Compost Tea Supercharges Marijuana Roots & Health
Posted by Gary Anderson | 4379 views
By Gary Anderson
Making compost and using compost tea for marijuana.
(Click to enlarge)
In the ongoing debate between supporters of “organic” marijuana versus hydroponics marijuana, you often hear about “compost tea.”
The claimed benefits marijuana growers get from compost tea sound almost too good to be true.
You’re said to get increased root health that translates into faster marijuana growth, larger/stronger cannabis roots, detoxified soil and root zones, and protection against root zone diseases and pathogens.
If you use compost tea as a foliar spray, your marijuana plants gain protection from powdery mildew, gray mold, mites, thrips, and other problems that commonly plague marijuana plants.
Compost tea contains nutritional elements that feed marijuana through roots and leaves, but its most important benefits come from microorganisms active in compost that transfer into the tea.
Compost tea is of course made from compost…a solid-material “fermented” mixture containing things like leaves and other yard waste, discarded food items (such as banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, veggies), and base materials such as old newspapers.
Making compost means you combine such materials in the proper ratio, and then continue to maintain proper conditions (aeration, ambient temperature, pH) so the mixture microbially decomposes into a material rich in nutrition for cannabis plants.
Although people assume that making compost only involves gathering egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, and other common natural debris and throwing it all into a pile, the actual process of making compost is complex and time-consuming.
If your compost pile is improperly made or maintained, you get really bad smells, and you may not get the decomposition temperature range (130-157 degrees Fahrenheit) that’s just right to create rich compost free of pathogens and bugs.
And if you live in an apartment, condo, or most urban/suburban neighborhoods, there are likely regulatory codes (or neighbors with noses) that inhibit your ability to make compost.
You could buy an expensive plastic contraption to minimize the smell and hassle of making your own compost, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.
In those situations, you buy compost. If you’re growing marijuana in soil, you mix in compost with your other growing media, but not too much, because some compost is rich in nitrogen that might burn your plants.
If you’re growing marijuana hydroponically in any type of hydroponics system—aeroponics, deep water culture, ebb and flow—the benefit of compost tea is it’s liquid…it flows.
When I first heard about compost tea, I enthusiastically spent a chunk of coin getting supplies for making it.
You need buckets, a pump, tubing, a special valve called a “gang” valve, molasses (to feed the microbes), aerator stones, and a screen to pour the tea through at the end of the process.
You also need reverse osmosis water. You can’t trust municipal water because it has chlorines and chloramines that kill the beneficial microbes in compost.
Nor can you trust well-water because it likely contains pollutants, heavy metals, poisons, iron, salts, or calcium…none of which are good for your marijuana plants or for making compost tea.
Using a multi-day process, you “brew” the tea by aerating it constantly after feeding the mixture molasses.
Then you turn off your pump, remove your tubing and bubblers from the bucket, settle the tea, and pour it off through a screen.
The tea is microbially active only for a very short time, so you have to use it right away whether you’re soil drenching or foliar feeding your marijuana plants.
If you’ve used the right type of compost and your tea-brewing process worked, the nutrients and beneficial microbes are active, and they’ll help your cannabis plants’ roots, leaves, metabolism, and root zone.
It was a fun experiment, making compost tea, but a messy and time-consuming process, and I really had no idea if the process was working or not.
There was no way to know the nutritional composition of what I made, or if the beneficial microorganisms were alive in the tea.
The good news is I discovered you don’t need to make compost tea myself.
In the hydroponics store I found and purchased Mother Earth Super Tea, which came in a Grow formula and a Bloom formula.
It cost about the same as the materials I bought for making my own tea.
I also purchased the only beneficial microbes made and containerized specifically for marijuana. These are called Tarantula, Piranha, and Voodoo Juice. They come in powder or liquid form.
I called the manufacturer, and their grower tech support department said Mother Earth Super Tea is organic and has several marijuana uses.
It’s used as an additive in any type of marijuana growing system soil or soilless, as a complete stand-alone fertilizer, and as a foliar spray.
The beneficial microbes in the other three products provide marijuana-specific microorganisms, the grower support person said.
These microorganisms tailored just for marijuana roots make roots stronger, faster-growing, more densely branched, faster at nutrients uptake and more resistant to disease, temperature problems, drought, and overwatering.
This Mother Earth compost tea really does smell like tea, and gives my marijuana an all-organic feed program that flows easily in all types of hydroponics systems and is also useful in soil grows.
Marijuana growers—whether growing cannabis in hydroponics or in soil—enjoy the convenience and specificity of something like Mother Earth Organic Super Tea and the marijuana root zone beneficial microbes rather than making or buying compost and trying to brew their own tea.
After harvest, when I look at the root mass of my marijuana plants fed Mother Earth Super Tea, I see better development than during past grow ops. And I don’t have to deal with the mess of compost or making compost tea either.
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Article by Gary Anderson, on Mar. 12th 2014