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Compost tea: how to clean sprayer?

 
pollinator
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I've been spraying compost tea for a year now with a Solo backpack sprayer. I can't remember where I got these settings from, but I use a spray head at 30 psi (on the pressure dial, #2) to get maximum pressure without injury to tea organisms.

Straining the tea before spraying has proved one of the more pesky tasks. No matter the gauge of the screen, I still get particles small enough to clog the head in there. At least I can have the sprayer explode on me from the tank or the wand without worrying about chemical blindness! (Though my microbiome is probably 84% compost organisms now.)

I understand some folks use a "trombone sprayer", an old fashioned thing you put in a bucket and pump. I have one of those too, but that's too cumbersome for acreage, especially on hillsides! Those can handle slug tea without clogging, and will probably be best for comfrey+nettle tea application.

There's a lot of magic in compost tea. I mean, magical thinking. The science is young and its proponents are cagey about specifics, but I'm putting most of my eggs in that basket. I've already seen encouraging results...just don't ask me about specifics ;)

Books & papers I've read about compost tea make it sound as though some awful beasties will colonize your every batch of tea if you don't clean your sprayer well enough. This might happen anyway if your compost is foul! What terrifying responsibility coupled with vagueness.

How do you clean your sprayer? I hose mine down with well water through a firehose nozzle...most importantly, immediately after using the gear. It should probably then dry in the sun, but not for long enough to irradiate the plastic.  The parts should probably be spread out for maximum air circulation and solarization, but I don't do that because I'd probably lose them, and pathogenic microorganisms could more easily get into the workings of the sprayer if it were disemboweled across a table. Vinegar solution seems possible and easy but maybe that's overkill.

I bet ozonated water is a really sound choice, unfortunately it's expensive to make and not available for purchase. What about hydrogen peroxide solution? Since that eventually breaks down to water, only cost makes that unattractive, unless there is some easy reaction by which it can be produced at home.

EDIT: The august Eric Fisher reminded us on this forum that most of the aerobic organisms in tea are helpful, so creating that environment is the main aim.  His book was the main reason I jumped into teas last year, having thought about it for years after Dr Ingham. Teas or "soil soup" are also mentioned glowingly in the excellent books "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations" and "The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health". Nobody extolling these teas has gotten all neurotic about cleaning application equipment to laboratory sterility --- at least, no one's said so!
 
pollinator
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Foiiar  sprays are something I have been working on as well.      I have been using Korean Natural farming method so I use sub irrigated watering methods so I don't get get the anaerobic bacteria  on the leaves of my plants.


I would imagine for what you want to accomplish the vinegar would work, and or baking soda,  or  hydrogen peroxide..


I used to make worm tea,   but now most of the time I am spraying neem under the leaves as the pest pressure is too great here in Florida,   I have to keep the ants at bay from farming aphids on my plants.


I guess you need to think in terms of what you are going to eat,   if you are washing your veggies before you are eating them then what you are spraying should not be that much of a problem...
 
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I just rinse the gear well right after use and make sure to run a fair amount of fresh water through the sprayer. Seems to work well enough
 
gardener
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I run my "bacterial tea" (bokashi liquid, fermented coffee, etc, fermented onions) through a fabric filter before spraying, I am constantly clogging the filter and it makes me nuts. I often just water all over the plant with a can instead of spraying because can't be bothered.
 
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Well…. Dr. Ingham is absolutely neurotic about CLEAN. I’m one of her students!!!

I have a DeWalt backpack sprayer, but without settings, so I just use the biggest nozzle available without using the inline filter thingy. So far no issues. I don’t strain going into the sprayer (it has a coarse filter in the fill lid) but I’m careful to make sure my tea brewer is free of any foreign materials prior to the brew. So far so good. My tea bag is a paint strainer from the hardware store.
 
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