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What I usually think about when I think about diversity in the soil is actively aerated compost teas, but before we get to that as a bigger topic, I just want to remind people and talk about the idea of facultative anaerobes. Which are basically things that can operate in oxygen and out of oxygen rich environments. Now a lot of people think once you reduce the oxygen, and rightly so, there’s a lot more pathogenic activity that can happen. But some species are actually good at going back and forth and can provide good value to the plant. Yeah and actually products have been produced for a long time using these types of organisms. There is a tradition in East Asia, specifically out of Korea, of these effective micro organisms and they are basically culturing these organisms in an anaerobic environment. Sometimes they would be burying a bucket out in the forest and filling it up with sugary water and rotting fruits and then just letting it sit out there and letting it be colonized by whatever microbes fall into it from the forest. Yeah, I mean it’s really interesting because essentially what we are talking about is fermentation. In that case, slightly less structured than you’d expect on a good beer, but a similar process. So there is that whole chain of activity that can be beneficial to plants, but I really want to go beyond that to that actively aerated product, which is basically aerobic in nature. Meaning that it’s full of oxygen and oxygen using organisms. So, when we talk about an actively aerated compost tea, what are we talking about? Yeah so what you are doing is culturing or reproducing the organisms. So, you are trying to create a biologically dense solution. You are usually using compost or worm castings or insect frass and then you are bubbling it in water. So, you are making sure you are adding enough oxygen to keep it aerated because, let’s face it most of those organisms in the soil all the beneficial ones and such, they’re living in an aerobic environment. That means with oxygen. In that case, we are culturing organisms that are going to thrive once you apply them to your soil or your growing mix. By doing that aerating and bubbling, actually you’re reproducing, reproducing, reproducing So yeah, one of the key things is oxygenation of the solution. Yeah, so we have that inoculate material, that you suggested three different options for, you’ve got a lot of oxygen. Then, in general you’re going to look at two different things, almost like stimulants, like molasses, and the broader food sources like kelp or some different grain meals to target different organisms in that brew system. Yeah exactly! Just like you and I need a balance diet, so do the microbes and not only are we reproducing them, but we want them to continue to thrive. Different organisms have different dietary needs, so definitely how you feed your compost tea while you’re brewing it is going to affect your species composition and the abundance of those species in it. A lot of people talk about molasses, but if you just put molasses into a tea brewing system you’re really just looking at bacteria because they’re so much faster than fungi at finding quick sugar and accessing that quickly. So, a good quality tea product will also have additional food sources that bacteria might over look while they are focused on the molasses and slow and steady fungi can come in and replicate in that 24-hour brewing period as well. Yeah, certainly. We’ve talked about filling niches and not providing a space for pathogenic species to enter. So, for an activated compost tea, you’re basically applying all those functional groups to your growing media and hoping that they take hold and they fill these different niches. Then they can work together to help make nutrients more available, stimulate growth of your plants, and to induce resistance to pests and disease. Yeah, I mean really, the benefits are just so wide ranging.

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