the work is never a problem, getting the help to do the work is! That, however, is more from the design/install side of things. I will have 10 properties to start and the total turf on them averages about 12k sq. ft.

I like the idea of the worms, just need to learn a lot more and put together the bed for them!

I'll keep reading and ask as I go! Thanks everyone.

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 11:45 AM
Once you are well versed at making AACT you will be better able to build a brewer to fit your needs. Like I said start small first. 50g and under to start.

IMHO Tim Wilson makes the best brewer for the money, and the support he can give is priceless. www.microbeorganics.com

I use about 3-5 liters of compost for a 50g batch of AACT, but that will depend on your compost source? There's many different ways to feed the tea as well. A little goes a long way, This is where a DO meter comes in to play.

You can read all the books in the world but nothing compares to real field experience making it.

I don't want to scare you off but you will need a microscope, I can't stress that enough.
It's the only way to really know whats going on. Making REAL AACT should never be a guessing game.....

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 12:04 PM
Thanks Mr. Nice. I'm not scared at all, just trying to weigh the most economical way to get this off the ground. A microscope is no problem, and I will look further into the 50 gal brewer. I have a few different sources of compost. One is a seafood compost that has manure in it, the other is a sludge based compost. Not too keen on that, but need to do more research. My concern with both is that they have been composting for a year before I get them and sometimes they are very hot. Does this kill of the beneficials? This concern is leading me to consider starting a vermicompost operation. What are everyone's thoughts on all of this???

treegal1
02-04-2009, 12:09 PM
I love my worms but the seafood compost has some things that you want!!, the sludge is a good N source, but don't try and brew with it(just off the top of my head) as a worm chow with some wood waste compost then you have something!!. if the old compost does not look great under the glass then find something else..........

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 12:22 PM
I would say stay away from anything that might contain pathogen biology or compost thats of questionable makeup and cure time, if you don't make your tea right guess what? you will grow out the bad bugs if you don't brew correctly. This is one of the many reasons why to use worm cast.

Since you only need a small amount of compost to make tea, find and buy the best worm castings you can find, local better but perhaps find something online or at a grow shop.

Maybe treegal can help you find some?

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 01:09 PM
I have had fantastic results when planting perennials etc. with both composts, I just don't have an analysis of it. I am up in Maine, and not sure if there are any "wormers" of scale up here, but with 3' of snow on the ground, I have some time to research!

My thought process to get started is this: Soil tests for everyone, and I plan on topdressing with the biosolids, just to get some good and fast results on green up, and also to get that OM into the soil ASAP. (BTW I have the papers on the bio solids, and they are certified here by the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association)In the mean time, I will be working on either the worms or a source, or just use one of my typical sources of compost to brew the tea in. I am about to put out a mailing to about 400 properties in my target (V. high end and likely to want organic) area.

As far as a fert. product, if these are lawns that are coming off a synthetic program, should I plan on some granular "organic" fert apps or just go hard on the tea?

treegal1
02-04-2009, 01:51 PM
tea and compost, more compost the better.......... i will get back to you about some casts and worms, its real easy.

http://www.wormmainea.com/.
or give me a call and I can help you find some at a lower price. normal is a $ or 2 per lb

Marcos
02-04-2009, 02:00 PM
Hi everyone, I know you probably get asked a lot of questions regarding the organic approach and its benefits. I am totally sold on it, I've seen the benefits of compost in my planting projects.

I have decided to focus my business on organic lawn care and maintenance (Don't want to have my lawns cut at 2" by the mow-blow-and go outfits!

My question is this: Where do you get your compost tea from, and also where are some good places to look at brewers for a do it yourselfer? If I don't have a lawn sprayer yet, what are your suggestions? I have a few ideas on how to treat my customers organically, but I'm not ready to invest in the sprayer yet.

Thanks in advance, and these forums are fantastic!

Pristine,
You say you're.... "going" organic.

Does this mean you already had a somewhat-established landscaping business of some type?
If so, did you take the time to query your existing customers about how they might react to the new direction & philosophy of your business?

Lack of communication, or poor communications in general can be attributed to about 95% of humanity's problems today.
Get everything on the table as soon as you can with your past existing customers, if they're still in the running for the 2009 season.

Most importantly, Pristine, listen carefully to your customers' NEEDS.
Don't get in the habit of LECTURING to them..."what they need".

They likely won't confront you & tell you "you're wrong" or anything like that; they'll usually just send you a letter along with their last payment, essentially telling you to buzz off!

Over the last quarter century, I've been down the road of bridging from chemicals to organics.
Been there. Done that.
And along the way, some things admittedly have been learned the hard way! :waving:

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 02:08 PM
Thank you Marcos. I do have an existing landscape business, been focusing mostly on design and installation, with a few weekly mowing accounts. All of my customers are interested in an organic approach. I've been top dressing lawns with compost for a few years now, I also mulch the lawns I mow instead of bagging....unless there is about 6" of leaves! Many of the people in town that I know are also keyed in to "greening up" the world. Maine in general is a pretty "green" state....or at least many of the people that live here are, so I am confident that it will go over well....As long as I can provide that nice green lawn. I don't think it needs to be perfect, but certainly 99% turf and green would be good.

We have a few "organic" lawn care companies here, but none are truly organic. I'm pretty good at the communication/education (sales) part of the business, so again, I feel confident or maybe optimistic is a better word!

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 02:15 PM
tea and compost, more compost the better.......... i will get back to you about some casts and worms, its real easy.

http://www.wormmainea.com/.
or give me a call and I can help you find some at a lower price. normal is a $ or 2 per lb

I just found that website a minute ago! I guess I may be over estimating the amount of compost I am going to need to get going. If I'm making say 500 gal/week to start, how much compost (roughly, I know what you said before about the actives in the compost) will I need? He isn't far from me at all, so I will contact him and stop down to chat.

Another question I have is how many apps of tea/year? I'm planning on doing about .5" topdressing after aerating this spring. Should I do a second app of compost this fall?

Thanks so much for taking the time with me, I've been on the cusp of this for about 5 years now, and have decided to "just do it"! Your help has already taken me light years further into getting it done.

treegal1
02-04-2009, 02:26 PM
first that's going to take a 250 gallon brewer to get started, just to start, then say 200 lbs of compost 100 lbs per brew, or worm casts about say 75 lbs per brew??? then cut that down with water. that place in Maine says they charge 15$ per lbs for worm casts, that's like a 30 x markup, i am in the wrong markets............

Marcos
02-04-2009, 02:30 PM
Thank you Marcos. I do have an existing landscape business, been focusing mostly on design and installation, with a few weekly mowing accounts. All of my customers are interested in an organic approach. I've been top dressing lawns with compost for a few years now, I also mulch the lawns I mow instead of bagging....unless there is about 6" of leaves! Many of the people in town that I know are also keyed in to "greening up" the world. Maine in general is a pretty "green" state....or at least many of the people that live here are, so I am confident that it will go over well....As long as I can provide that nice green lawn. I don't think it needs to be perfect, but certainly 99% turf and green would be good.

We have a few "organic" lawn care companies here, but none are truly organic. I'm pretty good at the communication/education (sales) part of the business, so again, I feel confident or maybe optimistic is a better word!

Never been to Maine, but I've been all through Vermont before skiing and I understand it's quite similar in many parts.


Frankly, the green movement here in Ohio is slower than molasses on a witche's be-hind.
Compared to the Pacific Northest, California, and the Atlantic seaboard, we're a light-year behind.
But we're moving ahead as fast as it is, being careful not to overstep its progress...thus becoming organic business martyrs like some companies have become before us.

You hit the nail right on the head, Pristine.
More than anything else, It's all about........ "relationships". :)
Good luck to 'ya :waving:

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 02:37 PM
Maine is a quirky place. I grew up and started landscaping in NJ, with all of the competition, prices are held in check. Up here, there really isn't a lot of competition for anything...except maybe snowplowing....so that guy could almost name his price! That is why I would consider doing the worms myself, so I better talk with him, and then look into suppliers of waste materials to feed the worms!

Now for the brewer.....I will be researching that and will need to figure out how to build one! Stay tuned for more questions, I can already feel them coming on!

phasthound
02-04-2009, 02:53 PM
Maine is a quirky place. I grew up and started landscaping in NJ, with all of the competition, prices are held in check. Up here, there really isn't a lot of competition for anything...except maybe snowplowing....so that guy could almost name his price! That is why I would consider doing the worms myself, so I better talk with him, and then look into suppliers of waste materials to feed the worms!

Now for the brewer.....I will be researching that and will need to figure out how to build one! Stay tuned for more questions, I can already feel them coming on!

Where in NJ?
Make sure you get to the ELA show in Springfield MA.

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 03:03 PM
Grew up in South Plainfield, did landscaping in Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon Counties. Mostly Hillsboro, Montgomery, South Brunswick, and Princeton areas. I am going to try and get to that, gotta work out the kid stuff with my wife!

Pristine1
02-04-2009, 03:06 PM
Ok, there is a ton of stuff on compost brewers out there....no surprise I guess! One that caught my eye is the "BobOlater". Odd name, but seemed decent. Also had a 500 gal brewer/applicator, not sure if that is realistic due to the amount of brew time needed.

Anybody know anything about this brewer???:confused:

treegal1
02-04-2009, 03:28 PM
you want a cone based high air, known design. look at the features like does it come with a pump? does it use that pump to get the tea to the truck?, air pump life??? is it easy to clean?? open top and all that?? can you repair the tank if its damaged or is it a poly tank that is meant for static liquids??? is it stock parts that are available even if the manufacture is gone later??? did they teach you about it or let you go it on your own???

then there is the cost..................

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 07:34 PM
Getting warmer.....

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 07:37 PM
Start small and things will become clearer...

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 07:43 PM
That's of course if you don't have money to burn...

Mr. Nice
02-04-2009, 08:29 PM
If you are truly serious about making good product and understanding for your self the micro world??

You will need a microscope. You can find cheap scopes on ebay I believe but If you got It? buy a new one, if possible get one with phase contrast. High end scopes are valuable instruments and life long investments that lose really little value as long as you take care of them? You Do Not need to have a 1000+ scope to get a view of the micro world. Ive seen bright field scopes on ebay starting at hundred bucks that would do the job?

You could wing it making tea's and not get a scope as some don't have them:confused:but you will never fully understand what you got.

Did I mention about a Dissolved oxygen meter needed so you can tell if your tea is aerobic or has gone anaerobic:cry: that's a bad thing making AACT.

Start with great worm cast, and go from there learning to use other types of biology sources.


get a five gallon bucket, couple small air stones, some tubing, and the best dame little aquarium air pump you can find under 50 bucks.

O'yeah you will need some food to feed your bugs

Black strap molasses , liquid kelp or meal"Fine grind", Fish Hydrolysate"not emulsion" Use these in different proportion's accordingly.
These are the basics, the sky the limit when it comes to what you could possibly use to feed but lets keep it simple for now? Use at lest one of those or even table sugar will do you fine.

You will be surprised how little you will need to feed when brewing "remember the DO meter?"

Start making 1-2 gallon batches and give it a go.
once your there some will help you with recipes?
Put under scope and view....Life? who?
Now you have your scope you can take soil and compost sample's too and view what most can't see:)

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 09:40 AM
Thank you Mr. Nice! I will be checking ebay today for the 'scope, and then playing around with a 5 gallon bucket before I "invest" in a full blown brewer....just so I know what my best choice for compost is.

In terms of a sprayer, is 2 gal/1k a good baseline for spraying CT? I will probably build my own to start, so I may go with a 100 gal tank and go from there. If I should plan on more per thousand, then I will need to up my tank size.

Also, ballpark #'s only, what should I expect to need to charge per square foot? I know that there are a lot of variables in this, so I know it would be a rough number.

Thanks again for all of the info, I feel like a sponge right now!

phasthound
02-05-2009, 09:43 AM
Grew up in South Plainfield, did landscaping in Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon Counties. Mostly Hillsboro, Montgomery, South Brunswick, and Princeton areas. I am going to try and get to that, gotta work out the kid stuff with my wife!

Cool, I do a lot of work in the Princeton area.

treegal1
02-05-2009, 10:07 AM
you are going to need to spray more like 5-10 gallons of diluted tea per K. water is the carrier to get the micro herd down in the soil, so that they can find a place to hang out....

Mr. Nice
02-05-2009, 10:12 AM
I like to use at the lest 1 gallon+++ of concentrate to as many gallons I can put down for a good soaking in per thou.

A far as price per??? that will depend on a million things??

A old timer gave me good advice one time on that.

Look into the air..........grab a number......there you go....you got your price:)

treegal1
02-05-2009, 10:15 AM
Looked into the air and grabbed about 150$ per acre.

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 11:02 AM
If you have to put down so much diluted, why not go with the concentrate at a lower rate. Just my weak math skills here, but I would think that by putting down 10 gallons per K, you obviously must have a huge tank (1000 gal?) in order to get through a day.

Also, up here, I know the synthetic guys are getting about $115/app for a 35K lawn. Don't know if that is cheap or not, I'm working on some market research. I do, however, think that by going organic, the personal involvement on each property should command a premium price. Thoughts???

One other option I have here is that I can pump water directly out of a river. Do it all the time with a hydroseeder (rented). How viable is that for a water source....I am currently on a well, so would be a little worried about running that thing dry in the summer. The river isn't polluted (too much!) so what do I need to worry about with that?

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 11:05 AM
Cool, I do a lot of work in the Princeton area.
Great area to work in, obviously, lots of ca$h! My brother lives in Hillsboro, so I get out there once or twice a year. Been in Maine for 10 years now, don't think I could ever go back!

treegal1
02-05-2009, 11:14 AM
no large tank, just 200 gallons. after say an acre or so you will need more tea, so you have to re fill or carry a pony tank with just tea and then find water that will work for diluting the pony tank load. or just get back to your base and refill. load more compost and get back out there. my area is small, 20 miles max drive on the long side of things. I plan well and conserve trips as best as possible.

there are limits on how much compost and tea you can hold at one time. the stuff is big and heavy!!!

JDUtah
02-05-2009, 11:39 AM
If you have to put down so much diluted, why not go with the concentrate at a lower rate. Just my weak math skills here, but I would think that by putting down 10 gallons per K, you obviously must have a huge tank (1000 gal?) in order to get through a day.

Large tank for sure. Out here I can get away with a 750 gallon tank on a trailer and stay under DOT regs (I do not have the setup yet, I plan to spend 18 grand on that trailer).

You are not just going for a foliar application. You want these living bugs to get into the soil. Moist soil is the place for a soil microorganism. (Does CT breed out soil microorganisms? Some experts believe 'not exactly')

If you just apply the living bugs over the top they may dry out and die before getting to their new home.

Plus if I remember right TreeGal has found out that droplet size is a big factor in microbe survivability. Apply high volume (at relatively lower pressure) and minimize the chances that you will shred the bugs when they come out of the gun.

Just a couple thoughts.

Then again, you can skip the CT and go straight for the microbes + food + soil building compounds + some mineral nutrition = compost...

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 11:51 AM
Thanks Utah. The first thing I am going to be doing on all my lawns is top dressing with compost (actually, the second, soil test first!). From what I've gathered, that will supply the turf with a good soil conditioner and at least some N. Not sure what the microbe pop is on my local supply of compost, so that is where the tea will come in. If I have a good compost with thriving microbes, does it then make sense to treat the CT as a foliar app? Also, if applied while soil is moist, can that help to reduce the amount of CT needed?

By the way, why so much for a trailer to haul that. I rent a 600 gal. hydroseeder and it is on a 16' heavy duty landscape trailer. I'm assuming that the 18k includes a bigger sprayer and lots of bells and whistles!!??

treegal1
02-05-2009, 12:13 PM
wow thats some big coins!!! I would not even go there.

JDUtah
02-05-2009, 12:48 PM
It will be a slick custom job. Bells and whistles for sure...

It isn't a CT trailer so to speak. In fact, I am not a believer in regular CT applications.

Big coins? Yeah, but if it does what I expect it to do... *drool*

Mr. Nice
02-05-2009, 12:48 PM
Imo good AACT provides more then just microbes?

With out a doubt compost is king! are all compost created equal?

Tea's and foods apps are just tools in the bigger picture of things. All situations are different, to me organic practices should never be set in stone. Use whats needed at the time and go from there to meet your goals. if your grow needs immediate N? use urea or other?? just keep your EC under 1..

Use what appropriate, situation depending. There are no silver bullets, not even compost is one." of course depending on existing conditions"

I know a good soil drench and light foliar app of tea at the same time does wonders for turf ,tree's shrubs, annuals/perennials:)

If your soil test comes back with super high OM, good nutrient profile and a truly active complete
microbe community? is compost necessary? If you start with great soil? water properly mulch clippings if turf and feed accordingly if needed..?

Moral of the story? What are your goals? take appropriate measures to complete grow.
There is no SET way to apply tea's or anything for that matter..they are tools, learn about and how to use them correctly.

As far as what to charge??? it really depends on what your client expects and your market will allow.

I find most in this biz use a synthetic program wrapped in a organic matter bow:confused: because it's easy and marketable.

Again it will become clearer over time what works, what doesn't, whats real and whats not? Im not criticizing but there's many ways to do it.

Again what does your costumer expect from you???
can you give them a realistically/economically priced program to meet their needs.

It's up to YOU to explain the realities of organic's, whats possible and whats not given the situation and economics. and what you are capable of doing for them?

GOOD LUCK!

We haven't even addressed the weed issue yet?:laugh: Don't make it complicated, be realistic with your costumers...

treegal1
02-05-2009, 12:52 PM
Imo good AACT provides more then just microbes?

With out a doubt compost is king! are all compost created equal?

Tea's and foods apps are just tools in the bigger picture of things. All situations are different, to me organic practices should never be set in stone. Use whats needed at the time and go from there to meet your goals. if your grow needs immediate N? use urea or other?? just keep your EC under 1..

Use what appropriate, situation depending. There are no silver bullets, not even compost is one." of course depending on existing conditions"

I know a good soil drench and light foliar app of tea at the same time does wonders for turf ,tree's shrubs, annuals/perennials:)

If your soil test comes back with super high OM, good nutrient profile and a truly active complete
microbe community? is compost necessary? If you start with great soil? water properly mulch clippings if turf and feed accordingly if needed..?

Moral of the story? What are your goals? take appropriate measures to complete grow.
There is no SET way to apply tea's or anything for that matter..they are tools, learn about and how to use them correctly.

As far as what to charge??? it really depends on what your client expects and your market will allow.

I find most in this biz use a synthetic program wrapped in a organic matter bow:confused: because it's easy and marketable.

Again it will become clearer over time what works, what doesn't, whats real and whats not? Im not criticizing but there's many ways to do it.

Again what does your costumer expect from you???
can you give them a realistically/economically priced program to meet their needs.

It's up to YOU to explain the realities of organic's, whats possible and whats not given the situation and economics. and what you are capable of doing for them?

GOOD LUCK!

We haven't even addressed the weed issue yet?:laugh: Don't make it complicated, be realistic with your costumers...
stand up and take a bow!!!! well said!!!!!


I tell folks that ask about an organic method sure i can sell you an airplane, but can you fly the thing????

Mr. Nice
02-05-2009, 12:55 PM
You are not just going for a foliar application. You want these living bugs to get into the soil. Moist soil is the place for a soil microorganism. (Does CT breed out soil microorganisms? Some experts believe 'not exactly')


Maybe start with soil with those organism's for your brewing? just a thought;)

JD, 18000 for a spray rig?

DUSTYCEDAR
02-05-2009, 12:56 PM
Ok for 18k what would you get?

Mr. Nice
02-05-2009, 12:58 PM
O thanks Tree! see what us rope smokers are capable of? JK....:waving:

JDUtah
02-05-2009, 01:17 PM
Ok for 18k what would you get?

A souped up version of what you already have. One that pushes the limit of customization... like McDonalds cooking 48 hamburgers at once with the push of one button...

DUSTYCEDAR
02-05-2009, 01:29 PM
OK so it will have Racine stripes? chrome wheels?

Kiril
02-05-2009, 02:01 PM
I'm gonna be the black sheep here and suggest looking into extraction instead of AACT given the volume you are considering. If you have a cheap and plentiful supply of compost, this could potentially save you much money on startup costs.

JDUtah
02-05-2009, 02:33 PM
OK so it will have Racine stripes? chrome wheels?

Haha, spinners, 16" subs, tinted tank, the whole bit...

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 02:45 PM
I'm gonna be the black sheep here and suggest looking into extraction instead of AACT given the volume you are considering. If you have a cheap and plentiful supply of compost, this could potentially save you much money on startup costs.

OK, just as I thought I was getting my head wrapped around a program, now I'm back to the beginning!LOL

So what is the difference between extraction and AACT???

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 02:47 PM
Imo good AACT provides more then just microbes?

With out a doubt compost is king! are all compost created equal?

Tea's and foods apps are just tools in the bigger picture of things. All situations are different, to me organic practices should never be set in stone. Use whats needed at the time and go from there to meet your goals. if your grow needs immediate N? use urea or other?? just keep your EC under 1..

Use what appropriate, situation depending. There are no silver bullets, not even compost is one." of course depending on existing conditions"

I know a good soil drench and light foliar app of tea at the same time does wonders for turf ,tree's shrubs, annuals/perennials:)

If your soil test comes back with super high OM, good nutrient profile and a truly active complete
microbe community? is compost necessary? If you start with great soil? water properly mulch clippings if turf and feed accordingly if needed..?

Moral of the story? What are your goals? take appropriate measures to complete grow.
There is no SET way to apply tea's or anything for that matter..they are tools, learn about and how to use them correctly.

As far as what to charge??? it really depends on what your client expects and your market will allow.

I find most in this biz use a synthetic program wrapped in a organic matter bow:confused: because it's easy and marketable.

Again it will become clearer over time what works, what doesn't, whats real and whats not? Im not criticizing but there's many ways to do it.

Again what does your costumer expect from you???
can you give them a realistically/economically priced program to meet their needs.

It's up to YOU to explain the realities of organic's, whats possible and whats not given the situation and economics. and what you are capable of doing for them?

GOOD LUCK!

We haven't even addressed the weed issue yet?:laugh: Don't make it complicated, be realistic with your costumers...
Yeah, that weed thing has been in the back of my head, but I think that will be a little more manageable. Worst case scenario, I have to spot spray. The way I will be selling it to my customers is that a healthy stand of turf is the best weed control, and the best way to get that is organically treating the soil. But don't worry, I'll most certainly have some questions about weeds!

NattyLawn
02-05-2009, 03:13 PM
OK, just as I thought I was getting my head wrapped around a program, now I'm back to the beginning!LOL

So what is the difference between extraction and AACT???

The basic difference is you're stripping the microbes off the compost and not adding any foods for them to multiply. The microbes are kept in a dormant state, and then in turn have more "shelf life". 5-7 days typically. You will use roughly 5 times more compost. Some systems can do 3000 gallons per hour. You don't have the wait time to brew. This is used a lot on farms and systems that treat a lot of acreage.

treegal1
02-05-2009, 03:13 PM
So what is the difference between extraction and AACT???

brewed you grow out the biology and extracted you are just removing the existing biology............

JDUtah
02-05-2009, 03:14 PM
brewed you grow out the biology and extracted you are just removing the existing biology............

poor poor leftover compost... it's all alone :cry:

:laugh:

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 03:23 PM
brewed you grow out the biology and extracted you are just removing the existing biology............

So brewed, we are basically creating our own concoction. Extracted, we only get what the compost has??? If one were to extract, then what makes the microbes active once they are applied?

One other question that I have is this: Up here, we don't begin to see warm (65+ degrees) regularly until late May. How will that affect the application of the microbes? Will the colder temps kill them, or do they just move a lot slower?

I ask that because I am trying to put together a bus. plan for this and just want to know when I would realistically be able to apply CT.

treegal1
02-05-2009, 03:37 PM
well...........as soon as its above 40F, IMO ( hold on while i put on the flame suit) the compost tea, brewed or extracted is going to have nutrients and biology in it at almost any temp. how active or dormant the biology is??? its still there., try and brew at the soil temp. I think the real answer is what is the plant/grass doing, is it dormant or is it alive and growing, there by up-taking nutrients that it needs to grow. yes at low temps the thermophiles are going to take a hit but the mesophiles are going to still be there. some mesophiles, said to be psychrotolerant, exhibit slow growth at lower temperatures, they include soil microbes that must be able to survive temperature extremes. hope this helps some............

Kiril
02-05-2009, 03:38 PM
I think the real answer is what is the plant/grass doing, is it dormant or is it alive and growing, there by up-taking nutrients that it needs to grow. .

I think I agree. ;)

phasthound
02-05-2009, 03:40 PM
As long as the ground isn't frozen, you should be OK.
Does it ever thaw in Maine? :laugh:

treegal1
02-05-2009, 03:40 PM
I think I agree. ;)dang it man, rod said you know it all:waving:

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 03:45 PM
As long as the ground isn't frozen, you should be OK.
Does it ever thaw in Maine? :laugh:
Yeah, for like a week in late July and early August....then its back to snow plowing!!!

Actually, I am right on the coast, so our mowing season starts about the 3rd/4th week of April....depending on temps. So I was thinking that an app. in May would be my first.....compost topdressing would happen from the 1st/2nd week in April into May.

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 03:47 PM
poor poor leftover compost... it's all alone :cry:

:laugh:

That also crossed my mind....what to do with the left over compost??? Feed it to the worms in my soon to be vermicomposting ad-venture!??

Pristine1
02-05-2009, 03:51 PM
well...........as soon as its above 40F, IMO ( hold on while i put on the flame suit) the compost tea, brewed or extracted is going to have nutrients and biology in it at almost any temp. how active or dormant the biology is??? its still there., try and brew at the soil temp. I think the real answer is what is the plant/grass doing, is it dormant or is it alive and growing, there by up-taking nutrients that it needs to grow. yes at low temps the thermophiles are going to take a hit but the mesophiles are going to still be there. some mesophiles, said to be psychrotolerant, exhibit slow growth at lower temperatures, they include soil microbes that must be able to survive temperature extremes. hope this helps some............

This is a lot of help. The grass usually needs a first mow by late April. I would guess/hypothesize that if I have good soil to begin with, then the grass will green up nicely, and then with the apps of CT a few weeks later, it will continue on.

Gotta go pick up one of the kids and get her to soccer!!!! I'll check back later....thanks to you all for all of this great info! I know that this will take off with the right marketing.

Kiril
02-05-2009, 03:53 PM
dang it man, rod said you know it all:waving:

I can safely say I know what I know. :laugh:

Kiril
02-05-2009, 03:54 PM
That also crossed my mind....what to do with the left over compost??? Feed it to the worms in my soon to be vermicomposting ad-venture!??

Treat it just like any other compost. :)

bicmudpuppy
02-05-2009, 06:05 PM
I can safely say I know what I know. :laugh:

And I will also attest that you think you know what you think you know and sometimes what you think you know take a different tangent from what I think I know so that what I think I know is different from what you think you know, but you think you know what you think you know and I think I know what I think I know................................(and it just gets uglier exponentially)

For those that doubt, there are pages in the irrigation forum that prove the above :dizzy:

Kiril
02-05-2009, 09:07 PM
For those that doubt, there are pages in the irrigation forum that prove the above :dizzy:

.......... indeed, :laugh:

ICT Bill
02-05-2009, 11:09 PM
So brewed, we are basically creating our own concoction. Extracted, we only get what the compost has??? If one were to extract, then what makes the microbes active once they are applied?

One other question that I have is this: Up here, we don't begin to see warm (65+ degrees) regularly until late May. How will that affect the application of the microbes? Will the colder temps kill them, or do they just move a lot slower?

I ask that because I am trying to put together a bus. plan for this and just want to know when I would realistically be able to apply CT.

it really makes no difference, the microbes that are able to be fermented in the brew are the same ones that would typically be available at that temp

no worries, as a good friend of mine says

YOU CAN' DO IT WRONG YOU CAN ONLY DO IT BETTER

treegal1
02-05-2009, 11:33 PM
oh jah, long day Bill???

fermented:hammerhead: Oxidative phosphorylation ???

is the A in ACT stand for anaerobic????? and you forgot the T

yeah I gots me a big book today.............

Pristine1
02-06-2009, 11:22 AM
oh jah, long day Bill???

fermented:hammerhead: Oxidative phosphorylation ???

is the A in ACT stand for anaerobic????? and you forgot the T

yeah I gots me a big book today.............

Say what??!!

treegal1
02-06-2009, 12:07 PM
Fermentation is the process of deriving energy from the oxidation of organic compounds...............

Kiril
02-06-2009, 12:45 PM
Fermentation is the process of deriving energy from the oxidation of organic compounds...............

You forgot something. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermentation_(biochemistry)

treegal1
02-06-2009, 12:49 PM
my box is on the fritz, thanks.....

that was in response to bill posting about tea fermenting...

Kiril
02-06-2009, 12:52 PM
http://www.websmileys.com/sm/crazy/265.gif

treegal1
02-06-2009, 12:58 PM
yea yea, I suppose it does not even mater now as some of this thread is missing???? and i did try and post the link with it but????:laugh::laugh:

edit, its all in my box sorry, new pc time.................

Pristine1
02-06-2009, 03:00 PM
OK, I'm back and armed with questions....been out most of today so had time to think while driving!

So I get a phone call from Mr. Future Customer and when I get to his lawn, it has some grass, and a good amount of broad leaf/grassy weeds. As an organic guy, I don't want to spray the heavy stuff, but as a businessman, I need to perform and get that lawn looking great in a cost effective (short of tearing up the whole lawn) manner, quickly.

This customer is totally unhappy with his current "synthetic" service and cannot stand weeds in his lawn.

Realistically, what's my approach?

By the way, this is totally hypothetical!

JDUtah
02-06-2009, 03:06 PM
OK, I'm back and armed with questions....been out most of today so had time to think while driving!

So I get a phone call from Mr. Future Customer and when I get to his lawn, it has some grass, and a good amount of broad leaf/grassy weeds. As an organic guy, I don't want to spray the heavy stuff, but as a businessman, I need to perform and get that lawn looking great in a cost effective (short of tearing up the whole lawn) manner, quickly.

This customer is totally unhappy with his current "synthetic" service and cannot stand weeds in his lawn.

Realistically, what's my approach?

By the way, this is totally hypothetical!

A-bomb.. when the radiation fades 'plant' with astroturf.

Nah, blanket a selective post, good starter fert (aka compost) and overseed. Teach them to mow at right height and irrigate appropriately. Organics is based on a functioning system.. if you have to "cheat" to establish the system that is ok in my book.

Pristine1
02-06-2009, 03:22 PM
Thank you Utah. That is kind of what my feelings are.....get rid of all of the bad stuff in one shot, start fresh with a good renovation. Any other successful approaches to this?

treegal1
02-06-2009, 03:26 PM
if the lawn is not 70% or more good grass then spray it and lay it and start over. Don't try and raise the dead

DUSTYCEDAR
02-06-2009, 04:11 PM
WHAT IS THE BUDGET?????
i would hate to see you lose a job on overkill if that is not what they want/afford
you have to learn them on how it works and go from there sometimes.

Mr. Nice
02-06-2009, 06:16 PM
Dusty,

Good advice.:weightlifter:

Pristine1
02-06-2009, 06:41 PM
I can always come up with a solution for money issues, may not be the easiest approach, but if they don't have the $$, then they better have patience!

Prolawnservice
02-06-2009, 06:41 PM
Soil test or read the weeds, then amend accordingly(as the budget permits), if you can time it right no nukes are necessary, provide the proper growing environment for the desired turf and seed seed seed, or talk the customer into recommissioning the weedy or problem part of the lawn into a bed/garden area.

Pristine1
02-06-2009, 06:58 PM
Soil test or read the weeds, then amend accordingly(as the budget permits), if you can time it right no nukes are necessary, provide the proper growing environment for the desired turf and seed seed seed, or talk the customer into recommissioning the weedy or problem part of the lawn into a bed/garden area.

This is exactly how I approach my existing landscape customers, one just has to be creative with their approach and show the customer that you are concerned about their situation. Great answer and thank you Prolawn!

treegal1
02-06-2009, 10:09 PM
Soil test or read the weeds, then amend accordingly(as the budget permits), if you can time it right no nukes are necessary, provide the proper growing environment for the desired turf and seed seed seed, or talk the customer into recommissioning the weedy or problem part of the lawn into a bed/garden area.nice......:waving:

Kiril
02-06-2009, 11:32 PM
Soil test or read the weeds, then amend accordingly(as the budget permits), if you can time it right no nukes are necessary, provide the proper growing environment for the desired turf and seed seed seed, or talk the customer into recommissioning the weedy or problem part of the lawn into a bed/garden area.

I agree. Do what is necessary to get rid of the weeds, but more importantly, establish a healthy soil and high density turf.

Of course the preferred solution is get rid of the turf! :clapping: