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New To Organic Fertilizing-Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by *dim*, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    I can only get composted (dried) bat Guano where I live .... it's imported from various countries ...

    so, my brew will be compost tea (with a few extras)

    I have a recipe that was given to me by a person who practices hydroponics and that is supposed to be very good?:

    to make 5 gallons (using rainwater and not tap water):

    1/2 cup of worm castings
    1/2 cup of home made (fungal) compost
    1/2 cup of garden topsoil
    1/2 cup of forest topsoil
    3 ounces of soluble unsulphered black strap molasses
    1 ounce of maple syrup
    1 ounce of soluble kelp
    1 ounce of humic acids
    1 ounce of fish hydrolysate
    1/2 cup of volcanic rock dust
    2 tablespoons of rootgrow (Mycorrhizal Fungi)

    add the water in the bucket .... add a fishtank heater and set the temp to 25 degrees C .... add the pump with stone bubblers and let it bubble for a night

    next day, add the worm castings, compost, soils, and rock dust in a stocking, suspend it in the bucket

    add the molasses and maple syrup to the water, mix with a stick and let it bubble for 48 hrs

    then, just before removing, add the kelp, humic acids, fish hydrolysite and Mycorrhizal Fungi .... mix well and use as a foliar feed within 1hr -2hrs from removing from the bucket (use a coarse nozzle on the backpack sprayer) or it can be used as a drench around the roots .... use this undiluted

    for a higher P or N content, 1/2 a cup of dried bat Guano can also be added (some bat guano is high in P and some is high in N)

    any comments on this recipe?
  2. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    forgot to say .... the stuff in the stocking should not be discarded after the compost tea has been brewed .... it can be spread around the flower beds or around shrubs/trees

    the compost tea made in the above recipe can be used for the whole garden, including the lawn aswell as indoor potted plants and vegetables
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    That's a lot of stuff... lot of work... ideally you are providing a great range and balance of 72 nutrients, that we know of... I might stir up a batch for the vegetable garden, but it isn't cost effective or necessary to grow grass... :)

    When I learned to brew compost, it was the bag of compost suspended in the water and the bacteria/fungal ratio depended on ,'how long', you let it bubble...

    There is also the addition of 'food' and it sounds like you have a decent mix; however, I can't say at all, the condition of your ingredients at your various levels and time in the bucket...
    Fun to experiment though... :)
  4. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    you need a 5 gallon drum ... a fishtank heater, a decent airpump, an airstone, and a ceramic disk airstone, a 400 micrometer mesh paint strainer bag .... and you are all set to go

    fill the bucket 3/4 full .... good to use rainwater or pond water .... if you use tap water, there will be chlorine present, but its not a problem .... check with your water supplier if they also add chloramine .... if so, it's best to use pond water or similar

    add the circular airstone at the bottom of the bucket (the one I have is 200mm in diameter

    add the other airstone in the water, set the heater to 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and let it bubble for a day .... this will allow the chlorine to dissolve (if using tap water), and will bring the temperature up

    next day, add your dry ingredients into the paint straining bag (available from most paint shops), or, use an old clean large sock .... add the other airstone into the centre of the bag and tie it up

    immerse it into the bucket, but it must not touch the bottom

    add your molasses .... mix with a stick .... then let it bubble for 24-48 hours

    it should smell rich like compost/soil .... if it smells sour/rancid, don't use it

    switch off the pump/heater, add your other ingredients .... stir

    then, water on your plants as a foiliar spray and drench around the roots .... you can use it neat (undiluted)

    if using on lawns, get a backpack sprayer with a course nozzle (a fine nozzle will kill the fungi/bacteria ....

    do not pump with too much pressure .... (must be less than 70 pounds psi) then, use it as a foiliar spray on the lawn

    5 gallons goes a long way as a foiliar feed on lawns and you can do a huge area ... and you can dilute it to make more (50/50) (but don't use tap water, as the chlorine will kill the good stuff)

    always use it in the late afternoon and not in midday sun

    I'm still learning, and that is what I have learned so far ... hope it helps .... it works out pretty cheap when you have the main equipment .... lots of info on youtube
  5. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Why the need for the topsoil? You should already have the microbes from the castings and compost.

    Maple syrup? What will the syrup add that the molasses won't? Both are would be food for the microbes and the molasses will provide plenty.
  6. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    this recipe is derived from searching the internet and youtube and seeing what several people use in their compost teas, including those who grow giant vegetables for competition purposes ...

    from what I have learned, some plants prefer a bacterial-dominated soil, others want a fungal-dominated soil, and still others like a soil that's somewhere in between

    so, by adding some topsoil and some forest topsoil, you are adding diversity to your brew .... and it's free, so I will include it in my brews

    as for the maple syrup, I also have no idea why it is included .... but many use a dash of this with the black strap molasses, so I will do so aswell
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    What is the turf type and general climate?

    I can't imagine a high-end compost tea such as this not providing excellent results.
    I also like the blood meal idea. Spoonfeeding BM at about 5# / K is the ONLY way to use BM, regardless of climate.

    There have been a few instances where I've come across plots of turf that have had such tremendously high standards of routine organic maintenance that the caretakers had neglected to monitor an extremely important factor....soil porosity.

    Ideally, for our specific soil type here in Ohio (clay) what is heavy clay soil had been over time pounded with compost and other organics of various types, heavily aerated annually, completely tranforming it.

    But sometimes problems happen. Bad weather delays work. Turf isn't aerated in a timely way. Too much material is applied. Sometimes not enough O2 can get to all of it to break it down efficiently.

    I have personally sod-cut organic plots of 100% turf type tall fescue grass that appeared to have developed thatch.
    But I know better than that.
    Upon very close inspection, I discover this "thatch" is actually undecomposed OM of all sorts, absolutely starving for O2 in order to break it down.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I agree completely...

    The correct balance of air and water is a big factor in root zone as it is in the food web of the soil itself...
    I'm of the opinion that beneficial fungal activity can outcompete the pathogenic fungi if the air/water balance is maintianed... :)

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