SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
ponderinstuff

Is Aerated Tea Really Better Than Non-Aerated?

ponderinstuff
14 years ago

I was just curious who agrees or disagrees with these statements I just found on Wikipedia:

*There is absolutely no scientific evidence that aerated teas have more benefit than non aerated. There is no scientific evidence that the bacteria brewed in any tea survive once applied to plants/soil.

*Many studies have shown no effect from the use of teas and others show harmful effects while some show positive effects. There is no difference in the effects noticed in the studies between aerated and non aerated teas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia Link

Comments (31)

  • squeeze
    14 years ago

    sounds about right to me, although depending on how each is made, the bacterial strains in aerated tea would be more desireable than the types likely to be in the other .... teas are at best a disease treatment and if the compost had been applied to the soil early the plant would be more likely to fend for itself - a healthy garden takes a microbially healthy soil rich in organic material

    Bill

  • ponderinstuff
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I originally posted this question as I was a little confused because when I read the Garden Web Article below, it would lead me to believe that aerated compost tea is a VERY good thing. But then I came across the Wikipedia article which seems to state that, not only is aerated compost tea not that effective, it may (in some cases) even be detrimental.

    So that's why I was wondering what opinions others have on this subject. . . . .

    Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Web Aerated Tea Link

  • Related Discussions

    Aerated Compost Tea Discovery

    Q

    Comments (24)
    I have an old CPAP machine (the kind people who have sleep apnea use). It essentially blows air into their face at night. The neat thing is it measures its flow in CM of H2O. I can set it to 20 CM H2O which means it's strong enough to life a 1 cm column of water 20 CM high. It's strong. I snake a hose into a 55 gallon barrel of water and bubble push tons of air into the mix. Cheap and effective.
    ...See More

    life of aerated compost tea

    Q

    Comments (19)
    I use a small aquarium pump with a flexi hose. The "foam" that forms is a sign that the population is building, and yes, dying as well. The proper amounts of N and a simple carb such as honey or molasses is needed to build the herd. I have not found that spraying on the plants is near as beneficial as adding to clean water , diluting as it is, and adding a bit more carb and N such as in fish ferts prior to pouring into container plants or soil. Side by side tests on every species of plant I have grown shows massive differences. The development of microrhyzae (sp?) on harvested roots at end of year is complex and complete. The ability to use a "hotter" organic soil mix and therefor, boost your plants size, health, and yields are evident as well. The plants that have the tea added a couple of times during the season also show less stress, more resistance to insects and leaf infections, molds, etc. I don't have a degree, havent read all the papers published by others, but did hundreds of side by side tests with different teas over the years to determine what works best. How about a 5' tall and square habanero grown in a single season that produces hundreds of savina peppers, in a 6 gallon container? Or the plum tomato plant grown in a 4 gallon container that covered 25' of fence again in a single season, never mind me trying to even guess how many plum maters I got off that one, suffice to say that 40 people at work finally begged off because they simply couldn't eat or store more.. heheheh Good luck TiMo
    ...See More

    First Batch of Aerated Alfalfa Tea

    Q

    Comments (5)
    Interesting.......I may have to try this. I usually stir it up several times while it is stewing but that probably doesn't do too much. Last batch I bumped the bucket as I was bringing it out of the trash can and it splashed all down my left side. Including my face :) :) :) Lynn
    ...See More

    Pull behind plug aerator vs. spline aerator-spreader

    Q

    Comments (12)
    Deerslayer, Actually you can pull plugs in sandy soil. It just has to be a little wet, like a day or two (at most) after a heavy rain. I started out with the Argi-fab spike aerator/spreader and hated it. It wasn't heavy enough to dig in and really aerate the soil (even in sand). The only thing I could see it being useful for is seeding tilled soil. I took it back after one use and bought a Brinly plug aerator, which I weigh down with two cinder blocks, filled with concrete and rebar handles. That probably puts about 140lbs on it, which allow it to pull up 1.5-2" plugs. If I were overseeding, I'd aerate first, then go over it with my broadcast spreader. That's what I do when I put down 700-1000lbs of lime (depending on the ph tests) each spring. I don't really see the point in having one implement which does two jobs poorly (unless you're really strapped for storage space), instead of two pieces that each do their own job very well. A spike aerator alone would probably work fine with a weight shelf, but the combination hopper/aerator doesn't allow you to weigh it down. An aerator is an incredibly good purchase for a lawn tractor. When you consider renting a professional walk-behind plug aerator is around $100, it pretty much pays for itself after two uses. Also, a good plug aerator with a lot of weight on it can really tear things up (if you want it to). Before I had my tiller, I had to regrade a small portion of my front lawn before reseeding it. After a dozen or so passes with the aerator, it looked like I'd tilled it.
    ...See More
  • captaincompostal
    14 years ago

    When you are trying to teach and convert non-organic gardeners into organic gardening, it is much easier to convince them to change their gardening methods, with using good balanced, common sense, hot active composting methods and aerated compost tea recipes. Both of these organic methods have no bad stinky smells! Plus you can do it indoors and outdoors. In the city or in the country. With non-organic students, smell and appearence means more to them than almost anything else in gardening.

    On the other hand, pure old-school organic gardeners could care less about mess and smell in both composting and gardening style. The more natural and raw the better! As long as the earthworms and aerobic soil microbes are being well fed, it's all right.

    I like aerated teas because they are far more fun to create, plus it gives me an extra personal assurance that I don't always feel with using non-aerated teas as foliar and soil drenches on my crops.

    I still prefer various non-aerated teas as quick nitrogen and microbial activators for my many hot active compost stockpiles.

    (NOTE: I vote for aerated teas as my favorite...)

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    That Wikipedia quote sounds exactly like something I said on this forum a while back.

    Does ACT work? Yes. Any better than non-aerated CT? No evidence. Any better than applying compost? No evidence.

  • esther_opal
    14 years ago

    Search Elaine Ingham, she much research to support AACT if you believe it.o!

    What research was referenced on the Wiki and anyone who supports the assertions or opposes them should show studies to back it up.

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    Esther- look at the old threads here on this. Tons of studies, no evidence, we've beaten that dead horse too many times :)

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    I should restate that- there have been many requests that someone prove that it does something more that non ACT or compost (no- I won't prove a negative).

    I wish the search function worked here, because we had an exhaustive list going of articles that didn't prove the benefits of ACT

  • bpgreen
    14 years ago

    The wikipedia article specifically states that it has not been verified against sources and may not be reliable. The two quotes in th OP both have a note that a citation is needed.

    I like Wikipedia and use it for a lot, but the article linked for this thread is not one of the better articles I've read there.

  • gumby_ct
    14 years ago

    Wikipedia is known to be very inaccurate and should certainly be verified with other sources.

    Don't they let just anyone create those listings?

  • bpgreen
    14 years ago

    "Wikipedia is known to be very inaccurate and should certainly be verified with other sources."

    Do you have a source for that?

    About a year and a half ago, Wikipedia got a lot of bad press for an article that had some inaccurate information in it falsely linking somebody to the Kennedy assassination.

    Not too long after that, however, Nature did a study and concluded that Wikipedia compared favorably with Encyclopedia Britannica for accuracy. I think many people consider Wikipedia to be very inaccurate, but the Nature study is the only large scale study I remember, and it doesn't seem to support that belief.

    They do let anybody contribute to articles. In the past, it could be done anonymously, but now contributors have to be registered (I'm not sure what is involved in that). They do have editors, and those are the people who put up comments like the ones on the compost tea article saying that it hasn't been verified and may not be accurate and that it is missing citations.

    Overall, it's good, but some articles aren't really in a finished state. I would put the compost tea article in that category.

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    "Wikipedia is known to be very inaccurate and should certainly be verified with other sources. "

    In some cases, yes. However, when people make a claim that something is the aqua vitae- then the burden of proof is on them. It's not been met to my knowledge. Until it is, then Wiki has it right.

  • blutranes
    14 years ago

    Some people believe what they read; others believe what they see. {{gwi:289743}} of Vidalia onions, red onions, and collard greens have been treated with aerated compost tea, the most recent yesterday, both foliar fed and a soil drench. As well, {{gwi:289744}} and cucumbers got the same treatment yesterday. Not to mention this {{gwi:289745}}, they too suffered a blast of aerated compost tea. As most know, I use a modified version of the Bruce Deuley's Little Texas Tea Maker, with Steve Solomon's home made organic fertilizer mix in the tea. I tried non-aerated compost tea earlier in the season, but I won't be making that mistake again. Since we are in the middle of a drought (and late spring planting) I cannot afford to play with my food any longer, aerated compost tea is getting the job done.

    The way I learned which is better is by using both aerated and non-aerated compost tea and watching the results. I sure am enjoying watching aerated compost tea do its thing, not to mention the delicious taste of these vegetables. IMO, aerated compost tea is one of the best thing for my garden, YMMV...

    Blutranes

    BTW, I have never suffered any negative effects of using aerated compost tea. I have no knowledge of effects on plant diseases, for I have none...

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    "Some people believe what they read; others believe what they see."

    We agree that it works. That does not compare it to non-aerated tea, which was the question (smell aside).

  • patty4150
    14 years ago

    Hey Captain Compost!! :)

    As far as teas \- I am a microbiologist. I'm not a botanist. It makes no intuitive sense to me that compost microbes, on plants, will be good for the plants. It makes tons of sense to me, that composted material, in the soil, will make plants happy. I vote for adding compost to your garden and letting the watering leach stuff deeper towards the roots. \-Patty
  • blutranes
    14 years ago

    Patty4150 said:

    "As far as teas - I am a microbiologist. I'm not a botanist. It makes no intuitive sense to me that compost microbes, on plants, will be good for the plants."

    I am not a professional; a lowly layman to the end. However, it is my feeling that the microbes play a different role in compost tea. Yes, they multiply to astronomical numbers, but the humic and fulvic acids are the true workhorses within compost tea. When sprayed, the fulvic acid stimulates the plant into added photosynthesis. As a soil drench, the humic acids interact with the microbes to feed plant roots into additional growth.

    The foundation of the entire process is finished compost added to the soil and within the tea. Without the compost, IMO, the growing environment and plant suffersÂ

    Blutranes

  • gumby_ct
    14 years ago

    "Wikipedia is known to be very inaccurate and should certainly be verified with other sources."

    Do you have a source for that?

    I seem to remember seeing it on the TV news. I think it was something about a college student using Wikipedia as a reference source.

    They do let anybody contribute to articles. In the past, it could be done anonymously, but now contributors have to be registered...
    That's not scary enuff?
    Registered? Like you register here? Maybe even some of the very same egos?

    I think you made my point.

  • bpgreen
    14 years ago

    Did you read the article in Nature that I linked? The panels of scientists who rated Wikipedia to compare favorably to Britannica hold more weight with me than a college student you seem to recall seeing on TV.

    Here is what Wikipedia says about who can contribute. So, although anybody can contribute, even experts need to provide published sources for what they post. That makes it very different from what can be posted here.

    Anybody can post anything here, without providing any supporting documentation. Or they can post and provide supporting documentation. They'd both be treated by GW equally. If something offensive is posted, GW may pull it, but GW won't flag something as lacking citation or not verified. Wikipedia will.

    I agree with you that Wikipedia should not be considered an authoritative source. Where I disagree with you is your assertion (with no supporting links) that it is known to be very inaccurate.

    I don't consider it to be authoritative, but most articles have links to the sources that would be considered authoritative (the compost tea article didn't) so you can verify the information with authoritative sources.

    It's a good starting point, but I certainly wouldn't consider it a good source for college research. I don't think I'd consider Britannica a good source for a college research paper, either. The student in question could easily have followed the links to find the primary sources, and used those instead. If those sources weren't there, then none of it should have been used.

  • rangier
    14 years ago

    Pablo said:
    We agree that it works. That does not compare it to non-aerated tea, which was the question (smell aside).

    Pablo,
    Smell aside? If you can put the smell of non-aerated compost tea aside, then you're more of a man than I am. Properly made aerated compost tea smells good. Experience has taught me that it is unreasonable to expect ME to handle buckets of tea, pour it, mix it, apply it to soil or foliage and not get it on me. On that alone, aerated compost tea, properly made, is superior. It is a better product. I'm also a bit concerned about pathogens in stinky tea, whether non-aerated or aerated improperly.

    I don't know or care which type of compost tea works better. I know that ACT works phenomenally.

    And of course, using large amounts of organic matter, preferably finished compost, is the basis for good healthy soil, and thus healthy vigorous plants. Teas and fertilizers are enhancements. It's not either/or. Nothing wrong with increasing production that I can see, especially in the early years of soil building.

    There are also strong suspicions that ACT applied to the foliage prevents or lessens the incidence and severity of disease, and can discourage pests.

    rangier

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    "If you can put the smell of non-aerated compost tea aside, then you're more of a man than I am. "

    Don't confuse weed teas and nasty anaerobic mixes with non-aerated compost tea. It's just tea made with compost.

    Leach the good stuff out of compost for a couple of days- and you have non-aerated compost tea. I've not seen any studies showing it to be less effective than ACT.

    Non-aerated compost tea may develop some smell over a couple days- but not like alfalfa meal teas or weed teas (blecch!).

    "There are also strong suspicions that ACT applied to the foliage prevents or lessens the incidence and severity of disease, and can discourage pests. "

    Strong suspicions? That's not evidence. It's been studied and nobody's been able to prove it. Theory guides and experiment decides. It's never been shown to give better disease resistance than non-aerated tea.

  • rangier
    14 years ago

    Pablo said:
    > Strong suspicions? That's not evidence. It's been studied
    > and nobody's been able to prove it.

    Pablo,
    It IS evidence, but it's not proof. I didn't say it was proof, did I? If there are any pest/disease benefits from ACT, great. If there are none, fine. I'm spraying it on the foliage of things anyway because they grow better than just adding organic matter to the soil. Don't ask me to prove that to you. I know from observation and experience that it is true. I'm here to learn from your and others experiences. I'm not here to break your arm for not running your garden and premises like I do mine.

    > It's been studied and nobody's been able to prove it.

    That's not really true. In the first place, there has to be a financial incentive for anyone, or should I say any corporation, to do the kind of expensive research you require. Small companies that produce organic products and home gardeners don't usually have the resources to do that kind of research. You think Monsanto and Bayer want to spend big money to prove such things?

    I don't need to see a peer reviewed double blind study proving that if an apple becomes detached from its tree, it will fall down. I don't need to know what causes it to happen. From observation, I know I want my head out of the way. Plenty of things that science accepts to be true are theory backed by observation.

    But I'm not a scientist, I'm a gardener, and I learn from observation. I have observed disease resistance from foliar applied ACT. I don't have the resources to duplicate it on a large scale with meticulous record keeping, etc. I'm just a small time gardener. It works for me. If you need absolute proof before you try something, that's up to you. Don't try it.

    > ... non-aerated compost tea. I've not seen any studies showing it to be less effective than ACT.

    You keep going back to the same thing. I don't care if non-aerated tea works as well or better. I didn't say one works better than the other. All I said is that ACT works beautifully, and is more pleasant, to me, to use. If you like non-aerated tea better, fine. Live and let live.

    I've not seen studies that say either way. You seem to be saying that nothing is true until it is proven to your high standard. The truth exists now, whether proven or not.

    And BTW, there is proof that certain strains of bacteria and fungi discourage disease. It is reasonable to suspect that some of the tens of thousands of strains in a good ACT or maybe in non-ACT will do the same. If you're interested in that subject, I don't expect you to take my word for it. But I'm not here to be your research boy. If you're interested in possible benefits, and need absolute proof before you try it, you research it.

    rangier

  • melonhedd
    14 years ago

    in conclusion:
    1. ACT works great.
    2. non-ACT works great.
    3. Based on anecdotal, not scientific evidence, some people think ACT works better.
    4. I'm with Pablo - a shovelful of compost in a bucket of water is simple and effective.
    5. we're all compost in the end.....

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    "It IS evidence, but it's not proof."

    Suspicion is not evidence. That is an absolute statement.

    "I've not seen studies that say either way."

    I have.

    "You seem to be saying that nothing is true until it is proven to your high standard"

    Nothing is proven until it is proven. There is a way to do that.

    "It is reasonable to suspect that some of the tens of thousands of strains in a good ACT or maybe in non-ACT will do the same."

    Common sense does not prove it either. People used to believe that stress CAUSED ulcers. They were wrong. Common sense. Theory guides and experiment decides- the experiments have shown no benefit over other methods.

    There are common sense reasons that those bacteria will not survive being sprayed/dried etc. and having a rapid change of environment. I won't say that's evidence they don't work.

    Fact is- there's just no evidence that it does any more. That's not some extremely high standard to ask that there be some evidence that it does more before it's taken as the truth. It's not even a theory yet- it is only hypothesis. I'm probably being generous saying even that because of the studies that show no benefit over non ACT.

    Don't let your dogma get in front of your karma on this.

    I really don't know why people get so defensive when I say this. It's not proven to be more effective. That's a fact. Even when people agree with me they seem to get defensive about it here.

  • rangier
    14 years ago

    "It IS evidence, but it's not proof."
    Pablo: Suspicion is not evidence. That is an absolute statement.

    rangier: I have seen evidence in my garden, and in others' that compost teas give disease resistance. I won't call it proof, but it makes me strongly suspect that it does. Note I didn't say only ACT, I said "compost teas."

    "I've not seen studies that say either way."
    Pablo: I have.

    rangier: OK. Then act accordingly.

    "You seem to be saying that nothing is true until it is proven to your high standard"
    Pablo: Nothing is proven until it is proven. There is a way to do that.

    rangier: That's not what I said, is it Pablo? Re-read it. Notice the word "true?" I am saying that something that is proven to be true, was true before it was proven, i.e. if spraying compost tea (any kind) on foliage helps with disease or pests, then it does so now, whether proven or not. Since I'm spraying it anyway, it *may* be a *possible* additional benefit.

    "It is reasonable to suspect that some of the tens of thousands of strains in a good ACT or maybe in non-ACT will do the same."
    Pablo:Common sense does not prove it either. People used to believe that stress CAUSED ulcers. They were wrong. Common sense. Theory guides and experiment decides- the experiments have shown no benefit over other methods.

    rangier: You continue to argue with things I didn't say. Did I say it proved it? I suspect it from my experience and others'.

    Pablo: There are common sense reasons that those bacteria will not survive being sprayed/dried etc. and having a rapid change of environment. I won't say that's evidence they don't work.

    rangier: I agree that it is not evidence either way. Dead or alive, they may trigger an immune response. Moisture is present on foliage from transpiration. Notice I didn't use the words "prove," or "proof."

    Pablo:Fact is- there's just no evidence that it does any more. That's not some extremely high standard to ask that there be some evidence that it does more before it's taken as the truth. It's not even a theory yet- it is only hypothesis. I'm probably being generous saying even that because of the studies that show no benefit over non ACT.

    rangier: I didn't say that it(ACT) does more(than non), did I Pablo.

    Pablo:Don't let your dogma get in front of your karma on this.

    rangier: Huh? You too.

    Pablo:I really don't know why people get so defensive when I say this. It's not proven to be more effective. That's a fact. Even when people agree with me they seem to get defensive about it here.

    rangier: I'm not being defensive, Pablo. I am puzzled at why you keep presenting arguments countering things I didn't say.

    rangier

  • esther_opal
    14 years ago

    And of course, using large amounts of organic matter, preferably finished compost
    Rangier

    Elaine Ingham explained to me that applying broad spectrum organic matter will feed the soil. Her take is that more microbes work better than less. Microbes live and die in micro time and applying 10 billion now means they die at the same speed as 100,000 or 1 billion. One caveat is that microbes eat microbes and release nutrients so maybe more microbes will help period. Ingham says she has demonstrated that AACT suppresses disease, many argue with her but if you are applying AACT then why not on the foliage except that may kill the microbes you are trying to deliver to the soil.

    Finished compost v. nonfinished compost is only a matter of time. If you sheet mulch today and continue to sheet mulch (compost) the soil will at some point reach the point where it is consuming at the rate you are applying or rather you can determine the rate by observation. Or consuming as fast as the soil and all other conditions will allow and more microbes applied today will not speed up the process. Finally I feel that sheet composting on the garden is as good as one needs to do.

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    Rangier- the question, and title of the thread is "Is Aerated Tea Really Better Than Non-Aerated?"

    " I didn't say that it(ACT) does more(than non), did I Pablo. "

    Now- I had a hard time figuring out what you typed in that post of yours up there, but that was the question "Is Aerated Tea Really Better Than Non-Aerated?".

    Nobody has presented evidence. So if you didn't say it was or wasn't- just that ACT worked- well- it doesn't help answer the question. That's why I keep coming back to that- because it was the SUBJECT.

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.
    14 years ago

    My background was medical microbiology as an undergraduate and horticulture in graduate school but I worked 30 years with computers because that paid better.

    With my background I would say that the hardest part of answering the OP's question "Is Aerated Tea Really Better Than Non-Aerated?" would be arrive at a definition of "better" that could be tested in a controlled experiment. If it were easy to define some one could go over to Scholar.Google and find the answer.

    From what little of the science I remember from 30 years ago I would doubt that it makes much difference. Nature packs measurable amounts of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide into the falling rain but once it hits the forest floor there isn't much subsequent aeration. Most of the great forest I trapped through as a kid were giant basins of anaerobic goo most of the year.

  • squeeze
    14 years ago

    you folks are a hoot .... as Pablo sez, no one has proven that any kind of tea is better than any other ... but more importantly with respect to real science, I've seen no one offer proof that compost tea is superior to compost alone .... most folks who tout compost tea not only do no 'controlled trials' but they always sound just like the guy who stands on the New York street corner tearing up newspaper because it obviously keeps the elephants away

    Bill

  • rangier
    14 years ago

    Pablo,

    Early in this thread, when you said we've beaten that dead horse too many times. I thought, "Right on, Pablo. Let's not get that going again."

    In my first post, I said, "I don't know or care which type of compost tea works better. I know that ACT works phenomenally."

    Knowing that we weren't likely to decide the issues once and for all on this thread, I stated why *I* prefer ACT. I also said that teas were no substitute for building the soil with organic matter.

    Just_me_6, who I assumed was interested in using teas, can take or leave anyone's advice.

    And to be clear on this: I don't want to have anything to do with anaerobic teas for the smell if for no other reason. I have used non-ACT plenty before I started making ACT. It works great as long as it is aerobic. Actually, it may work great if it goes anaerobic, but I don't want to deal with it. Improperly made or old ACT can go anaerobic and I don't want anything to do with that either.

    rangier

  • rangier
    14 years ago

    Squeeze,

    I don't have the resources to do any kind of "'controlled trials'" that could be considered scientific. I have done many comparisons on the scale I am capable of with my time, facilities, money, and patience.

    I've many times seen a difference between plants being foliar tea'd and those I didn't tea. In the soil, and in pots with identical medium. I've sprayed pavonia that for four years in May/June got leaf spots that really did a number on the plants till I pulled out the benlate.

    The fifth year, early May, I sprayed them with aerobic non-ACT. They have not had the leaf spots since. This is the sixth year. Maybe it's coincidence, but in my opinion, it was the tea. If I were to get another outbreak, I'd use ACT because I've switched to it. I don't know for sure if it would work better than the non-ACT I used before, but I'll see if it becomes necessary.

    But Squeeze, I'm not trying to get you to use teas. If you don't want to mess with it, or are not open to it, no problem. I won't scoff at you if you don't use it.

    rangier

  • bpgreen
    14 years ago

    "the guy who stands on the New York street corner tearing up newspaper because it obviously keeps the elephants away"

    Have you seen any elephants? Maybe he has something.

  • pablo_nh
    14 years ago

    "I don't have the resources to do any kind of "'controlled trials'" that could be considered scientific. "

    I guess that the whole point is that controled studies are published. Sorry to get back to the subject, but again- they showed no real advantage.