Aerated Compost Tea, Molasses & BOX Nutrients
Every time I hear tea mentioned and see any suggestions of recipes, I also hear the words Black Strap Molasses (BSM). When making a tea we must first consider the purpose before we choose the inputs. Should the purpose be to increase the rate of Carbon to Nitrogen ratios in the soil, then Better Organix would advocate the inclusion of BSM. BSM or table sugars are a source of Carbon, but they actually contain very little Nitrogen, and so adding BSM is next to useless. If you do want to add Nitrogen to a plant and this is especially apparent in media that already has a high C/N ratio, then BOX users can simply add Bio-Veg as a more appropriate choice of additive.
Ratios of Carbon to Nitrogen (C/N) in soils, and/or media, determine rates of decay. The higher the rate of Carbon to Nitrogen, the slower the rate of decay so, for organic growers, the rate of decay is a crucial factor in the rate of conversion from organic to inorganic and so the rate at which our plants are supplied with food. Nitrogen is the limiting factor in plant growth, and this C/N ratio is a major contributing factor. If we choose to add Carbon, without first acknowledging C/N ratios and so any available N, we may well be increasing the ratio, out of favour and so delay any conversions and/or decay. It is possible that so little Nitrogen can exist, that the very microbes one hopes to cultivate in a BSM tea would be wasted, without sufficient N to power them, with enough over supply for our plants. This is not to say never use BSM in ACT brews. BSM has a crucial role to play in supplying media depleted of Carbon, with a fast acting source of C/N, without which no, life can exist, no nutrient exchange can be established, so it does have a role. Soilless media can benefit in particular with regular tea feeds of BSM (Bio-Floret is a sugar complex containing amino forms of N and C14 to help release stress and maintain stomata openings for maximum nutrient uptake of the sugars, benefits for BOX users of course not BSM users) ;-)
If you are growing in or making your own, soil/media mixes....
When considering a short day crop soil mix and adding additional inputs, start by first understanding the ratio of C/N in both the base inputs, for example Peat and those we might add, e.g. Alfalfa, Corn, wood chips, newspaper and so on. Understanding the C/N ratio is the first factor in determining if it might be possible to release bound organics within the time frame of your chosen plants’ life. You can read the label of the organic soil amendments, and delight at the NPK numbers of each input, but these have a C/N ratio that tells you when each input might be available and at what the label might say, based on both moisture, temperature, biology and of course C/N.
If you are a farmer, don't be swayed by mineral sales men until you know what the consequences of your cash crop C/N residues are and so the time you might need to get these back in to the land. You may need N, P and K, your residues might not be enough, this is why and how people like us here at Better Organix still exist and always will.
We are not telling you that you will never need NPK inputs, but it might not be what the guy wants to sell you. Do the maths first based on your tonnage of crop residue, type farmed and so C/N and/or value in terms of ongoing NPK. Do the simple Bio N = Bio C/8, this will tell you how much N your microbes need first, in order to decay your residues and or ensure sufficient N for next crop.
Happy natural growing