Compos & Compos Tea
Soil Food Web
Start brewing your own compost tea
At Sun Seeker Agri we will give you a high-quality compost and a unique blend of food source for your microbes and help you to build your own compost tea system. Then you can start brewing your own compost tea.
Why Use Compost Tea?
Sustainable plant health and plant production depends on specialized relationships with beneficial soil microbes. Compost tea is used for two reasons: To inoculate highly diverse beneficial species of microbial life into the soil or onto the foliage of plants, and to add soluble nutrients to the foliage or to the soil in order to feed the organisms and the plants present.
The use of compost tea is suggested any time the organisms in the soil or on the plants are not at optimum levels. Chemical-based pesticides, fumigants, herbicides and many synthetic fertilizers kill a range of the beneficial microorganisms that encourage plant growth, while compost teas improve the life in the soil and on plant surfaces. High quality compost tea will inoculate the leaf surface and soil with beneficial microorganisms, instead of destroying them.
What Is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a liquid inoculum produced by leaching soluble nutrients and extracting bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes from compost. The compost tea brewing process can be likened to brewing beer or wine and, like these same processes, requires care and the right tea-making equipment.
When these are present, making compost tea that will help your plants becomes as easy as flipping a light switch. “Compost tea” is a soil inoculum that helps to ensure that the needs of productive plants are met throughout their productive life.
Tea contains all the soluble nutrients extracted from the compost plus additional microbe foods, as well as contains all the species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes in the compost. Not all the individuals in the compost, but representatives of all the species in the compost are found in the compost tea. Making sure only beneficial species are present in the compost is therefore critical.
Foods extracted from the compost or added to the tea grow beneficial organisms. A large diversity of foods and organisms are extracted from compost. The beneficial bacteria and fungi growing on the compost foods, along with the added specific microbe foods, results in growing many individuals of many different species. Molecular diversity analysis is required, however, to assess even a small portion of the species present in compost tea.
Only aerobes are desired. Anaerobes make alcohols that kill plant tissues very rapidly. Putrifying organic matter, which is anaerobic, also contains organisms, many which are not beneficial for your plants or your soils.
The functions of a healthy foodweb are:
Retention of nutrients
Retention of nutrients so they do not leach or volatilize from the soil. Reduction or complete deletion of inorganic fertilizer applications is possible.
Cycling nutrients into the right forms at the right rates for the plant desired. The right ratio of fungi to bacteria is needed for this to happen, as well as the right numbers and activity of the predators.
Suppression of disease
Suppression of disease-causing organisms through competition with non -Beneficial’s, by setting up the soil and foliar conditions to help the Beneficial’s instead of the diseases.
Building soil structure
Building soil structure, so oxygen, water and other nutrients can easily move into the soil and into deep, well-structured root systems. Current concepts of plant root systems as being at the surface of the soil is the result of current agricultural and urban practices, not a real condition of plants.
Protection of plant
Protection of plant surfaces, above or below ground by making certain the foods the plant surfaces release into the soil are used by beneficial, not disease organisms, making certain that infection sites on plant surfaces are occupied by beneficial, and not disease-causing organisms. And by making certain predators that prefer disease-causing organisms are present to consume disease-causing organisms.
Roots should go down
Roots should go down into the soil for at least several to 10’s and perhaps 100’s of centimetres, but the compaction that humans impose on soil results in toxic materials being produced, preventing good root penetration. The only sustainable way to deal with this is to have the proper biology build the structure in the soil again, so oxygen and water can move into the soil. When the biology is functioning properly, water use is reduced, the need for fertilizers is reduced, and plant production is increased.
Production of plant
Production of plant-growth-promoting hormones and chemicals can result in larger root systems, although whether forcing larger root systems on plants is a positive result needs to be understood.
Organisms exist in populations that are balanced according to optimal growth conditions for your type of plant.
Sunseeker EM – A
Sunseeker EM -A is an activation of EM-1 which is the original product and which we buy from the only legal suppliers of the product in South Africa.
Dr. Teruo Higa started studying microorganisms in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly at Ryukyus University in Okinawa, Japan. By the early 1980s, he was perfecting his liquid culture of specific facultative anaerobic microbes that provide amazing benefits when combined in specific proportions. Facultative anaerobic means microbes that can live both in air with oxygen, and in low oxygen conditions. They’re also called fermenting microbes and some of them are responsible for making your bread, beer, wine and yogurt. There are up to 20 different microbes in the inoculant from all over the world, but when we put them together, the magic begins.
The lactic acid bacteria make up most of the population. They protect the other two groups by producing acids that control harmful microbes and enhance organic matter breakdown. They can even help fungi to break down difficult-to-digest lignins and cellulose. The yeasts produce hormones, enzymes, vitamins, and antimicrobial substances that manipulate their environment and protect the photosynthetic bacteria, also known as phototrophic bacteria.
The photosynthetic bacteria can, yes, photosynthesize. They can fix both nitrogen and carbon from the atmosphere. While all the microbes in EM are important, these guys are considered by Dr. Higa to be the “heart of effectiveness” of the group. They supply amino acids, nucleic acids, sugars, and other bioactive substances, some of which they feed to the others. They break down lignins and even decompose toxins and convert them into nutrients. After its value was seen in soil and composting, EM started to be used in other areas with astounding results. It has helped plants beat diseases such as Botrytis, insects such as weevils and other stressors. Like compost tea, it’s not a pesticide and can’t be marketed as such. It simply creates health in the plant and helps to outcompete predators. It also helps crops achieve higher brix and longer storage. One study sticks in my mind because a 50% increase in yield was obtained just with EM.