Of Vermicompost teas.

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myxodex

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Nice to see. Deflasking has to be the most useful benefit of VCT, at least for those who cannot get commercial preps like Inocucor.

Nice timing for reactivating this thread as I've just made my first VCT using the chitin, but haven't got around to testing it yet.

Question ... do you dilute the VCT for application or not ?

My problem is one of trusting my brew. I used a mixture of chitin, cellulose, oat fibre and curdlan all in fine denatured form along with a bit of isomalt and a small amount of sugar to get it going. I also added some peptone, yeast extract, kelp extract with my home made fertiliser as the salts base. As I used polysaccharides as the major C source, ... I ran the brew aerated for 5 days and topped up the chitin on the third day. On the second day there was a bit of a iffy smell but this cleared up on day 3 to be replaced by a distinct soil / composty smell. The transient bad smell might have been from some baby worms I missed in sorting the compost from the wormery.

I came across a company in the US that are selling kits for making compost teas. http://www.boogiebrew.net/open-source-compost-tea/
I think they are (like myself a bit) probably going a bit over the top on this ... not to mention quite a bit of redundancy in the stuff they recommend adding ... but at least they seem to be getting good results. For example they add trace minerals as volanic rock dust, kelp in different forms and ocean minerals. The thing is there is some evidence that culture of certain soil bacteria does require a more complex mineral content (compared to standard bacteriological media) ... but my guess is that kelp extract covers this in one go. Anyway it was quite interesting for me to see their reasoning ... an odd mixture of crazy hype and things that make perfect sense.
 

Stone

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=myxodex;642856]
Question ... do you dilute the VCT for application or not ?



myxodex,

I take about half a handful of the moist compost and wrap in in a cotton rag to make a bag. Then I sink that into about 2 litres of rain water and move it around until it begins to seep out. After that I give it one good squeeze and and remove it. There is enough in the bag to make at least 2 other batches but because I used quite a lot of rich ingredients to make it, (soya meal, blood and bone, cow manure, plus things like leaves, grass, bark, wood shavings, diatomite, etc) and it has never been leached, I suspect the EC is quite high and since my ec meter bit the dust, I err on the safe side. I add about 20ml of the kelp to the water and then use it - warmed slightly.
There also probably is enough residual nutrients and sugars in the agar to keep the microbes going, although I do change it every 3 days or so.


My problem is one of trusting my brew.
The only way is to test it and the easiest way to do that is use radish seedlings. Sow some in straight perlite or with some vermiculite and they will germinate in a few days. When they have a reasonable root system - about a week - you can test your brew. Take them out of the pot when you are ready and check the root tips with a hand lens. If they are white and clean with no brown tips your mix is safe to use. You can then experiment with concentrations.
I think the important thing is to have a fully mature compost. It seems that after a long time period, any imbalances have been resolved and it becomes very stable chemically and microbe wise.
My compost initially was composted for months before the worms were introduced. The worms have long since gone. Either escaped or died but there is no trace of them. This compost is now approaching 3 years of age but I keep it continually moist. There are only a few traces of recognizable organic material left in it.
 

myxodex

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Thanks for the info. My instincts also favour using the older compost but my OH harvested the most mature tray from the wormery a few days before I was ready, to use on her veggy garden ... damn .. communication hmmm. I went ahead anyway because some VCT brewers favour compost with more worm action ? There seem to be a lot of alchemy type mythologies floating around with vermicompost teas.
 

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