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Over the years I have seen examples of people making a type of compost tea which is made by using a large barrel filled with about 70 - 80% water and then adding all sorts of stuff.

Some examples I have seen:

  • Dead cane toads -> Just found video here
  • Grass clippings
  • Seaweed
  • Chicken manure
  • Meat scraps

Note, these examples I have seen both on television and in practice.

The mixture is left to decompose until it is mostly liquid (there is no separation of ingredients and the liquid) then it is further diluted and applied to the soil.

From the results I've seen in the real world I want to start making the same stuff but I want to know what I should avoid putting in the mix; what should I not put in this tea if I want to avoid making my family sick?

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Note: I'm not sure if this is called "compost tea". If I'm wrong please help by editing my question. Thanks! –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 19 '12 at 21:59
    
+1 for "cane toad tea"! :0 -- and yes, I'd call what you're describing "compost tea". I wouldn't put meat, (fresh) chicken manure, or toads in it; I'd use more mature compost from "normal" kitchen/garden scraps. (Not posting this as an answer because I'm hoping someone can post something more authoritative.) See also Mike Perry's step-by-step compost tea procedure. –  bstpierre Feb 19 '12 at 23:22
    
@bstpierre - Just found a video of cane toad tea (edited my answer). –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 19 '12 at 23:44
    
He ought to have given that surviving toad another good whack! Leaving it in the bucket to drown/starve is inhumane. The concept seems reasonable enough, though I'm not sure I'd want to be the one to empty the bucket at the end of the "brewing" period! –  bstpierre Feb 20 '12 at 1:06
    
@bstpierre - I agree with you, it is inhumane. Not trying to justify it, but most people in that part of Aus view cane toads as cockroaches. It was the only video I could find that shows what I am trying to describe. –  xiaohouzi79 Feb 20 '12 at 2:31
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2 Answers

I've had a look around the interwebs and it seems like you can make compost tea with just about anything. It will grow some nasty pathogenes, but if your tea is brewed properly (oxygen rich with decomposed compost) they should be at a safe level. Here are some things to remember:

  • Avoid getting compost tea on foliage - those microbes only work on soil.
  • Wash your vegetables - you should be doing this anyway, right?
  • Don't eat dirt or drink compost tea - duh!

This quote sums it all up pretty well:

Soil itself has about 10 billion microbes per gram, and they're pretty much the same microbes that are in your compost pile. Avoid eating compost just like you avoid eating dirt and you'll be fine.

Here are some links:

http://www.soilfoodweb.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=56

http://heartgarden.com.au/composttea.asp

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/soil/msg0700020013496.html

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Compost should be fed an organic, vegan diet. Adding meat/biproducts to your compost pile can attract bad bacteria/insects that will have negative effects on your tea

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