Check out the view of the vortex from above in the 60 gallon Vortex Brewer…primal.
Maybe you’ve heard of compost tea? It’s possible that your local garden center sells it, or at least the means to create it…but what is it? Maybe you run a garden store and want to know the reasons why you should offer it? Or maybe you already have a Vortex Brewer in your home or store and want some tips on how to use it? It turns out that the way we think about it (our perspective) is FAR more important than following directions…let us explain.
The modern world trains us to be afraid of overusing things, and for good reason. The artificial materials we have come to rely on can be very dangerous if used incorrectly, think pharmaceuticals or Miracle Gro. Natural methods of medicating ourselves and growing plants are a different idea entirely and, frankly, deserve more respect.
To get an idea of the microbial diversity normally found in nature, consider that a measly teaspoon (!) of native grassland soil contains 600-800 million bacteria comprising ~10,000 species, plus perhaps 5,000 species of fungi, the mycelia of which could be stretched out for several miles. In the same teaspoon, there may be 10,000 individual protozoa of perhaps 1,000 species, plus 20-30 different nematodes from as many as 100 species. In other words, large numbers in advertisements are unimpressive. Equally as unimpressive are any claims to diversity. Guaranteed, companies making diversity claims are not doing DNA testing, besides we don’t even know everything we’re looking for.
Bottom line, microbial diversity is needed in order to garden naturally, especially in indoor grow rooms where the plants are exposed to unnatural energies and the plant cycle tends to be shorter. Diversity cannot be created in a lab, diversity is created by nature. One of the disconnects in the compost tea conversation is that too much emphasis is placed on what’s in compost tea, not how it works in natural systems. If a claim is made regarding exactly what is in a biological product, then a human created it and its shortsighted.
For instance, Genesis Compound is created by hand in whisky barrels buried in the ground for up to 12 months. All of the microbes responsible for creating this magical material grew up together in a synergy that cannot be reverse engineered…or made in a lab. Most biological products on the market are either isolated organisms grown to very high concentrations or accumulations of known microbes who have never met each other in their lives. Our attempts at control cripple us.
If you are handing our compost tea in a grow store or received a FREE gallon at your local garden center, at the concentrations being brewed it is impossible to burn a plant. We use ours to water our plants directly. Burning a plant is a result of reversing the osmotic gradient in the root system by using too many salts (ions) outside the root, forcing water to leave the plant. We call it “burning”, but it is actually a water stress. While compost tea is a fertilizer, it is primarily a biological inoculant. For peace of mind, use a nutrient meter to prove this to yourself. Bottom line, one cannot use too much compost tea unless the plant is being overwatered…period.
The fertilizer aspect of compost tea is determined by the food source used – molasses, kelp, fish, guano, etc. However, what makes it unique is the living aspect of it. You cannot buy something alive off of a shelf.
Now, compost tea can be diluted significantly in order to be used biologically. The more you dilute the compost tea, the less of a fertilizer it is because you are diluting the physical minerals. However, when you dilute compost tea, in regards to the biological situation, the microbes are still alive, so when they are used in a living system (garden/hydro system/compost pile, yard, etc.) they proliferate. Obviously, the more concentrated you can deliver the microbes the better and faster they will work, but make sure you realize that it can be diluted up to 17x’s!
We have experienced measureable results using as little as 5 gallons of compost tea per acre. We like to tell people that what we are handing them can inoculate their entire front yard! An easy way to get people started is to challenge people to think about how much solution they are going to need. Say they imagine it takes about 5 gallons of solution to get to their entire veggie garden. Have them dilute the gallon you give them in 4 gallons of water and tell them to water it in to see how far it goes. If it is twice as much as they need, tell them to dilute it in 2 gallons next time. If it only goes half way, tell them to put it in 9 gallons of water next time. Bottom line, you can’t use it wrong. We recommend (1) cup per gallon when used in a hydroponic system.
Simply put, compost tea is a living solution. It is growing microorganisms in the presence of oxygen and a food source. Some claim to produce “living solutions” that are not “compost teas”, but this is merely rhetorical gymnastics. A living compost tea solution is a double-edged samurai sword to the maladies of your environment, being both a means of inoculating vital, reproductive biology into your soil and onto the foliage of your plants, and a way to distribute plant-available nutrients to the foliage and soil in order to feed the organisms and associated plants and bring balance to ecosystems.
A plant growing environment- whether it is in a soil or soilless situation- is much more than merely a plant and fertilizer. For instance, up to 70% of the energy produced by photosynthesis in plants is sent down to the roots and delivered to the rhizosphere as food for microorganisms. These exudates, as they are called, are a clear indication of the importance of the symbiotic relationship between micro-biology and a growing plant. The picture on the right illustrates endo-mycchorhizal fungi feeding on root exudates.
The same give and take is in effect for our bodies, such as the symbiotic work accomplished by microorganisms in the intestines, which help our bodies process and synthesize food into a form that is proper for bodily nourishment. In fact, there are more foreign cells from microbes in and on a healthy human body than there are human cells. In the exact same way, a compost tea acts to reinforce the intestine of your landscape, garden, or farm by allowing for the cycling of nutrients, in a way designed by nature over billions of years for health and proper nourishment.
With this in mind, it is plain to see how the same environmentally nourishing properties cannot be attributed to man-made synthetic artificial materials. These “technologies”, as they are deemed, are merely manifestations of taking the path of cheap least resistance, or, they have a bottom line in mind, not vitality. Further, we don’t just eat minerals in our diets, we eat amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, etc.- termed ‘bio-catalysts’- in the foodstuff we ingest, especially in raw food. The same is true for a plant. These bio-catalysts are not found in processed synthetic industrial by-products sold as ‘fertilizers’. However, they are found in natural products and within vital systems, where living life assumes its natural role of nutrient cycling and symbiosis.
Many of the products manufactured in the “hydroponics” industry are geered towards exactly these concepts. They are derived of isolated and concentrated biological products, such as amino acids and enzymes, in order to use them in a controlled clean-slate soilless scenario. The idea is that these beneficial compounds are not found in only water and a simple mineral hydroponic solution. We get these beneficial compounds, albeit not in such a concentrated manner, for free from a living solution.
A living compost tea solution can allow a homeowner, farmer, or grower the flexibility to stay away from dangerous agricultural chemicals to maintain their soil por hydroponic operations and allow their plants to truly thrive.