Dr. Elaine Ingham's Basic Compost Tea Recipe

Dr. Elaine Ingham's Basic Compost Tea Recipe

Making a tea or extract with your compost shows how concentrated it is with the growth of organisms. Teas should be applied to foliage to feed the soil food web. The amount applied is determined by the organisms in the tea. If the tea has excellent numbers of what is missing in the soil, then you could apply as little as 5 gallons per acre. If there are good levels of organisms in the tea, then 10 gallons per acre, if not many organisms, then 20 gallons per acre.

Dr. Elaine Ingham's Basic Tea Recipe:
A. 25 gallons of water, aerated to remove chlorine, add two teaspoons of a humic acid solution (preferably humic acid extracted from your own compost).

B. 1 to 2 tablespoons of humic acid diluted in 2 cups of water BEFORE adding to the compost tea water OR 1 to 2 tablespoons of fish hydrolysate (pre-diluted to neutralize the acid preservative according to the label on the container).

C. 1/2 cup of kelp mixed in 5 cups of water BEFORE addition to the compost tea

D. 5 pounds of good aerobic (good smelling, like deep forest soil) compost with excellent bacteria, fungi, protozoa in the compost. Using a microscope, assess the compost: Using a 1:5 dilution of compost, 400X total magnification, there should be a MINIMUM of thousands of bacteria in each field of view, 1 strand of fungal hyphae in each 5 fields, 1 flagellate or amoebae in each 5 to 10 fields of view and 1 beneficiall nematode per drop.

Additional foods if needed to improve fungi: 1 cup steel cut oats, or bran flour, or shrimp shells (no protein on the shells!) put in the compost bag with the compost


Replace humic acids with the same amount of fish hydrolysate if the plants need a nitrogen boost


Extracts are usually applied to soil

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