Compost tea is a solution that improves the health of soil, which in turn improves the health of the plants that grow in
that soil. Scott LaFleur, of the New England Wild Flower Society, shows Dave how to brew compost tea using a special brewing machine.
Tags:How to Brew Compost Tea,brewing compost tea,brewing machine,composting with a brewing machine,Dave Epstein,growing wisdom,How to Compost,New England Wild Flower Society
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Growing Wisdom with David Epstein
Dave Epstein: Hi! I’m Dave Epstein this is Growing Wisdom. We’re here today in Garden in the Woods where they do things organically and they’ve been working with compost teas as well as other organics for many years. We’re going to meet Scott LaFleur the Botanic Garden Director at Garden in the Woods. Scott, I was watching you do some of this compost tea. It’s really good for the plants isn’t it?
Scott LaFleur: It’s fantastic for the plants. The thing that’s great about compost tea is you’re actually feeding the soil and it’s the soil that gives the plants the nutrients that they need not the fertilizer that you’re buying from the store and putting on.
Dave Epstein: Scott, when you talk about the soil, that sort of the unseen world for a lot of people and there’s a lot going on down there. Tell me about this soil web that you’ve been talking about and how this process is really benefiting that?
Scott LaFleur: Well at the New Wild Flower Society we’re always talking about the web of life, how plants and birds interact and work together. There’s a soil food web as well and in the soil we have protozoa, nematodes, bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi.
And those players in the soil food web break down nutrients and make them available to plants. So even when you’re putting manufactured fertilizer on your plants, they are not taking that fertilizer indirectly. That needs to be broken down and then made available to the plants.
Dave Epstein: So Scott, feeding the soil, how often and is there a time a day we should be feeding the soil?
Scott LaFleur: Yeah. Compost tea is UV sensitive. So, try to do it early in the morning or late in the afternoon is much better than a bright time of the day. The second thing is that compost tea needs to be used within hours of brewing it. So, it is a living solution. So, you want that solution to be alive as your applying it to the plants.
Dave Epstein: So the nest question I want to ask is can you do this at home?
Scott LaFleur: Yeah, Dave. We can definitely do this at home and I can show you how. We have someone set it up right over here to use.
Dave Epstein: Great. I like contraption, Scott. This looks fun. So, tell me step-by-step sort of what we’re doing here.
Scott LaFleur: First, take your finished compost and you’re going to fill the basket full of compost into the compost tea brewer. We’re going to add in water and then we’re going to give the compost and the micro-organisms something to eat by adding sugars or humic acids or kelp. You’re going to take the basket. You’re going to suspend that into the compost tea brewer and then we’re going to force air into that. And that whole process is going to create a situation where the microorganisms in your compost can multiply about 10 fold and become really beneficial to your plants and makes it easier to apply.
Dave Epstein: I brew a cup of tea for three minutes. How long does it take to brew this?
Scott LaFleur: 12 to 24 hours.
Dave Epstein: And then Scott, I’m assuming you just use this, pick it and put it into a bag pack sprayer or even a watering can.
Scott LaFleur: Yes. That’s right.
Dave Epstein: Awesome information. Cutting edge, love it and if I want one of these where do I get it?
Scott LaFleur: You can get one right here at Garden in the Woods or you can get a hold of us through our website; newenglandwild.org and we’ll ship one to you.
Dave Epstein: Perfect. Thanks a lot. Thanks, Scott and thank you for watching another edition of Growing Wisdom.