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Everything Boiled Out of the Bucket?

by Steve
(Vernonia, Oregon)

I made my first batch with my own recipe. 1 cup worm castings, 2TS seabird guano, 3TS Alfalfa Meal, 1TB greensand, glacial rock, 1ts Humic acid, myco, 2TS a 5gal brewer. It all boiled out in less then 2 cut it down to about 1/4 of every thing and it looks a lot better, but I am not getting the earth smell I got out of the first package one I brewed. Any ideas why?

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Feb 13, 2012
Foam and Compost Tea
by: Compost Junkie Dave

…I am not getting the earth smell I got out of the first package one I brewed. Any ideas why?

Hi Steve,

What do you mean “the first package one” you brewed? Are you using the same ingredients (in smaller amounts) that you used in the first batch?

The earthy odor in soil comes from a type of bacteria called Actinomycetes, so it’s very possible that your new batch is favoring a different ratio of bacteria to fungi. This may lead to the production of different odors in your tea.

kitchen compost crock

The odor that emanates from your tea is not only related to the compost you use, but also to the ingredients you’re adding to it. For instance, if you choose to add molasses to your brew, oftentimes your tea will give off a sweet metallic-like odor. I assume it’s metallic due to the high iron content in molasses.

I wouldn’t worry too much about this unless you suspect the tea is going anaerobic. If you don’t have an oxygen meter, here is a simple test…

Pour some of your tea into an empty water/pop bottle and close the lid. If the bottle is 500ml, fill to the 250ml mark. After 12-24 hours open the lid and smell inside the bottle. Does it smell okay? If so, you’re in the clear. If you’re not aerating enough and it’s gone anaerobic, you’ll curse my name for suggesting this method. 🙂 Also, be careful when opening the bottle because pressure will have built up inside.

If you want to read a really interesting article related to this odor-iffic topic – check this out – How to Get High on Soil.

Your Soil and Health Scout,

PS – I’ve also had numerous brews overflow on me. It makes for a good learning experience. Here are some suggestions on methods to reduce foam in your compost tea.

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