person's hands harvesting baby lettuce with scissors against background of ground

Virginia Organic Microgreens Farmer Testing Aerated Compost Tea for Fertility

Virginia farmer Nicky Schauder, of Permaculture Gardens in Virginia, received a two-year Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Producer Grant to support testing aerated compost tea as a fertility source for organic farming. Schauder is comparing plots of leafy greens grown with no fertilizer, with commercial fertilizer, and with the addition of aerated compost tea. Results so far have shown that feeding the compost tea with molasses increases the number of harmful bacteria in it, while feeding humic acid and fish hydrolysis supports the number of beneficial microorganisms. Schauder is hoping the aerated compost tea applications could yield similar or better crop fertility, growth, and yield, to utilizing commercial fertilizer. Project results are available online from Southern SARE.