May 6, 2015
Elaine Ingham's post at the Yahoo Compost Tea group:
Hey Tom ---
Purple Cow compost is often good (85% of the time, I'd say) ---- good fungi, protozoa, nematodes. They do have their "opps" composts though, so getting the microscope out to check it is important. Also, storage conditions can destroy the biology, so can't always blame the compost maker......
the amount of time that has to go into compost tea is why I prefer to make compost EXTRACT rather than tea. Basically, just extract the organisms straight from the compost by vigorous massaging of the compost. Treat the compost just exactly like a human muscle that is sore and needs a good massage. No wringing, no sand paper motion, no scrubbing motions, just massage. Vigorous massage. About 30 seconds for a pound of compost is what is needed to extract the organisms. Then apply the compost extract.
Tea has to be made if the application is to establish the right sets of organisms on the plant surfaces aboveground. The organisms need to be growing, making glues and holding on instantly, in order to stick and stay on the surfaces aboveground.
But when applied to soil, not necessary to instantly stick! So, compost extract works fine, and less work.
so, I encourage you to make extracts when applying to most things --- soil, water, compost, mulch, etc. Tea only if you have to deal with pests and disease organisms on plant (or animal) surfaces.
Elaine R. Ingham
President, Soil Foodweb Inc. Soil Life Consultant
I would add that you really need foliar compost tea to get nutrient into plants in our native soil until it is properly amended.
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This is a classic compost, but with a trick up its sleeve: it’s supercharged. High-quality compost typically undergoes a heating and cooling cycle in which microbial life flourishes. We’ve introduced a Secondary Activation Phase™ in which organically approved ingredients are added at a specific stage, resulting in a unique bio-catalytic effect. Nutrients are metabolized by microbial life in the compost and are more readily available to your plants. Purple Cow Activated introduces humus – assisting in soil aggregation, making nutrients more available for plant uptake.
That sounds so good, but it doesn't seem to be available west of the Rockies:
At a recent Master Gardener workshop compost was recommended for square foot gardening. Of course somebody asked where to get good compost and the recommendation was to buy several different brands and mix them together so you get a variety of compost. Well, you mix four bags of crappy compost, you STILL have crappy compost.
I've been buying Kellogg products because every one of their products carried at the Home Depot is OMRI listed. But it's not even close to something like Purple Cow.
Purple Cow products aren't cheap, but for the home gardener likely worth every penny:
The activated compost is exactly what we need here and if you have a lead on anything like this, please let me know.
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