Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Posts tagged compost tea

Compost Tea NPK Values

Compost tea is reported to be great for growing plants and some companies even call it a compost tea fertilizer. What is the NPK value of this magic potion?

I started this post about a year ago and at that time there were many products on the market but I could not find one that provided the Compost Tea NPK value. I checked again today and was surprised that the number of compost tea products available is down significantly. Maybe it was too expensive to ship all that water around the country? Maybe it did not work and people stopped buying the product?

Interestingly, the number of commercial DIY kits for making your own tea is up significantly. When you click on Google images for ‘bottles of tea’ you are taken to pages selling kits. Even with kits the same question needs to be asked. What is the NPK value of the tea these kits produce. Very few of the manufacturers I looked at provided such information, but many did say their compost ingredients were the best. Easy to say if you don’t give any data.

Even if you are not interested in compost tea – the following discussion will show you how companies are misleading consumers.

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

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Compost Tea – Does it Work?

Compost tea is all the rage but does it really work? Research studies so far have produced mixed results. A 2007 meta data review on compost tea by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott concluded that “Clearly, the science is not strong for aerated tea use on crop plants, much less on lawns, shrubs, and trees”.

There seems to be a lot of work done in this area but much of it is not published in peer reviewed journals and most of it has been done in labs and greenhouses, not in the field. Until the work is repeated in the field we can’t conclude it works in gardens.

The other problem is that controls have been poorly selected. For example, in one study (ref 3) they compared ACT compost tea to water, using lettuce that had been under-fertilized. Guess what, compost tea improved growth. This only proves that adding nutrients, when they are deficient, will improve growth. The study never compared compost tea to adding nutrients in other ways.

In this post I will review one study that compared the use of compost to compost tea, in field conditions.

Effects of compost tea on the growth of trees, by Garden Myths (data from reference 2)

Effects of compost tea on the growth of trees, by Garden Myths (data from reference 2)

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Teaming with Microbes – In-depth Book Review

Teaming with Microbes, a Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, is a fairly popular book in the gardening community and I thought it was time to do a review. This book is written by Jeff Lowenfels, a garden writer and attorney, and Wyne Lewis a lifelong gardener. Both gardeners clearly follow the teachings of Dr. Ingham and her soil food web. They have adopted her methodologies and present the ideas in this book.

Teaming with Microbes, A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web

Teaming with Microbes, A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web

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Bokashi Composting Myths

Bokashi composting, also spelled bocashi composting, is a new way to deal with kitchen scraps. The proponents of the system claim that it has a number of benefits not found in more traditional composting methods. In this blog post I will have a close look at Bokashi composting and separate myth from reality.

Bokashi composting

Bokashi composting

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Soil Microbes – Do You Need To Add Them To The Garden?

People are starting to understand that microbes (ie microorganisms) are very important to a healthy soil. This knowledge has led to a disturbing trend where people feel the need to add microbes to soil, and manufacturers are responding with an increasing number of products. In this post I will look at the misconceptions behind this trend.

Soil Microbes

Soil Microbes – do you need to add them to soil?

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