Last year we made compost and compost extract for use in the polytunnels. The extract was also looked at with the microscope. Most of the compost after making extract was used in polytunnel which has tomatoes in it. These look healthy and were praised by another local gardener, but there’s no control. However, we did have a control on the extract applied to the beans in another polytunnel.
If you look at the picture at the head of this post, on the RHS of the picture is the control. This is what we would have grown normally.
in the middle on the top you can just see a blue ribbon which is where application of the compost extract stopped. On the left are the plants where compost extract was applied to the ground, it ran out at the blue ribbon point. Same plants, same time planted, and the same set of seeds. The difference in vigour, height of growth and yield is remarkable and clearly to be seen.
This is a pretty clear win, closer inspection shows not just the obvious differences but the leaves are in better condition. The journey to getting here has been difficult, and we still can’t really make the compost work properly in a repeatable manner, but we are getting closer. This is a combination of gaining experience and learning our materials better. We are always struggling to get enough material and have little mechanical assistance, but seeing the success means that we have at least proved the principle to our satisfaction and can invest effort in getting better at making compost.