The easiest and low-tech way of adding the microorganisms from compost is to extract them fro mthe compost using water and a mesh, then spray the water – in our case using watering cans. You can spread the compost itself, and there’s much to be said for that, but it’s more stuff to wrangle and needs to happen before you plant, ideally. Since we are going to test areas on already growing plants, extract it is. Compost tea is a way of getting more microbes out there, but it is technically harder and we don’t have the gear. Extract it is, then. The rate seems to be about a good handful per 5 gallons, we used half an IBC, ie about 500 liters, which is 110 gallons. So we need about 20 times as much
Start with a wodge of compost in a net curtain
and 500 litres reasonably clean borehole water (so no worries on chlorine or chloramine)
We made a bag by putting the compost in the middle of the net curtain material and tying up the top with a releasable cable tie.
You can see the brown of the humic acid leaching out of the compost into the water
the end result is a dark brown chocolate colour
The successful compost is ready – it has now fallen to roughly ambient temperature.
unfortunately the temperature logger failed when I was on holiday so I don’t know what the profile was as it cooled down. And yes, it didn’t spend three times three days above 55C – more like three days and two days. There’s still more to learn here.
Time to look at this and see what sort of microbial stuff is in it. I shook this up with about 20 times the amount of water and put a drop on a slide
fungal hypha and bacteria
According to Elaine Ingham’s rules of thumb this is probably a good sort of soil fungus, because if the little round cocci are 1µm in diameter the fungal hypha is about 4µm. I could see that this one was slightly tan coloured, but the incandescent lamp of the microscope plays havoc with the white balance of the camera, making everything bright yellow.
This next one is narrow and clear, so not good in the morphology rule of thumb that fungi < 3µm in diameter and clear are undesirable soil fungi.
I saw no protozoa or micro-arthropods. That’s either because there aren’t any or because I didn’t recognise them. The dilution is high, – it appears that Ingham starts at 5:1 so I’m four times less likely to see these at 20:1.