Brewing Tea for the trees
The past week we have been brewing a lot of tea to feed our trees. Not tea as you might know it, and brewing does not involve a kettle. In this case we are talking about Compost Tea.
In recent classes with Peter Ash we discussed the process, benefits and application of Compost Tea. There maybe skepticism regarding Compost Tea, but our experience has been positive. We notice the trees are more vibrant and fruit is healthier and tastier with regular applications of Compost Tea.
Compost Tea is different from compost extract or compost leachate. The primary difference is the brewing process.
We use the chlorine free water from the pond to fill the brewer. The mature compost is placed in a sack or porous bag, hung from the top of the tank. (See Brewing Tank below). The compost ingredients used by GreenFriends : worm castings, oat flour (a complex carbohydrate to feed fungi beneficial to trees), sea kelp, fish/crab hydrolsate protein, humic acid. Some tea is brewed 3-5 days ahead of time by using worm castings and oat flour made a little moist to allow time for the beneficial fungi to populate.
At GreenFriends we make approximately 140 gallons at a time. The brewing is done in a barn, shaded from the sun. The Compost Tea, has a short life span and is used within a day or so of brewing.
How do we get the Compost Tea to the trees in the orchard? It will take 3 trips to empty the brewer. This is where “Kubo” is a real work-horse. It will carry a 50 gallon tank, plus 2-3 jugs of 5-gallons of tea, and a 12v battery and pump. (see Kubo below).
A hose is connected to the tank leading to buckets by the trees. Kubo will be parked uphill using gravity to deliver the compost tea. Our normal application is one gallon of Compost Tea for each tree.
In some situations we have to pump the Compost Tea from Kubo into the buckets. We have a 12v battery, an inverter and pump.
Why use Compost Tea? Our experience has been positive. The fungi in the tea attach themselves to the roots of the tree and break down nutrients in the soil so the tree roots can easily assimilate them and nourish the tree. The fungi multiplies in the soil creating nutrient- absorbing webs. Trees support each other through the web of fungi life in the soil as the trees communicate their needs to each other through their roots in the soil. The application of Compost Tea helps nature go to work to loosen our clay soils for air and water to move, and helps sandy soils retain water and nutrients.