Teaming with Microbes

In December we attended the ACRES Conference in Columbus. Our biggest takeaway was about the soil and it being a living entity. We purchased and read Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to farm organically and in harmony with the beneficial critters that are in the soil. The book is broken into two parts – the first covers the basic science of what is happening in the soil, which is fascinating stuff, but somewhat heavy reading. The second part is how to apply this science to your yard and garden. The book presents 19 rules to follow and one of the rules is “rototilling and excessive soil disturbance destroy or severely damage the soil food web”……so, we are going no-till this season. That’s right; Bertha is getting a rest!

We are also seriously ramping up our compost tea production to help feed the beneficial microbes in the soil, another lesson from the book. Spink built a brewer to make actively aerated compost tea (AACT). Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 5 gal. chlorine-free water (we use rain water but you can also use tap water and let it sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate)
  • 4 cups compost
  • 2 tablespoons molasses

Put the above in the brewer and let it bubble for 24 hours and use immediately. The brewer is some tubing and pipe attached to a fish tank aerator inside a 5 gallon bucket.

5 gallon brewer rocking to make compost tea

0 thoughts on “Teaming with Microbes

  1. Lynn G. says:

    Thanks Annabel! Soil is a resource to be conserved, just as we (should) view air and water. Looking forward to reading more and experimenting with compost tea. Using resources we have on hand -yes!