Cannabis and Compost Tea- The Biological Revolution

January 12, 2017

~Humboldt Earth Technologies~

As growers we always seem to be searching for the next level. Larger yields, higher quality and ways to cut costs are the general directives we aim to achieve. Within this industry however, there seems to be an overuse of synthetic fertilizers with little understanding of the biological systems involved in nutrient uptake and disease control. Many inexperienced growers overuse synthetic fertilizers, hoping that more nutrients means higher yields. All that really happens is a massive salt buildup, which leads to dead microbes, nutrient lockout, a lot of flushing and heavy fungicide spraying.

This pineapple kush was grown without the use of fungicides.

The game changer is called actively aerated compost tea (compost tea). Making excellent compost tea starts with superior ingredients. When you brew compost tea, you help populate diverse groups of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. All of these organisms work synergistically in the soil food web to optimize conditions that facilitate nutrient uptake. There is a process of communication between the plants roots and the microbiology found in the growing medium. The plants roots exude (release) a variety of molecules into the rhizosphere (root zone). These “exudates” include things like acids, sugars and enzymes, which create an optimal chemical environment where the bacteria and fungi intermingle. There is an exchange that takes place. Mycorrhizal fungi, for example, bring water and nutrients to the plants roots in exchange for certain exudates. The relationships of these microorganisms work synergistically with the plants root systems and leaf surfaces to modulate nutrient uptake and optimize plant health. Brewing your own compost tea generates massive populations of the beneficial microbiology that would otherwise take a very long time to create. Compost tea is a super charged biological brew that feeds and protects your plants with nutrients and immune boosting ecology. The best way to describe it is “probiotics for plants”!

5 Gallon Kit from TeaLab

Our business, Humboldt Earth Technologies (HET), was formed to help spread the compost tea revolution around the world.  The Original Compost Tea Calculator® (CTC) represents an entry in a new class of apps developed for both novice and experienced horticulturalists. Guided by the idea to make compost tea easier to brew, the app provides tried and true recipes in both US and Metric systems of measurement, a how-to guide and a very helpful useful conversions calculator.

Undergoing extensive research and evaluation, HET has carefully studied compost tea recipes all across the industry. HET has then calculated those average means against our local recipes, which have been formulated and field tested in Humboldt County, California. They have been examined and approved by local soil scientists and biologists for horticultural use. The recipes in the CTC provide well-balanced ratios of essential nutrients and microbial life, which in turn promote plant growth, vigor and yields as well as an amplified resistance to pests and pathogens.

Girl Scout Cookies grown with the Compost Tea Calculator

With the right management program integrating compost tea, you can use ½ to 1/3 fewer nutrients and still get increased yields, higher quality and clearly superior flavor. The recipes in this app are designed to be compatible with the different phases of plant growth. We have a grow, bloom and foliar recipe as well several others to boost overall microbial counts in the growing medium. We have found that a very successful regime involves transitioning between traditional fertilizers, watering, and compost tea applications. So one would use their liquid fertilizer on the first watering, the second watering would be the compost tea and the third watering would be plain water. You can repeat that schedule or mix and match in different patterns depending on other variables your dealing with. Some growers simply pre-amend their soils with all-purpose fertilizers and then water compost tea periodically throughout the growing cycles. The bottom line is that using compost tea will save you money by cutting down on expensive nutrient lines. It will help intensify the terpene profiles and resin levels of your flowers and when used properly with other organic fertilizers, it will synergistically boost yields beyond what standard practices could do alone.

Recent research has shown empirical evidence that the biological and organic fertilization industry is growing at a rapid pace. It is the interest of HET to stay at the forefront of pioneering new technology that assimilates new procedures, ingredients and techniques for brewing compost tea. We can then integrate this data into The Original Compost Tea Calculator®. HET aims to maintain a highly versatile app that will be continuously updated and upgraded with new recipes and features as this industry evolves.


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