Worm Tea and pH


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I am making worm tea with the addition of unsulfured molasses and using a bubbler. The pH is 7.65 after 20 hours of aeration. There is little foam but that does not appear to be an issue. My concern? If I add some organic pH Down (organic acid i.e. lemon juice) will that kill the micro organisms? My intuition says no, but what do expert gardeners have to say?
 
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This actually depends on your final purpose and soil. A lot of people ask similiar detailed questions, and they never talk about the plant for which their fertilizer is intended, nor the soil or substrate in which said plant resides. Or the plant. Well some do, but not many.

Yes if you add an acid, citric or otherwise, it becomes a specific weight issue between 2 liquids and said acid may be a issue given you are bubbling what is usually considered a bacterial tea formula given the carbohydrates you are feeding it. The difference between 7.65 and 7 is fairly large. It seems you have a digital pH meter. Hydro? Do you have access to a 400x microscope? You can see the bio with a scope of that power.

Which bacteria are you propagating and why? Worm compost is simply a denser and more available form of nutrients than the material from whence it came, and a tea is a growth medium like a tetri dish in a laboratory for expanding a sample of bacteria or fungus, that latter preferring more protein. Why would you prefer a concoction that is less dense? Organic fertilizers are often not as strong as folks think they are as it is, which is why I am asking.

@Chuck and some others do this often. Seriously though, I imagine they would want to know what you are trying to do with the tea.

I have only tried to use tea as a medium for antibiotic activity myself. You will not hurt anything if you kill your tea. The molassess will be good for the soil.
 
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This actually depends on your final purpose and soil. A lot of people ask similiar detailed questions, and they never talk about the plant for which their fertilizer is intended, nor the soil or substrate in which said plant resides. Or the plant. Well some do, but not many.

Yes if you add an acid, citric or otherwise, it becomes a specific weight issue between 2 liquids and said acid may be a issue given you are bubbling what is usually considered a bacterial tea formula given the carbohydrates you are feeding it. The difference between 7.65 and 7 is fairly large. It seems you have a digital pH meter. Hydro? Do you have access to a 400x microscope? You can see the bio with a scope of that power.

Which bacteria are you propagating and why? Worm compost is simply a denser and more available form of nutrients than the material from whence it came, and a tea is a growth medium like a tetri dish in a laboratory for expanding a sample of bacteria or fungus, that latter preferring more protein. Why would you prefer a concoction that is less dense? Organic fertilizers are often not as strong as folks think they are as it is, which is why I am asking.

@Chuck and some others do this often. Seriously though, I imagine they would want to know what you are trying to do with the tea.

I have only tried to use tea as a medium for antibiotic activity myself. You will not hurt anything if you kill your tea. The molassess will be good for the soil.
I don't have a good Ph meter nor a microscope but IMO adding anything but humus/ liquid humus/humate is a waste of time. Sure, citric acid will lower Ph, for a short time. Years ago I used it but haven't in a long time, but, back then there was no such thing as manufactured humus. These days I use 2 oz of liquid humus/liquid humate per a 5 gallon bucket of compost tea. I use the Medina product HuMate. Perhaps the following link can explain why I like using it.

 

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Did you keep an eye on the temperature of the water? I have never made one, but I wouldn't use lemon juice. I should think compost/worm tea is for general purpose use.
 
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@Chuck on this site powergrown.com I found a recommendation about building a fertilizer using aminos, humic and so forth. Would you cruise that site and roll back with some thoughts?
 
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@Chuck on this site powergrown.com I found a recommendation about building a fertilizer using aminos, humic and so forth. Would you cruise that site and roll back with some thoughts?
I looked at the site and IMO it is a specialized service and not for the average or even advanced gardener. In the entire site, it barely mentions humic acids. Everything I saw works around fulvic acid. IMO without humic acids, you only have 1/2 of a base for a good fertilizer. Humic acid's big drawback is that it is not water soluable in low Ph soils. Humic acids unlock nutrients and make them available for uptake. Fulvic acids carry these unlocked nutrients into the plant due to fulvic acids very small molecules. Humic acids also help increase the permeability of a plants cell wall but not nearly to the effect that fulvic acid does. I guess that's why fulvic acid sprays work well in foliar applications while humic acids don't. Humic acids work best in the soil. They increase microbial life and increase water retention. IMO one without the other is severely lacking.
I don't know enough about amino acids to have much of an opinion. I do know that amino acids are essential but how they do what they do I am clueless.
What is your objective in all of this?
 
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Thanks for looking. They have humic acid but its almost hidden. My purpose is improving my clay soil. Biochar and humates are complementary cousins for my purposes. Humic materials bring a lot to both sandy and certain clay soils such as mine that have exceptionally low organic content. Crushed humic materials are loaded with metals from previous chelation and are not soluble, and it makes sense because its powdered pre-coal for all practical purposes. Man made or solvent humates are unsaturated and ready to work in the soil if organic matter in sufficient quantity does not already exist. The dry forms of these materials mostly just cost less, but issues like solubility concern me. Humates are ligno proteins and pretty much any amino acids help my soil. I am poking around for a source for 35,000 square feet of lawn and my garden. It is an interesting site I have bought some hormones from previously.

You may enjoy this link
 
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Thanks for looking. They have humic acid but its almost hidden. My purpose is improving my clay soil. Biochar and humates are cousins. Humic materials bring a lot to both sandy and certain clay soils such as mine that have exceptionally low organic content. Crushed humic materials are loaded with metals and are not soluble, and it makes sense because its powdered pre-coal for all practical purposes. Man made or solvent humates are unsaturated and ready to work in the soil if organic matter in sufficient quantity does not already exist. The dry forms of these materials mostly just cost less, but issues like solubility concern me. Humates are ligno proteins and pretty much any amino acids help my soil. I am poking around for a source for 35,000 square feet of lawn and my garden. It is an interesting site I have bought some hormones from previously.
I don't know your soil but if you have low organic content isn't that about the same thing as soil that has had its organic content burned away by chemical fertilizers? Low organic content is still low organic content. Before I spent a lot of money on experiments I think I would try a proven method of increasing the tilth and fertility of your soil. Please examine the following link about Soil Activator and the entire link for that matter. It is used a LOT in Texas clay soils.
 
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You need to check water tempreture and if you don't want to decrease your plant growth then use high quality humic acid only.
So for those interested, high quality hc is considered to come from materials that have arrived at a almost fossiled state, unlike coal which is considered a fossilized state of compost. The humic chains are easier to dissolve out, and the yield is higher, without the corresponding yield of metals which are inherent to all of these materials. With greater yield via solubility, undesirable material leach as well. Leonardite is a semi-coal that is a popular source. Typically the humic acid source materials are leached in a solution of lye (sodium hydroxide) and the filtered solution is then treated with a strong acid in the 2pH range that causes the blacker humic acids to clump and flocculate for ease of separation and filtering. The fulvic and humins remain solute. This process produces a situation where no one to my knowledge has demonstrated that the compounds in the source materials are in fact the exact same as the materials that are purified out at the end of the process. The use of the term organic has even been questioned from what I have read, given the use of acids and so forth. I have been reading some about soaking the source materials in water for a tea style distillate, but since some components only solve in acid I have questions about the intent and claims of that process. In any event, because the materials are so attracted to toxic metals such as mercury, and are in part why coal is considered so dirty as a fuel source, the remaining by products of this extraction process are apt to be made even more hazardous. Much care should attend an attempt to create humic extractions outside a safely planned
lab environment or facility imo.
 
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I am making worm tea with the addition of unsulfured molasses and using a bubbler. The pH is 7.65 after 20 hours of aeration. There is little foam but that does not appear to be an issue. My concern? If I add some organic pH Down (organic acid i.e. lemon juice) will that kill the micro organisms? My intuition says no, but what do expert gardeners have to say?
 
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Well, it's going on two years since I wrote the above. I forgot I joined the Forum! Anyway, it was great to get such a reply about worm tea. Since then I have added, via You Tube gardeners, a bunch of stuff to the tea. Of course, I know really nothing about micro organisms and have just been going with the flow of videos that appear to make sense about creating a viable worm tea to give to my little girls who grow to big girls i.e. weed for personal consumption.

The recipe now is called a Super-Charged Worm Tea: 5 gallons of water bubbled for a day to release the tap water chlorine followed by 3 cups of fresh worm castings, 3 tablespoons of Humic Acid, 1/4 cup Unsulfered Molasses, 1/4 cup Bat Guano, 1/8th cup of Fish Fertilizer, and 1/4 cup of Rock Dust all bubbling for a day or two then used as a concentrate (say three or four cups of the tea to a two gallon watering can for each plant. That's it! Of course, like I said, I have no idea if it all works (all the ingredients are OMRI rated) it makes me feel like a real farmer which I am not but I am learning! I live in Northern California by the way near San Francisco of course!

That all said, now I am having trouble with insects like Broad Mites, Spider Mites, etc and am trying keep them at bay. Last year I lost half my crop due to leaves wilting, turning brown, twisty leaves falling to the ground, things like that. The only thing that stopped the mites from taking down the entire crop was a couple of days where the temp was above 110 degrees Fahrenheit which apparently killed the little impossible to see little creatures that live inside the leaves. So now I am loaded with organic pesticides like Neem Oil, Planet Therapy, and other OMRI rated bug killers during the vegetative stage. Basically we are talking Neem oil, soy bean oil, peppermint oil and a bit of isopropyl alcohol. Any thoughts on that score would be much appreciated! I give most of my weed away to friends who need it by the way. Thank you in advance if you have any ideas!
 
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Well, it's going on two years since I wrote the above. I forgot I joined the Forum! Anyway, it was great to get such a reply about worm tea. Since then I have added, via You Tube gardeners, a bunch of stuff to the tea. Of course, I know really nothing about micro organisms and have just been going with the flow of videos that appear to make sense about creating a viable worm tea to give to my little girls who grow to big girls i.e. weed for personal consumption.

The recipe now is called a Super-Charged Worm Tea: 5 gallons of water bubbled for a day to release the tap water chlorine followed by 3 cups of fresh worm castings, 3 tablespoons of Humic Acid, 1/4 cup Unsulfered Molasses, 1/4 cup Bat Guano, 1/8th cup of Fish Fertilizer, and 1/4 cup of Rock Dust all bubbling for a day or two then used as a concentrate (say three or four cups of the tea to a two gallon watering can for each plant. That's it! Of course, like I said, I have no idea if it all works (all the ingredients are OMRI rated) it makes me feel like a real farmer which I am not but I am learning! I live in Northern California by the way near San Francisco of course!

That all said, now I am having trouble with insects like Broad Mites, Spider Mites, etc and am trying keep them at bay. Last year I lost half my crop due to leaves wilting, turning brown, twisty leaves falling to the ground, things like that. The only thing that stopped the mites from taking down the entire crop was a couple of days where the temp was above 110 degrees Fahrenheit which apparently killed the little impossible to see little creatures that live inside the leaves. So now I am loaded with organic pesticides like Neem Oil, Planet Therapy, and other OMRI rated bug killers during the vegetative stage. Basically we are talking Neem oil, soy bean oil, peppermint oil and a bit of isopropyl alcohol. Any thoughts on that score would be much appreciated! I give most of my weed away to friends who need it by the way. Thank you in advance if you have any ideas!
If you are having mite problems you can stop them before they start by spraying 2 oz liquid seaweed, 1 oz molasses per gallon of water. You should spray at minimum every 2 weeks, preferably every week before the mites appear and during the growing season.
 
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Thank you Chuck for the 2 oz liquid seaweed and 1 oz molasses recipe. I will try it. Where do I get the liquid seaweed? I guess off Amazon. But what I am most interested in is your certainty this is the best amongst all the other OMRI insecticides and why it works? I am sure my friends would like to hear the back story since it would little short of a revelation to those of us who know next to nothing about getting rid of mites, which, as you know, are famous for their destructive ways...living inside the leaves and laying their eggs with impunity!
 
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Thank you Chuck for the 2 oz liquid seaweed and 1 oz molasses recipe. I will try it. Where do I get the liquid seaweed? I guess off Amazon. But what I am most interested in is your certainty this is the best amongst all the other OMRI insecticides and why it works? I am sure my friends would like to hear the back story since it would little short of a revelation to those of us who know next to nothing about getting rid of mites, which, as you know, are famous for their destructive ways...living inside the leaves and laying their eggs with impunity!
Seaweed does not kill the mites, in fact it doesn't do anything to the mites at all. This is why you must use it on a regular basis BEFORE the mites show up. Mites show up, more or less, at about the same time each year. What seaweed does is it toughens up the "skin", the surface of the leaves, making it very difficult for the mites to attack the plant. The molasses just acts as a surfactant and it feeds beneficial microbial life on the leaf's surface. As I said, seaweed is NOT a pesticide or insecticide. You do the seaweed BEFORE and DURING the applications of the insecticide. By far the best organic insecticide or in this case miticide, is Neem Oil. As I am sure you know mites (spider mites) are just about impossible to eliminate once that have established a foothold on the plant. Both the seaweed and the Neem working together are the best (and only) way I have found to be effective against mites. Neem by itself does not control them and neither does liquid seaweed but working in tandem does work.
 
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Seaweed does not kill the mites, in fact it doesn't do anything to the mites at all. This is why you must use it on a regular basis BEFORE the mites show up. Mites show up, more or less, at about the same time each year. What seaweed does is it toughens up the "skin", the surface of the leaves, making it very difficult for the mites to attack the plant. The molasses just acts as a surfactant and it feeds beneficial microbial life on the leaf's surface. As I said, seaweed is NOT a pesticide or insecticide. You do the seaweed BEFORE and DURING the applications of the insecticide. By far the best organic insecticide or in this case miticide, is Neem Oil. As I am sure you know mites (spider mites) are just about impossible to eliminate once that have established a foothold on the plant. Both the seaweed and the Neem working together are the best (and only) way I have found to be effective against mites. Neem by itself does not control them and neither does liquid seaweed but working in tandem does work.
 
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Thank you Chuck. I appreciate the detail. I am ordering the goods tonight. One small question. Does it matter whether it is Blackstrap Molasses or plain Molasses?
 
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Thank you Chuck. I appreciate the detail. I am ordering the goods tonight. One small question. Does it matter whether it is Blackstrap Molasses or plain Molasses?
No it doesn/t make any difference.
 
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