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Compost & Compost Tea with Marney Blair

May 05, 2009 -

Our conference room was packed on Saturday for Marney Blair’s composting workshop and with good reason… Marney had us all sitting on the edge of our seats as she explained micro-biological activity! She’s a great teacher, full of passion and endless knowledge to share.

If you missed the workshop, we’re planning to have her back to teach us all more soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few token highlights from my conversation with Marney.

Q: What’s your favorite informational resource on composting?
A: The Rodale Book of Composting

Q: As a biodynamic farmer, what’s your favorite book?
A: Principles of Biodynamic Spray & Compost Preparations by Manfred Klett

Q: What is compost tea used for?
A: Compost tea is a biological inoculant that increases vigor and plant health. It can be applied to the soil and leaves where the microorganisms will make nutrients more readily available to the plant. It is not a fertilizer and it cannot replace all the benefits of compost. It can be applied to fruit trees or other crops to prevent disease or to aid arrested crops that may have been shocked by dramatic temperature changes, for example.

Q: How do you make compost tea?
A: There are many different brewers available, but the basics are that you combine

  • 1 quart of high quality compost in a mesh bag in a
  • 5 gallon bucket of water to which you’ve added
  • A couple tablespoons of compost tea catalyst OR 1/4 cup molasses (this catalyst helps tease the living microorganisms out of the compost and into the water/tea which you will then spray on your plants. “Everyone likes sugar!
  • Add an aerator or fish pump, or simply stir every hour. The microorganisms need air to breath and stay alive.
  • Brew for approximately 24 hours and then use immediately, diluted 1 part tea to 10 parts water.

I really enjoyed myself at Marney’s workshop and learned more than a few things myself! The “ah ha” moment for me was when she said that compost, when finished, will have a neutral pH! Even when you use a base of oak leaves or pine needles (both of which are acidic)? Yes! This is great news since my yard is covered with nothing but pine needles and oak leaves.

Categories: Composting, Compost Tea Brewers, Composting, Compost Tea Brewer

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