Actively Aerated Compost Tea and Compost Extract

What Are the Main Differences?
  • Compost extract has no aeration and will percolate into soil because microbial glues are inactive

  • Compost tea is aerated and will stick to plant surfaces- these take typically 18-24 hours, sometimes 48 hours

Do Compost Teas Do Any Benefit?
  • Given the right amount of microbial biomass per acre or per gram extracted out of compost

  • Must be AEROBIC (no toxic compounds produced from anaerobes) - this can be done easily with a clean brewer and no sandy dead spots on the bottom.

  • With enough aeration anaerobic activity can be reduced from original composts

  • Microbes send the wrong signals to pesky insects and form walls on plant surfaces so pests cannot detect the plant stress signals (plant verbenone).

  • They do work, in fact Spinosad commonly used for organic foliar sprays is a soil bacterium. In teas the exact species are not known as in compost or as concentrated but they are mostly harmless saprobes which produce compounds which may effect the behavior of insects.

  • There is no explicit bio-control to regulate in compost teas and a diversity of microbes will not allow one species to win out over all. 

  • If composting is done correctly, hot enough long enough, and no living host is present for microbes to consume, there is no selection for anything that harms living things as composting is completed. Meaning the microbes consume only the remaining debris, not having the enzymes to function beyond that.

  • Apply until soils are established with a plant beneficial food web- if work is done well only needed the first year while working on the soil to protect plants.

  • Aerated Compost Tea (not extracts) can be applied to foliar and prevent pests from detecting plants

  • Occupy the surfaces of plants to prevent other plant damaging insects or microbes from consuming plants, and therefore out-compete the pests with plant beneficial microbiology

  • Extracts can be used to add nutrients for plants and microbes to sustain soil without adding bulky debris (though the organic matter from composts help build soil).

  • To grow microbes for soil in aerobic tea with limited supply of compost

  • Inoculate mycorrhizae (this is not as simple as adding spores to tea)

  • Increase soil fungi