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Marshalltown, IA(Zone 5a)

O.k. Guys.....

I have 5 horses....I compost some of their manure, mixed with some leaves, wood bedding, sand, and grass.

I read a little about manure tea.....So..

I took a 20 gal. tub, filled it 1/3 or so with the composted manure mix, added water, and set in 3/4 shade/ 1/4 sun. I let it set for about 3 days, stirring a couple of times a day.

Today, I put a towel across the bucket, secured it with a rope and filtered out all the solids, leaving a very dark brown liquid.
Surprisingly, there was no odor.

Now the question is .....do I dilute it until it looks like weak tea? Add it to the ground? Spray my roses with it? Is it good to spray with it if I have some blackspot/ mildew?

And, can a person use too much nitrogen? Should I wait until fall?

Any suggestions would be great..... Thanks

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Mix a small amount of compost into the fresh water and immediately use it. Water is anaerobic and changes the bacteria to undesirables.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

"I read a little about manure tea"
Read about 'aerobic compost tea" or aerated tea. There are (inactive) threads right here which give details . THe current thinking is that the older thing, like what you did, is not as good as an aerobic fresh tea.

Sofer- if this doesn't smell, would you conclude that it doesn't have much nitrogen? That the color comes from dissolve carbon compounds?

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

Smell comes from anerobic bacteria (bad ones) so smell comes from bacteria. Manure smells because of bacteria not nitrogen. Nitrogen is what grows bacteria. The Nitrogen amount of compost tea is relative to the amount of added grass, manure, organic fertilizer you added. I put a lot in my compost and it is high. Black color can be a refrence of nitrogen but not always. Just soak the compost fresh out of the pile in fresh water and use it immediatly for best results.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

If you have a choice, keep the manure cool cool rather than hot. Cool water can absorb and hold more oxygen, and if it is warm, the bacteria will metabolize faster and consume the oxygen faster.

Also, storing it in something shallow will help it stay aerated, compared to storing it in something deep or covered.

A high-tech solution would be to divert a fancy-shmancy "water feature" pump and fountain to a usefull purpose: aerated compost tea!

Or drop an aquarium bubbler into the manure puddle.

Does anyone ever "seed" or innoculate a manure-steeping puddle with benfical soil microbes? If I'm right, mychoryzia only multiply when in contact with live plant root hairs, but I could be wrong.


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

We have a Whole Foods with a compost tea brewer outside the door. This may be strictly a local option.( store by store)
docgipe- is a ?former poster who is seriously knowledgeable about organic gardening and aerated compost tea. He gave the info freely until he got tired of people asking again for a repeat, rather than do reserach. (can't blame him). His method (which he showed in detail on a thread somewhere here) uses a really strong aerator to really churn up the tea and grow those good oxy microbes. Then he uses it within a certain time frame before the good start dying off, nature being what it is, and the composition changing with the nutrient content.

Long story short, the better tea now seems to be aerated and oxygenated, so dumping a lot of maure into a little water and letting it sit doesn't give you a better tea. Use weak teas, often. (Another docgidpe wisdom)

Corey, somebody somewhere knows how to 'grow' those bene micros, to sell them. Whether they'll part with the secrets...

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

But dumping good compost into simple water and using it immediately is a simple way to have a simple beneficial for the garden and house plants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Agreed Soferdig= though I didn't say it that way, I meant it.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

One can place a burlap sack filled with compost in a bucket of water to soak which produces "compost leachate" or one can add produce "aerobic compost tea" - both have their applications HOWEVER do a little more reading about the problems that can result and how to avoid them; otherwise you can produce a toxic brew rather than the liquid gold you're after.

I use a 5 gallon bucket equipped with aquarium air stones to turn the 1 gallon paint strainer bag full of compost & worm castings into compost tea in a matter of hours. Add a little feed grade molasses (unsulfured) to fire it up and away you go! You can create a larger system very easily.

This is a great way to stretch the power of compost - dilute it to the color of weak tea to spray leaves (coat underside too) or as a soil drench. Feed the microbes that feed your plants!!!

See Bruce Deuley and Bob Webster's "compost tea" seminar on YouTube or just Google "Bruce Deuley compost tea bucket" for the plans. Another good web site is Dr. Elaine Ingham's "soilfoodweb.com" and do read her Fine Gardening article about compost tea.

Ms. Tommie

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I use a 5 gallon bucket equipped with aquarium air stones

Oh, yeah! A power brewer!!

Does anyone ever suspect you of brewing moonshine?

I wonder if soil microbes would thrive & multiply in that? I think that mycorhyzzia really need roots to live in, in order to multiply.

>> worm castings

I guess that innoculates your brew with soil microbes. Or you could add a pinch of deep soil from whatever bed has the healthiest soil.


Central, TX(Zone 8b)

I was listening to a radio gardening program discussion about brewing compost tea in which one party stated mycorrhiza could be added only after the brewing process because it's delicate and easily decimated by all that tossing around, and as far as I know it lives in the soil as a benefit to the root systems of plants. That wonderful rich earthy aroma of soil in the spring is due to mycorrhiza.

Moonshine? Only by the light of the silvery moon!

Ms. Tommie

Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

Simple question - before I ask the horse farm down the road to let me pick up some manure in their field, do I need to know anything - like pick old rather than fresh? I'm not going to get much, maybe a trash bag full. (If they won't let me, is cow manure as good?)

Thanks ,

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

IF they have a field they probably have a barn and therefore a handy pile just waiting to be taken right there. Going into the field may involve safety concerns on your or their end.
If they have a barn pile, just need to ask if its OK, when its OK, where you can park, any other concerns they have

You want to take the oldest stuff they have if possible.

Virginia Beach, VA

I already posted this somewhere about my experience with horse manure. Years ago on my way to work was a big sign---horse manure free--you haul!! Well took few bags and and spread it on the veggie garden and by spring there was tons of weeds!! Never again and I had not tried it again.


Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

I imagine that many of us wanting to use horse manure plan to use it for composting which can get hot enough to kill (some/many?) weed seeds. I don't plan to scatter it right on my garden. Thanks for the warning as it is certainly valid and worthwhile advice.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

ive done manure tea for probably 10 yrs now..dont know what got me started..
but im glad i did.. i started with horse manure..then some cow.. i have an almost
unlimited source of rabbit manure now..and used it last yr and this yr..
i have super results from it..
i even use it as a compost "starter" when new compost gets put together..
seems to get things cooking faster...??? maybe its just me.. LOL
but.. does distribute the manure thru the compost so i would think thats
good... more surface contact of nitrogen with the carbon sources..(straw,leaves)
i was going to try a big 50 gal areated tea..but..summer got away from me..
i did use my worm castings in areated tea early summer.. used it on my roses..
they sang praises...:)

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I always compost my manure for a year with my carbon from the garden. That will cook the seeds and minimize the weed problem. I get manure from who ever will let me. Cow is good, Chicken best, horse last choice. But I like the horse stall cleanings with sawdust and urine and manure. Makes a great soil starter for my acres of soil I need to make to service my 3 acres of glacial morraine.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Holy cow Soferdig, I just realized you post from Kalispell= my son spent his summer in Libby at a camp, working, it was awesome (except the mosquitoes), he had some great pictures from the area.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

The misquitos were the worse last year than they ever were. We usually have a short but warm spring, this year was cold and wet and the bugs went nuts! I love the NW corner of Montana. Libby is great I spend a lot of time there in the mountains. (Cabinets)

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