I am always looking for ways to combat disease in the garden, especially with my tomatoes. We have such humid weather here in the deep south that we are plagued with disease. While that doesn't always mean that we lose production completely it does mean that production can be reduced. I have seen this with tomatoes especially. I have gotten verticilium wilt and my tomatoes will still produce, but no like they could. I have used compost tea in the past for added nutrients, but have never used it as a method of disease control of plants. This year my scientific experiment will be to use it as a method of controlling disease and see what happens. To control disease compost tea must be made aerobically, which means the tea is kept oxygenated while "brewing". This keeps the microorganisms alive. It also must be applied at least once a month, not just on the occasional basis that I have done in the past. So how do you make compost tea?
First get a 5 gallon bucket and something to aerate the tea. An aquarium pump will work for this. Next you need to put some finished compost (about 3 big handfuls) into a piece of cloth that will allow good flow through it. I like to use old curtain sheers for this. Tie this up and place in the bucket. Now fill with non chlorinated water. you can let your water sit in another bucket for 24 hours if you have city water to release the chlorine. Then in the water mix in 2 teaspoons of molasses and 2 teaspoons of citric acid or lemon juice. These two things will feed the micro-organisms. Turn on the pump and let sit for 24 hours. Use immediately after that as a foliar spray.
To control disease this needs to be done on a once a month basis. Hope we all have success with this. Blessings, Kat