Compost Tea Feeding Schedules

 Compost tea made with all liquid ingredients

Compost tea made with all liquid ingredients

Compost tea can be an effective strategy for balancing feeding schedules. But in the case of compost tea, more is not necessarily better. In fact, over application can actually cause significant soil imbalances. Many times, the problem of over-application of compost tea becomes compounded when the soil remains over-saturated for too long after the application of compost tea, especially if it is being used at every watering. If the microbes have a big boom cycle but then the soil is water logged, the bust cycle will lead to a much quicker anaerobic state, which can lead to a number of different problems.

There are many instances where compost tea is only applied 1x month to outdoor plants with excellent results. Just because you are seeing excellent results with compost tea, doesn’t mean that adding more will work even better.

Feeding Schedules for Rapid Growth

 This compost tea was tank mixed with a few biostimulants just prior to watering.

This compost tea was tank mixed with a few biostimulants just prior to watering.

  1. Liquid Fertilizer

  2. Compost Tea

  3. Water

A very successful regime observed in Humboldt County involves transitioning between liquid fertilizers, compost teas and watering.  So one would use their liquid fertilizer on the first watering, the second watering would be the compost tea and the third watering would be plain water. Depending on site specific conditions, you may want to repeat that schedule or mix and match in different patterns. Some growers dilute the tea and some apply it as full strength. Sometimes they mix it with liquid fertilizers. Some growers pre-amend their soils with organic fertilizers and then simply use compost tea periodically (~1x-2x month) throughout the growing cycles.

Whatever methods you decide to choose, know the backbone to any good compost tea is:

  • Compost/Humus

  • Worm Castings

 Cherry Zkittlez grown with compost tea

Cherry Zkittlez grown with compost tea

All the additional ingredients you add will depend on your knowledge of the plants life-cycle and current soil biology. There are ways to brew grow teas, bloom teas, high bacterial teas, high protozoa teas and fungal teas. People use molasses, fish hydrolysate, frass, alfalfa, glacial rock, kelp, straw and many other ingredients, but the backbone always starts with a HIGH QUALITY compost or castings.

That’s the quick lowdown on compost tea feeding schedules, if you feel like you have something to add or would like to share your regimen, please utilize the comments below. Happy Brewing!!!

Dynamic Accumulators Overview

 Dynamic Accumulators planted nearby also function as companion plants, attracting beneficial insects and building soil biology through chop and drop layering and moisture retention through shading on hot summer days.

Dynamic Accumulators planted nearby also function as companion plants, attracting beneficial insects and building soil biology through chop and drop layering and moisture retention through shading on hot summer days.

Dynamic accumulators (DA) are plants that gather certain minerals and nutrients from the soil and store them in higher concentration in their leaf tissues. The leaves of the plants can then be used as compost, mulch or liquid fertilizer.  The truth is that most plants, in a way, are dynamic accumulators in some way because they translocate the soil minerals into their leaves. The difference however, is that certain plants, like horsetail, nettle or buckwheat, for example, tend to pull specific nutrients up in greater amounts.  Horsetail is well known for silica, nettle is well known for iron and buckwheat is known for accumulating phosphorus. Other DA”s like comfrey or yarrow are more all purpose accumulators and pull out more proportional balanced NPK ratios.  DA’s are traditionally thought of as a class of plants associated with nutritive and medicinal herbs. But please don’t confuse DA’s as a specific class of plants, for they can also include other types of flowers and cover crops as well.

 

Dynamic accumulators (DA) can really be viewed as nutrient miners. They use their root structure to mine nutrients. They can have deep tap roots or an extensive underground network of rhizomes which translocate those minerals into their leaves.  Sometimes they are used to try to repair soil, whereby a DA that has a deep tap root can pull up nutrients, and when the leaves are dropped and mulched over the surface, they breakdown and become bioavailable near the soil surface.

 

 Comfrey - Plant near compost bins or greenhouses for easy mulching and/or compost building.

Comfrey - Plant near compost bins or greenhouses for easy mulching and/or compost building.

Typically though, people are using DA’s to mine nutrients from nearby soil and then apply those nutrients to another area of a farm or garden. So imagine you have a farm and there’s edges of fields or gardens just sitting there covered with grass. So one would plant a row or swath of, let’s say, comfrey in that area.  Then the comfrey would mine the nutrients from that unused area and then the leaves could be mulched into the pots, beds or fields or amended into the compost pile. The comfrey could also be turned into liquid fertilizers or foliar sprays through the extraction processes of fermentation or sun teas.

 

 Chamomile Sun Teas have been tested to be high in Ca, Mg, P, K, Na, S. This chamomile fermented plant extract was drip fed to these plants.

Chamomile Sun Teas have been tested to be high in Ca, Mg, P, K, Na, S. This chamomile fermented plant extract was drip fed to these plants.

One of the contended variables of DA’s is the technical science behind quantifying how much nutrients are actually stored. If nettle is good at accumulating iron, but there is no iron in your soil, hypothetically, then it won’t really store that element because it wasn’t there in the first place! Also, it is apparently unknown to science precisely how long it takes for nutrients to become bioavailable.  Once the leaves store the nutrients, and the leaves return to the soil, there is little science to quantify how quickly or how much is returned into bioavailable nutrients. Science tends to overanalyze everything and want’s answers before proceeding. So while the scientific community is trying to find the answers to DA’s, the biodynamic and regenerative cannabis communities are embracing DA’s and seeing very positive empirical results. The complexities of DA’s are just beginning to be understood. There are a number of charts online to view which DA’s accumulate specific elements. Even if some of the research is anecdotal, it can still provide a general understanding for those wishing to engage in this practice.

Submit your Article

Do you have an interesting article or research paper that you would like featured? Have you come across any interesting articles that might be pertinent to our discussion or organic and ecological plant management? 

If so then please send an email to info@chascience.com to begin our discussion to get you noticed in the Cannabis industry!

CANNABIS AND COMPOST TEA- THE BIOLOGICAL REVOLUTION

CANNABIS AND COMPOST TEA- THE BIOLOGICAL REVOLUTION

~Humboldt Earth Technologies~

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The farm’s size also allows Walden to utilize a system of crop rotation — somewhat of a rarity in the cannabis space. After each harvest, the company rotates its grow site to a new section of the property in order to maintain healthy soil....

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Phorodon cannabis, known as the cannabis aphid, bhang aphid, or hemp aphid, feeds on cannabis. It is only known from two locations in Oregon (Portland and Estacada) at this time, but it is very likely that it is established and unrecognized at other facilities. The pest is established in much of Europe and Asia, North Africa, and it is known from Colorado in North America. It appears to be a recent arrival in Oregon, and it is in the interest of all growers of cannabis to slow its spread.

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