The Do’s and Don’ts of Brewing:

by Josh Cunnings

#1) Do use LOTS of oxygen!

A powerful air pump yields a powerful brew. Period. The beneficial organisms in your tea simply crave oxygen. It is impossible to use too much. Harmful, pathogenic organisms thrive in an anaerobic, or low oxygen, environment. Good compost tea will effectively colonize soil with an abundant population of beneficial microbes, fungi, and protozoa when “fueled” with large amounts of oxygen for 4 to 18 hours first. Low-oxygen brews will always create more opportunities for pathogens to flourish. Don’t give them the chance to gain a foothold. We recommend an air pump with an output of 45liters of oxygen per minute or more. Your tea will also brew FASTER this way, offsetting any additional power usage.

#2) Do make quick use of your tea.

“Infuse it and use it”. Allowing fresh Boogie Brew to sit around and “peak” is all too easy a mistake and is counter-productive to effective soil colonization. To truly benefit from a good compost tea’s root zone enhancing qualities, it should be used immediately after brewing. Try not to let your tea stagnate for more than two hours: Take advantage of all that bio-activity & drive fresh life into your soil ASAP!

#3) Don’t use chlorinated water! 

Unfortunately chlorine and chloramine compounds are used in almost all municipal water systems and thus the use of an effective filter is required for creating quality compost tea. This is due to chlorine’s functional elimination of all bacteria, including the beneficial organisms that are alive and well in high quality compost, worm castings and other “live” amendments found in good tea recipes. Do continue to use de-chlorinated water on soil previously inoculated with live teas. Otherwise you will wipe out most of the beneficial biology you just introduced into your soil. You wouldn’t use antibiotics after cultivating acidophilus in the intestine from high quality yoghurt cultures, would you? Use similar principles with compost tea for soil-success!

#4) Don’t forget to clean your brewer! 

No matter how you infuse your Boogie Brew, it is imperative that you clean the container between brews. Otherwise there’s the risk of “bio-film” build-up and subsequent contamination. “Bio-film” is the layer of dead, organic material that is a natural result from the production of “exudates” from the billions of beneficial organisms flourishing in a healthy aerobic tea. As these organisms burst to life and begin to digest their food sources, (including the consumption of OTHER organisms), they “exude”, or give off, waste matter of their own. This exudate tends to collect wherever the billions of microbes living in a healthy tea are least active: i.e. the lining of your bucket or reservoir etc! If this layer of dead bio-film is not vigorously brushed clean between brews, it will contaminate and degrade the quality of new tea.

#5) Don’t mix synthetic fertilizers with your tea!

Ideally, infuse your soil with fresh tea only when you are applying your brew. Think of Boogie Brew as both a mild organic food source for your plants and at the same time a beneficial soil drench or biological “flush”. Some folks like to tinker with their teas and that is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. Any sources of nutrition in your reservoir should be well-diluted and organic in nature. Don’t mess with success. Use natural ph adjusters if necessary, like citric acid/vit. C crystals, and apply to tea only AFTER brewing.

#6) Do practice good gardening!

That means sensible watering techniques, (don’t overwater!) as well as the intelligent use of organic fertilizers and non-toxic pest control whenever possible. Regard your plants and the soil they live in as a beautiful reflection of the symbiotic relationships of all living things. Modern science has shed much light on the intertwined and complex interactions that occur within a healthy soil-food-web, yet there is so much more that we still don’t fully understand. Respect those secrets and nurture your soil in the same manner you would revere the delicate balance and nature of life itself. Remember that compost tea’s miracles allow for far greater absorption and utilization of food/water sources. Be gentle. -Josh