Hi there. Say, I've never made compost tea but am going to try my hand at it this spring. I collect all the compost from our local food co-op and so have an abundance of material to work with. Quickly, however, I wonder what sort of methods (namely what devices) folks have employed for aerating compost teas. Today I picked up an inexpensive Quick-Fill Electric Air Pump (120 Volts AC; 1.85 AMP) at a local thrift store. This is the sort of pump typically used for filling air mattresses and the like. Although some of those air pumps don't have much of a "kick" this one surely does.. sounds and acts like a little leaf blower here inside our yurt! Has anyone had any luck with these devices? Are they likely to overheat? How long would I need to run the pump/aerate my compost at a time? Could I run it for 20-30 mins, turn the pump off for a bit, and then fire it up again for another half hour, and so on? Most recipes I've read call for 12-24 hours of aeration. If 12 hours straight was too hard on the pump I thought about putting it on an intermediate timer.. has anyone tried this?
All told, I scored the air pump for two bucks and am just wondering if it's too good to be true.. thanks for your time!
you could certainly try intermitent 30 minute aeration, I would think to do no more than a 2 hour break at first though. This is the company whose pumps I've used the most and they are absolute work horses that can take all the abuse I have been able to dish out ecoplus air pump. For a 5 gallon batch the sun $20 version will work fine, the $33 one that is first on the google shopping link would last the rest of your life and could be passed on to your grandkids.
When you experiment with your air mattress pump just trust your nose, as long as your tea stays smelling fresh and sweet then things are going well. If you start to get a sewage smell then it sat too long (although aeration might get rid of that smell).
and typing this I am reminded that the very first attempt I ever made at compost tea we were living with absolutely zero electricity, it was spring and very chilly at night/in the morning, we heated up some big pots of water over the fire to add to our trash can full of cold spring water and would just take turns stirring it whenever there was some down time. It didn't get gross, though I don't know how effective it was. So you can't do any worse than that!