The reason we brew compost tea is we want to grow nutritious vegetables and fruit. The key to nutritious produce is trace minerals.
Equipment required for compost tea makers:
If your bucket isn’t new, it may contain some bacteria that you don’t want in your tea, so you may need to clean it before using.
Mix together a cleaning solution of equal amounts of vinegar and water and wash the bucket.
Make sure to rinse it out really well before using it for compost tea making.
Compost tea makers should provide a good source of air bubbling up through the water.
You can purchase an aquarium air pump rated at 5 to 15 gallon tank capacity at Wal-Mart or a pet store. I purchased my pump (shown to the right) for $6.77 at Wal-Mart.
You will also need to buy one or two “stones”, a weight that sits in the bottom of your bucket and diffuses the bubbles. I purchased two 5" stones at Wal-Mart for $1.78 each. They work great!
To keep your air pump from getting wet, place it 2 or 3 feet from the bucket. It's also good to put the pump either higher than your bucket or for your air hose to rise above the bucket a few inches to keep from getting tea back into the pump.
Run your air hose from the pump over the top of your bucket, and down to your “stone”.
I used a dab of JB Weld epoxy (found at most hardware stores) to glue my 2 stones to the bottom of my bucket, so they don't move when I stir my tea. This provides a perfect air bubble pattern.
A gang valve, which hangs on the top of the bucket, splits one air hose to two to four, to supply air for multiple stones.
As you can see in the bucket photo above, I instead used a 1/4" "T" in the bottom of my bucket to split the air line in two. This means only one airline to avoid while stirring my tea.
Another option is to purchase a single stone with a larger area for diffusing the air bubbles.
If you don’t want to invest in an air pump, you may be able to supply enough oxygen to your tea by stirring it every few hours or pouring it back and forth between two buckets (called boxing).
When you finish brewing your compost tea, it should have an earthy smell. If it stinks, it means it didn’t get enough oxygen, and anaerobic bacteria took over.
To me, it just makes sense to invest in an air pump.
Compost tea makers are so cheap to build. The above is pretty much the only equipment you need.
My pump, 2 stones, 1/4" hose, and aquarium thermometer all together cost me around $15. I already had a bucket. A pint of molasses cost $2.50 at Kroger.
Compost tea inoculates the plant and soil with a host of beneficial microbes. That is why it is so good.
A high quality soil conditioner can do this, plus a whole lot more. It can:
Please check out my home page, Healthy Vegetable Gardening, for more ideas on growing a healthy, life-giving garden.
After extensive research, the items in this right column are ones that my family and I have found useful, and I trust
that they may be helpful to you as well.
Concentrated sea minerals,
blended with herbs,
and olive oils.