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sugar source for compost tea

Posted by brown_greenthumb z6 ky ( on
Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 23:01

I was wondering if I could use vegetable scrapes as a sugar source to replace the molasses, maybe something like carrot pulp or vegetable scraps put thru the blender.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: sugar source for compost tea

Since you're asking about molasses I'm going to assume you're planning on making an aerated compost tea (ACT). ACT is basically a fermentation of compost, and the goal of the brewing is to grow the beneficial microorganisms that come with the compost. The sugar, and other adjuvants such as kelp or fish meal, are used to build a culture medium. The sugar (molasses) adds carbon, and fish or kelp and nitrogen. The usual goal is about 30 weight parts of soluble carbon per 1 weight part of soluble nitrogen.

By adding vegetable scraps it's not clear what you will be adding as soluble, available nutrients to the growth medium. A second problem is the potential for adding pathogens to the mix. You basically are setting up a medium and that will then, in your case, be fermenting the raw produce you include, along with any not so good stuff that may brig along. I don't think the NOP advisory board would think positively of your idea for direct plant application, or plant contact.

The benefits of compost tea are largely anecdotal, advanced by practitioners. Attempts to reproduce the claimed benefits via well controlled research studies have been hit and miss, but mostly miss. The widely claimed potential for plant disease control appears to be primarily related to Bacillus subtilis, as strain of bacteria often found in compost, which is also available in a clean NOP approved fungicide sold as Serenade.

I encourage you to look over the overview presentation from Kentucky State University linked below, and in using compost teas or extracts to follow the USDA's NOP guidelines for using compost teas/extracts (see page 25 of the presentation).

Here is a link that might be useful: Compost Tea - Kentucky State University

RE: sugar source for compost tea

You didn't say why you are considering alternates to molasses but I suspect cost. If one uses enough molasses to make cost an issue,check with a feed store for blackstrap and dry molasses for use in livestock feed.

RE: sugar source for compost tea

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 12:07

You should be able to get feed-grade molasses (liquid) for $10/gal, or less, from a feed store. The dried stuff is actually molasses sprayed on a digestible carrier (rice hulls, ground corn cobs, etc.); typically ~ 40 weight percent molasses (50 lbs dried molasses is ~ 20 lb actual sugar) will cost ~ $20.

RE: sugar source for compost tea

Ahh ok, I was looking for a more sustainable way for me, I have done the 50lb bag of molasses only to give it away do to moving. I just figured if i could use the scraps it would always be handy.

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