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Mould growing in my fermented plant extracts

Posted by Karen Brindle 
Mould growing in my fermented plant extracts
May 28, 2017 12:40AM
Do I need to start over? I harvested nettle, horsetail and comfrey, put them in individual 20gal garbage cans with a little EM and water , then left on a 12 day trip. There was no stirring while I was gone, now there is mould growing on the tops of the plant material that is sticking up above the water line. Will this be ok to strain and still use on my trees, or do I need to throw it out and start over? This did not happen when I brewed last year, first time doing herbal teas. Thanks for your input! and advice!!!!

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2017 07:46PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Mould growing in my fermented plant extracts
May 29, 2017 08:02PM
That mold is a harmless distraction taking advantage of an aerobic surface in the floating herbs. The point here is you are making a fermented plant extract for nutrient availability. EM and other organisms are certainly involved as this is a fermentation but it's nothing like a true compost tea. The latter is totally about organism diversity, brought about by aeration and rapid microbe multiplication to fill the volume with beneficial bacteria and fungi in a 24 to 36 hour brew process. What we call brewing encompasses a broad range of purpose.

I make plant extracts in 55 gallon plastic drums. The top which got cut out (with a jigsaw) serves as a floating cover to semi-anchor down the plant material. The "stirring" I do consists of plunging down that top once or twice a day, by pressing it downward by hand, just to mix up the layers and keep any mold from forming. But if it does . . . no worries! I cover the works with a scrap of plywood to lessen evaporation and keep insect interest at bay.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Mould growing in my fermented plant extracts
May 30, 2017 02:43AM
Michael, thank you!!! Just did my neem/fish/EM/Seacrop spray, just past petal fall, SO wet this spring, I've had no dry period long enough to spray before now. Scab and anthracnose are major concerns this season. We've had a week of very warm/dry weather so finally could get it done. Going into another week of wet weather. The Fermented tea spray may have to wait another week for dry weather, again. I'm really glad I don't have to throw the brew into the compost bin and start over!!! I will get a better cover for my next tea brew. Surprisingly, It looks like we got decent pollination, even though there was so much rain during bloom, and maple flower bloom happened at the same time. I truly believe the holistic sprays are making a huge difference in the health of our young trees!

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
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