Compost Tea

rlchemistMarch 20, 2014

I've been making a tea for my house plants by taking one handful of Happy Frog Ocean Forest in one gallon of water. Let sit for 10 hours with frequent stirring. I would like to apply this tea to recently transplanted seedlings and am wondering if it would be harmful to those youngins?
Thank You, Wayne (Montana Zone 4)

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Ocean Forest is a potting mix, not a compost. It does contain some worm castings and guano, so with somewhat of a basic nutrient dose. It would be pretty harmless applied to transplanted seedlings - many folks grow in this stuff directly (especially those who grow the wacky tabacky!).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Thanks gardengal, when I first started researching the Happy Frog stuff I was amazed at who was using this product by the bucket full---they have some very creative names for their websites. !
I also use Fish/Seaweed Emulsion as a fertilizer and I just wanted to try something different---I'm getting bored with cabin fever here in Montana with piles of snow all over the place. It may be Spring but we still have sub-freezing temps.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Are you feeding it at all? Sounds like dirt water to me hehe

microbeorganics dot com covers it the topic well, with out the usual misinformation/microbe killing "tips" a lot of compost tea instructables contain.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:42PM
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I feed my plants fish/seaweed emulsion. I was just looking for something to feed seedlings just transplanted from the seed mix into a potting soil. It's beginning to look as if my idea is not worth the effort...
Miguelovic, thanks for the link, it looks very interesting, I've just bookmarked it to read later.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Happy Frog contains things like "composted forest humus" and bat guano both products that taking from those environments can disrupt them. Fine Gardening magazine has an article that tests various potting soils and rates them and Happy Frog is one of those tested. Probably not something I would spend my money on.

If someone is going to make compost tea, compost should be used, not potting soil.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:26AM
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At my ripe ol' age I am just now starting my first vegetable garden. Being brand new to all this it looks as if I used the wrong terminology when describing my version of "compost tea."

The idea came to me when visiting a nursery and I asked about Happy Frog Ocean Forest. The owner cautioned me that the product "was hot" so be careful if using it with recently transplanted seedlings. So I ask myself why not make a tea out of this and maybe use it as a weak fertilizer on a regular basis?? Based upon the list of ingredients it looked as if Happy Frog would make a decent tea if used regularly---this product contains a number of microorganisms that must be beneficial for a living soil environment. "Living Soil".....I looked that phrase up to make sure it was appropriate and it does appear to be a correct term widely used by many gardeners, although it is a new idea to me.

My soil mixture for indoor containers is one part of Happy Frog-Ocean Forest, one part coco peat and one part vermiculite---this mixture has proven to be very beneficial as my plants all look very healthy. (This particular mixture was the idea of a popular gardener on YouTube and not my original idea). Of course I'm a rookie, but if my plants are green, looking very healthy and putting out new growth then I'm happy along with the Happy Frogs. I'm still in the learning curve here and perhaps foliage would have been a better choice of words?

I've also done a fair amount of research on potting mixes, apparently Happy Frog may not be popular with certain growers; however, it is widely used and comes highly recommended---even from "Organic Gardeners" whatever that term means. I'm determined not to use any petroleum based inorganic fertilizers but yet the Happy Frog comes in a nice plastic container which is a product of the petro-chemical industry. What to do??

I'm a retired chemist that loves to experiment with new ideas. So I've decided to continue with my idea and use my version of "compost tea" even though it really isn't compost---I'll call it "Happy Frog Tea" and will let the chips fall where they may. I'll be monitoring soil moisture levels along with the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

In general, leachate is the stuff you are making if you throw some "soil" in waterband mix it up. Compost tea is highly aerobic, teaming with millions of organisms. The two can be quite different. I would make compost tea, not leachate. You just need an aquarium pump and basically keep doing what your doing, but use compost, not expensive enriched peat that you get suckered for.

I would caution on using compost tea of seedlings, i did last year and every one had damp off, completely ruined my whole setup.. If the seedlings is, well not a seedling anymore, and ready to transplant to a bigger pot, i see no harm in applying the compost tea, or leachate( but leachate could be of more risk because it's less oxygenated, more pathogens,etc).

Research Dr.Elaine Ingham compost tea.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Nature--Dr. Ingham,

Thank you, now that does make sense and I appreciate the reasoned response. Your recommendations seem like excellent ideas, they will be followed and once again I am very thankful for your help and advice.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:34PM
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I actually meant feeding the compost tea :)

I don't think the Happy Frog Tea is going to kill any one this side of Sunday. Ingram is a good read, a bit of a stiff (don't make tea with out lab analysis, pushing towards manufactured products, still adds humic acid to brews, etc.) but she knows a hell of a lot more than I do hehe.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:17PM
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