How do you know when the tea is ready?
There are three ways depending on your testing equipment and skill:
1. Does the tea have a nice brown color? Does it smell like good soil ? Does it have a nice foam layer? IT"S READY
2. Got a PPM meter? Got the foam, got the color, got a decent increase in PPM's? IT'S READY.
3. The Best! Get a microscope and learn how to use it. Minimum 400 power.
Typically brew time is 12 - 36 hours, depending on temperature.
How often should tea be used?
Varies with climate, crop, soil condition and most of all personal preferences.
Most clients use tea weekly, as I do.
Some apply tea with every watering.
Our Golf Course clients use tea weekly to bi-weekly on the greens and yearly to bi-yearly on the fairways.
A typical hydroponic or drip sysem will rotate: Water - Nutients - Tea - Water - Nutients - Tea - and so forth.
How long is the tea good for after brewing?
First rule: Never turn off the air pump until you are serving the tea.
Does Sunlight or UV's effect the tea?
It is best to spray tea at the end of the day. Normal UV's have little effect except in extreme conditions.
How does Temperature effect compost tea?
It is always best to brew and use your tea at ambient temperatures, be it 40 degrees or 95 degrees. Never use a heater.
Micoorganisms can survive at below freezing temperatures and can thrive at temperatures over 110 degrees, BUT they do not take sudden changes of temperature well.
Temperature also effects the lenght of brewing time. At lower temperatures you must brew a longer period of time to achive the same results as you would get at higher temperatures. At 40 - 50 degrees I brew for 36 - 48 hours. When the temperatures are close to 100 degrees the brew can be ready in as little as 8 hours
There is lots of talk about Chlorine, what's the story?
Chlorine and Chloramine are added to municipality (City) water to kill bacteria.
It will also kill the bacteria and microorganisms in your tea.
If you are on well water, this is not normally a problem.
Chlorine can be dissipated/removed by running your air pump for about one hour before adding the tea.
Chlorine can also be removed by a excellent quality filter, normally carbon.
Chloramine is a different story. It was designed to last a long time. It can be present weeks after being added to the water. Running the air pump will not remove the Chloramine.
Both Chloramine and Chlorine are removed by a Reverse Osmosis System.
Both Chloramine and Chlorine are also removed by adding Humic Acid (1 Oz per 10 gallons) Wait 10 mins.
How often and what is the Best Way to Clean the system?
Clean the system as soon as you have dispersed the tea, When the system is wet - DO NOT LET IT DRY!!
The biofilm when dry is difficult to remove. Smaller systems, use a terry cloth rag and a hose sprayer. Larger systems may use a low pressure, pressure washer and brushes.
I suggest a cleaning agent called OXICLEAN. It contains hydrogen peroxide which is excellent for disinfecting. Hydrogen Peroxide flashes off much faster the chlorine / bleach and is less problematic. Make sure you rinse the system completely. Let the system air dry, or use a leaf blower to accelerate the process. If you are going to run another batch before the system dries, make sure the system is thoroughly rinsed.
Why do I need to mount the Air Pump above the tank?
If there is a power failure and the system is not being monitored, the fluid can drain back into the Air Pump and damage it.
If the pump is mounted above the high water line or uses a Anti Syphon Loop this will stop the fluid from damaging the Air Pump