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Does compost tea go bad ?

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Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Tbites on 7/1/2011, 12:24 pm

Hello,

I collect rain water in rubbermaid containers and use it to fill 2L soda bottles. Last weekend, I filled 40 bottles but didn't want to throw out the other bin full of rainwater so I decided to try making compost tea with it. Hmmmm.... I could've gotten it wrong... [img][/img] Is this white stuff normal ? All I did was add about 5 liters of various composts to the rain water along with a a few drops of olive oil and covered the bin with its lid. It is under the balcony and gets very little sun other than the edges not covered by the lid because the container bulged.

Should I be stirring this ?

Thanks
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Tbites

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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Denese on 7/1/2011, 12:38 pm

I'm a little confused. Why did you put olive oil in it? I've made lots of compost tea, but have never heard of adding oil. I just put compost into an old pillowcase, then place it into the water and allow to sit a couple of days, then drain well, squeezing as much liquid out of it I can. I then store in clean gallon milk jugs till ready to use.
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Tbites on 7/1/2011, 12:42 pm

Sorry, I should be clearer, I've read to add a few drops of olive oil to a rain barrel to avoid mosquitos laying eggs in it. I had added the oil while collecting the rain.
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Denese on 7/1/2011, 12:48 pm

Oh, now I understand. Very Happy I don't have a rain barrel, so I hadn't heard of doing that. It's possible that the white is just a reaction of the compost tea brewing and the oil. Can't say for sure. Hopefully someone else will have a better explanation.

But, in answer to your title question. I've never had my tea go bad, and I've actually kept some over the winter in my garage, and used it the next season, and it was fine. Very Happy
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/1/2011, 1:23 pm

Compost tea is about the nutrients from the composting soil leeching into the water so the plants can more readily absorb them. It doesn't go bad. There is no chemical process that changes the actual nutrients.

There is, however, a difference between aerobic and anaerobic compost teas. The main difference is the smell. The smell comes from nasty bacteria breaking down the muck and giving off gases that smell horrid (in the absence of adequate aeration). However, even that doesn't affect the nutrients of the tea.

I wouldn't think twice about watering my plants with it. As a general rule, the worse it smells, the better it works. (That "theory" comes from my catfishing days as a kid and has no scientific bearing on gardening. Just a funny anecdote because the "richer" the manure compost, the worse it smelled when I was a kid, too.)
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Tbites on 7/1/2011, 6:24 pm

Thanks for the responses to both of you, I'll be sure to go sniff it later. Just so I know.... should I be stirring this periodically or just let it steep ?
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 7/1/2011, 6:50 pm

The real compost tea'ers on the web will tell you to drop an aeration stone in there with an air pump to bubble it for a couple days. But, I wouldn't do any thing to it, personally. But, if you take my route, be prepared for the stench. It's pretty bad.
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Re: Does compost tea go bad ?

Post  Tbites on 7/1/2011, 6:54 pm

Perfect... that's what my plan was... and considering how much I've spent this year on gardening (first time and all), your route is right up my alley FREE !! Now if my neighbours complain about the stench.... I'll cross that bridge then.

Cheers
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