Compost tea is a pro-biotic for the land….much of the negative environmental effects of soil erosion and land degradation we are now seeing from the agro-chemical industry has come about from killing the biology in the soil with chemicals….so the best way to remediate and stimulate fertility is to add life back to the soil in the way of compost tea. In this way we can use microbes to do the work of re-storing the soil structure in the earth.
Earlier this year I took a soil fertility course with Paul Taylor of Trust Nature (http://trustnature.com.au/), where I learned to make inoculum compost, actively aerated compost tea, and bio-fertilisers out of organic inputs.
In order to make actively aerated compost tea we take some inoculum compost (compost made with cow manure as a base, as this is an excellent source of beneficial microbes, + vegetation from your local area including weeds). The compost tea is then brewed in a specialised compost tea brewer – this brewer has been tested by Elaine Ingham’s Soil, Food, Web (http://www.soilfoodweb.com.au/) to ensure it provides the correct amount of aeration, correct diameter of holes (so as not to squish the microbes) to grow the maximum amount of aerobic bacteria and active compost tea. We brew for 24 hours then immediately put the tea out onto our bio-intensive cropping beds.
The compost tea can be applied monthly for severley degraded land, or in intensive cropping and greenhouses….maintenance doses are 4 times a year, or once a season.
The increased microbial activity in the soil and plants mean that more nutrients are made available to the growing plants as they are required through nutrient cycling thus boosting long term fertility and plant fertilising.