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Using Compost Tea – Should I Dechlorinate My Water?

by David
(United States)

When using compost tea, how do I apply it to my lawn and garden? I’d like to be able to hook it up to a hose, but I’m on city water and am concerned that using compost tea with any kind of chlorinated water (even just for applying to my lawn and garden) will kill all the microbes. Is this the case? Do I need to attach a dechlorinating filter to my garden hose?

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Dec 07, 2011
Avoid Chlorinated Water When Using Compost Tea
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Hi David,

Welcome to the site.

When using compost tea, there are several ways to apply it to your garden. The first requires the least time and effort and is referred to as a soil drench. This can be accomplished by applying the tea (usually diluted with water) to your garden soil using a watering can, or other container. The second method is to use a sprayer. This method requires a little more effort and money on your part, but the results can be worth it. When using a sprayer, you want to make sure their are no sharp angles (e.g. 90 degrees) in the flow line, and the nozzle is sized properly to allow larger particulate to flow through it.

If using compost tea through a garden hose, you want to be aware of several factors. 1-the chlorine factor in most city water (which you’re well aware of). 2-the cold temperatures of the water. 3-the dilution rate you’re using.

Either avoid using city water all together, or try your best to remove the chlorine and other contaminates before using it with compost tea. A carbon-based filter on your hose is a possibility.

I don’t believe the chlorine in city water will instantly kill ALL of the microbes in your tea. It will probably knock their populations back a bit. You also have to consider the cumulative effects of watering your gardens with city water. The chances of disrupting your soil life are much higher in these instances. There has got to be a reason why most World Record Growers don’t use city water.

You’re kind of stuck with this second factor-temperature of the water. It is challenging to warm the temperature of your hose water unless you attach the hose to a faucet indoors.

Lastly, the dilution rate is completely up to you. There are so many variables here that it’s tough to give a specific rate. Ideally, you experiment with different rates and let nature show you what’s best.

I don’t recommend using a traditional hose with straight city water. I’d much prefer to collect rain water in 55-gallon barrels, drop in an electric pump, and use this water instead. This method will usually result in fewer contaminants, warmer water temperatures, and happier microbes (if I may project myself on to a microbe for the moment).

Hope this helps.


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