Optimizing biological populations in tea

16 May 2011 Earthfort, Misc


Question: If I want to encourage protozoa in my compost tea, my understanding is that it could take up to 36 hours. If I just did a nice pre-treated fungal tea for 24 hours, would leaving it for 36 select against all that great fungal growth in the tea? In other words, do I have to choose one over the other (high fungal biomass or high protozoa) or can I get both by just leaving the tea?


Answer: You can get both, and without waiting 36 hours. Numerous tests confirm both good fungal biomass and good protozoa populations will be in the tea at the end of the standard 24 hour brewing cycle, especially when the compost is pre-treated, as explained in the instructions for the Dirt Simple brewers.


Brewing for 36 hours will probably also result in good populations of both fungi and protozoa. Some research indicates protozoa numbers might be slightly higher with longer brewing cycles, although there is not as much volume of research to confirm this. The main downside is the loss of time. Most people will probably see more practical benefits from applying their tea after brewing 24 hours, and using those extra hours to start a new batch of tea.