Compost Tea [part 2]: Compost Tea Brewer by TeaLab, Reviewed

[Music] Welcome to The Grok Shop! And episode 2 my compost tea series. In this video I’ll be reviewing the tea lab compost tea kit. the version I have here is the 951 gallon per hour air pump version. Everything should be identical though to the smaller air pump version except for the pump itself. Everything that comes with the kit is shown here. You can see it comes with a couple of pieces of paper which have some basic instructions and some recipes. I like the laminated one because obviously things can get wet if you’ve got that near your compost tea brewing action. I don’t really use that small document but I do keep this laminated one handy since it’s got some nice conversions and also some recipe ideas on the pump itself I got the bigger one because I am above a thousand feet in altitude. They recommend to get the larger pump if you’re above a thousand feet. Not totally sure that’s necessary but I did it anyway. I did find these pumps separately for thirty-five dollars each so you can assume about 50 bucks is what you’re paying for everything but the air pump. They include a manifold and some extra tubing I guess if you wanted to have multiple buckets bubbling you know for example more water to dilute your compost tea with. This could be nice to have once you kind of get into it a little more and expand your compost tea operation. The air pump documentation is single-page; very Spartan but then again it’s a pretty simple device. There’s really not a lot to it. like I said I’ve seen these air pumps around I mean there may be one big Factory in China somewhere pumping these out and then letting people white-label em. I see that with a lot of different products so especially on Amazon. But it seems relatively solid I haven’t had any issues with it does get a little warm it is a little bit noisy you wouldn’t want to set it up right outside your bedroom for example; it’d probably be too loud. But when I run it in my garage it’s not really a big problem for me it’s not, it’s not super noisy or anything. It does include the vinyl tubing and this screw in brass nipple for the air output. The pump has these little rubber feet on it, but I found out you can’t really just set it on the ground it’ll kind of travel around and leave rubber marks everywhere so what I ended up doing was basically just screwing some screws into this scrap wood and that pretty much sufficed to hold it in place. So it also includes this threaded nipple for the other end of the tube which will connect to the “Bubble Snake” (that’s what they call this PVC tube that goes actually into the bucket). It’s got these holes drilled in for the for the air to come out of course and you just basically screw it in right at the top. The head of the snake’s independently configurable from the bottom of the snake as far as the angle of the tube that can be kind of handy in terms of getting everything configured right. So also included in the kit is this 400 micron mesh compost tea bag I’ve read anywhere from 300 to 600 microns is about the right size hole to keep solids in but let the good microbes and whatnot be able to travel in and out so 400 seems about right to me that’s some four tenths of a millimeter for those who are keeping score. They also included this carabiner that you basically used to attach to the top of the bubble snake and basically helps to keep the back from falling all the way to the bottom and also holds the bubble snake down supposedly but the way it works you put your material in and then you roll it up and you use these clips and that kind of keeps it rolled up keeps the material from escaping okay what’s not included with this kit I’m reviewing here as a bucket they do have kits with buckets but I didn’t get one with this kit so I got my own bucket it’s a food-grade bucket which means it’s bpa-free it’s supposed to be safe to use in the food and beverage industry you can see how the bubble snake does fit perfectly into the bottom of a five-gallon bucket as far as how to orient the bubble snake head I read that they recommend that you kind of angle it towards going out of the bucket slightly to help keep it from lifting up because it’s plastic this whole thing with air in it will tend to float up they clean that clipping the compost tea back to the ring here at the top of the bubble snake will hold it down but I find that that can be a little dicey and things still tend to lift up even with a wet bag of compost in there one thing I did was shortened a little strip little black bungee that goes to the carabiner tying another knot that helps a little but it so doesn’t solve the the whole problem of the lifting I’ll show you what I did to fix that here in a minute so other than the lifting problem I mean the only issue I could see maybe a long term with this is there’s a lot of vibrating going on between the bubble snake and the bucket and you can see right here somewhere that’s occurring already I can imagine after a good I don’t know 30 40 50 brews that this bubble snake might be worn to a nub the holes might get bigger you can see where it’s rubbing in the bucket here so it’s something I’m keeping an eye on and I’ll definitely be in contact with T lab should it fail on me okay so now just to illustrate the process I’m not getting into the details of you know brewing recipes and how to brew and the results of the brew here but just to show how it works I’ve got some actual compost in the bag and I’m gonna hook it up here and show how this all goes together so my initial solution to keep the bubble snake from lifting out was to use this large breaker bar tool which it’s very heavy and chrome-plated and it works fine but it kind of slides around sometimes and it can take some time to get it configured and plus you know I using my tools for this [Music] by the way that’s me turning the volume down on the bubbles and edit it doesn’t get that quiet on its own so now you can see if I remove the bar how it lifts on out tries to lift out and the bubbles are all probably coming up on one side mostly here and I think it eventually does work itself out if you let it sit like that [Music] [Music] so here I’m going to tie a knot higher up in the little bungee that holds the compost tea bag to see if that’ll provide more weight in other words keep the compost tea bag from sitting on the bottom of the bucket [Music] and you can see it does help a little bit but even with doing that it still tends to kind of work its way back up [Music] [Music] so here you can see I’m messing around with the head of the bubble snake trying angles different angling it in or angling it out nothing really seems to keep it very solid so in the end I think I ended up going back to the breaker bar here so actually after several brews and just sitting around looking at it and thinking I finally came up with another solution which is to use one of these micro bungee cords and I just simply kind of loop it around the ring there and then bring each edge of the bungee over the lip of the bucket so it’s not super tight or anything but it holds it pretty pretty firm there and I think this result actually lets the bubble snake float up off the bottom of the bucket and keeps it from getting all scratched up and potentially being damaged over time yeah here you can see how it just kind of lifts up off the bottom about an inch so we’ll see how this solution works hopefully and this would be better than the brink of our bridge so yeah I probably have overfilled this bucket just a bit but with this pump and this amount of water even with a little bit less water it will splash and every now and then you’ll get a road splash and it’ll get on your floor or whatever is around the bucket so definitely want to put some towels down on the floor and cover up anything you don’t want to get wet also some people say you should put the pump above the level of the water to prevent water coming back up the pump in case you had some kind of suction I guess I don’t know that’s really applicable to this configuration that’s not something I’m probably going to worry about but that is one possible recommendation if you’re worried about that. To protect the pump, just get it as far up and away from the water as you can. That’s how it’s done. Thanks for watching [Music] [Music] [Music]

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