Soil Biology - Microbes: Part V: TEA
Tea, Tea, TEA!!!
“Tea, tea the magical fruit, the more you feed, the more your plants root! The more they root the better your yield, so feed your tea with every meal!
Microbial tea can be the missing factor that can push ANY grow to the next level!! Even grows that run off of fully synthetic hydro systems can benefit from the addition of microbial tea. Brewing tea super-activates the microbial content in your solution and provides the best opportunity for your culture to properly establish itself and begin forming new colonies. So, what's the difference between compost tea and microbial tea?
Compost tea usually contains high amounts of sediment from some form of guano-based product. Be it worm castings, bat guano, seabird guano or pre-bagged “compost” (usually a mix of cheap dirt and cow manure), there is generally some form of poop in a compost tea. Even if it is made from the natural ferments of vegetable scraps, compost tea generally always contains some materials that leave sediment in your tank and build up bio-slime in your tea brewer.
Microbial tea on the other hand generally contains clean, high potency inputs that are in a soluble micronized form which can then provide food for a microbial product grown and produced in vitro (in a lab). This eliminates the need for using guano-based materials and exponentially increases the microbial content of your solution; all while staying cleaner and more free-flowing than it’s poob-based cousin. This means a microbial tea can last up to 7, 10, even 14 days! Compost teas are generally only viable for 3-5 days maximum before they become rancid, anaerobic, and putred.
So how do you use tea? It’s pretty simple actually; use it everywhere!! Very much like our own guts and skin (which contain more resident microbes than our own cells and comprise about 80% of our immune system), plants need microbes in their soil as well as directly on the leaf surfaces. As discussed previously, microbes in the soil help break down, fix and deliver nutrition, while microbes on the leaf surface form a protective layer that helps fend off pests, disease and environmental pressures. In an ideal situation, your IPM should consist of a Micronized Sulfur, some form of Spinosad (for caterpillars and thrips) and a strong microbial product that fends off everything in between! So, foliar spray, root drench, full plant dunk, soil squench (spray-drench), all of the above are reasonable and useful ways you can use microbial teas in your system!
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