It has been all systems go at Mazi over the past few months getting all of our new baby trees and plants planted and settled into their new homes over the winter/ spring months. Now we have most of our plants in the ground and it’s time to get our next mission up and running - making compost tea in order to get microbiology into our soil and natural systems kick-started. So what does that mean exactly?
What is compost tea?
Put in the simplest way, compost tea is brewed, watered compost. It is a concoction made with compost, oxygen, water and food for microbes in order to cultivate beneficial microorganisms such as protozoa, bacteria and fungi. This soup of mini-critters can then be sprayed across your land to get beneficial organisms into your soil and help the diverse soil-web of life that healthy soils depend on become established there.
There are many kinds of compost teas that can be made with different ingredients, but the compost tea we will be making here on Mazi is the Actively Aerated Compost Tea. By that, we mean a tea which is made without heat, by putting compost into an aerated water tank which provides an aerobic, oxygen rich environment, This, coupled with food supplements such as kelp granules, molasses, humic acid and fish hydrolysate, encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms.
Why use compost teas?
Compost tea is used as a tool to improve the soil and foliar life that is required in a healthy system. The microorganisms in soil help make nutrients available to the plant via a range of symbiotic relationships. A healthy soil full of diverse life helps build plant resilience and defend against unwanted attacks by pests and diseases. Soil microorganisms are also vital to build soil structure and integrate organic matter into the soil.
Historically, compost teas, or a form of them, have been used since at least the Roman times, although there is evidence to suggest that it may go further back than that. Today, compost tea is championed by the likes of Dr Elaine Ingham of the Rodale Institute as well as a whole host of other organic and agroecology farms who swear by it for promoting healthy plant growth. This is grounded in the idea that, contrary to popular belief, many of the major issues we face in agriculture arise not due to chemical or physical deficiencies, but due to a lack of proper biology.
Time to get brewing!
Soil health underpins everything we do here at Mazi, and this soil health rests heavily on the soil biology that lives in the soil ecosystem. So, we’re excited to get going making our own compost tea here and explore the ways in which compost teas may be able to help us. We will be running a series of experiments, looking at different recipes and set ups to see for ourselves how our plants respond and how effective this technique may be for regenerative agriculture. We will keep regular updates here so stay tuned to see how our experience making and using compost tea progresses!
Chai for now ;-)
Your resident scientist,