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Hydroponics Indoor Gardening With Compost Tea

Hydroponics Indoor Gardening With Compost Tea Hydroponics Indoor Gardening With Compost Tea

You and your friends love sweet-tasting crops that are loaded with quality, flavor and aroma. One way to get those kinds of crops is to use compost tea. What compost tea does for you is it imports natural growth factors into your root zone and plants so you get the benefits of outdoor growing with your indoor hydroponics gardening.

Not only do you get more vigorous plants in grow phase, you get larger harvests and plants that are better protected against diseases and stress.

Add to that how compost teas can be used as foliar sprays to combat diseases, pests, pathogens and to infuse nutrients into your plants, and you have a fun tea party to attend on a regular basis.

To create your own compost tea, you start by making compost, which takes time, money and requires favorable conditions as regards temperature, ingredients and aeration.

Thus, growers who live in apartments or similar conditions might find it difficult to make their own compost. It’s kind of an outdoorsy back yard type of thing.

In that case you buy fresh compost from a reputable source, making sure the compost maker has a good reputation. Why? Because compost is alive, and if it hasn’t been made properly, it will be less alive than it could be, or it will be biologically dead, or it may contain impurities, heavy metals or other liabilities for your crops.

Along with procuring rich, living compost, you need other equipment and supplies. These include a 5-gallon or larger bucket, a pump, an aerator attachment, and some molasses.

You fill the bucket about halfway up with compost, and then add fresh, clean water to the bucket so the water covers the compost and comes about ¾ of the way up to the top of the bucket.

Turn on the pump and aerate the water and compost starting an hour or two before you add molasses. The sweet stuff is food for beneficial microbes that live in compost and will also live in your tea.

Brew your tea for 3-6 days, making sure the water is above 70F. Make sure to stir the mixture and to leave the pump aeration running.

Also monitor the smell of the mixture. You want it to smell good, like something healthy and alive, not like something rotting. If it smells rotten, you have a mixture that’s spoiling, and you need to dump it.

After the brew period, get a strainer cloth and pour the brew through it into another bucket. The liquid is your tea, and the solids go back onto your compost pile.

Now you keep your tea at room temperature and use it as soon as possible to get the most out of the living microbes that do so much good for your root zone and the rest of your plant.

Sure there are various things that can go wrong in the process of making or storing compost tea. One of them happens if your source water is chlorinated or otherwise contaminated with chemicals that interfere with biotic processes.

As always, I recommend using only reverse osmosis water or rainwater for your hydroponics indoor gardening. This eliminates worries about chlorine.

You make yourself into a grandmaster compost tea brewer by studying more advanced methods of making it that include adding kelp, alfalfa, different sweeteners, beneficial microbes and fungi to create a brew that’s customized for the plants you grow.

Not only can you customize your tea by adding components that spur targeted microbial growth or infuse your tea with natural hormones, nutrients and vitamins, you can also create customized teas by experimenting with brew duration.

Different brew lengths create different types of teas, as does the choice of whether to make aerobic or anaerobic tea.

Once you dive into the world of compost teas, you may find yourself swimming in their potency and versatility forever.

Many hydroponics indoor gardening grandmasters have compost tea on their short list of must-have crop supplements.

If you don’t have the time, circumstances or desire to brew your own tea but you still want the plant protection, growth and yield benefits of compost tea, you can buy a high quality compost tea at your hydroponics store.

The commercial teas that test the highest in microbial activity, nutrient concentration, vitamins, and natural hormones come in separate formulas for grow and bloom phase.

To be honest, this commercial compost tea blend exceeds what most of us could put together on our own. It contains alfalfa extract, canola, crab, earthworm castings, fish meal, kelp and shrimp meal.

This stuff is filtered so it flows like water and it has a smell like dark tea…the kind you drink.

Better yet, these two compost tea formulas are so standardized and reliable that you can use them as stand-alone base nutrients. They have all the major and minor elements needed for the kind of lush, green, dense growth you want in grow phase, and the fast, productive and tasty floral development you crave from bloom phase.

Make sure to brew or purchase compost tea carefully because defective teas have been seen to carry pathogens that harm your crops and can potentially harm you.

But when you master the art of using compost teas in your hydroponics indoor gardening, you’re getting natural plant boosters that just aren’t present for you even in the best synthetic feed program.

To find out more about how to make and use compost tea in your hydroponics indoor garden, here are two great books for you to get:

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels

The Field Guide I for Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) by Dr. Elaine Ingham and Carole Ann Rollins

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Last modified on Wednesday, 03 November 2010 23:24

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