KIS Organics Nutrient Pack FAQ
Almost all questions can be answered by reading this walk-through on mixing the nutrient pack.
KIS Organics Soil FAQ
Do I need to flush my soil prior to harvesting my plants?
No. Since the nutrients in the soil are not in ionic form, there is no issue of salt buildup and really nothing to “flush” out of the soil.
Do I need to pH my water? What about using RO or dechlorinated water?
In 99% of instances you do not need to pH or adjust your water prior to watering your plant. You can use tap water, well water, reverse osmosis water or any other water source. Removing the chlorine or chloramine with a charcoal filter would be considered “best practice” but there is enough organic matter in the soil that it is not a requirement. We have tested our soil under a variety of water sources, both with and without chlorine.
What’s the best container size for growing in the soil? And how do I re-use the soil?
We recommend a minimum of 7 gallon container for a full cycle plant. Keep in mind that the amount of nutrients available to the plant is directly related to the amount of media it has access to. You should see increased yield and plant growth as you move to a larger container (10-20 gallons).
Our most successful growers are using raised beds, where the plants have access to much more soil. A typical example would be 1 yard of soil under 2 – 1000w HPS lights in a flowering room. When it comes time to harvest, you would pull the plants out and shake off any excess soil around the roots. You would then re-amend the soil with .5 – 1 nutrient pack, 3-4 gallons of high quality compost, and 2-3 gallons of perlite or pumice. Keep the soil evenly moist and lightly dig in the ingredients and you can bring new plants into the flowering room 24 hours after harvest. This approach has worked for up to 5 years, bringing the “nutrient” cost down to under $50 per yard of soil.
When growing in containers, we find the soil becomes more depleted and you will need to add higher rates of nutrient pack (up to 3 nutrient packs per yard). When amending at these higher rates, keep in mind the soil may need time to go through a heating and cooling process (nutrient cycling), that will delay it’s re-use for up to 14 days. Some of our container growers will run 2 sets of soil, one that they are using with their plants and the other which is “resting” and kept moist for the next cycle.
You can refer to the back of the KIS Nutrient Pack label for topdressing and recycled soil rates as well.
Compost Tea FAQ
What is compost tea?
Compost tea is an aerobic water solution that has extracted the microbe population from compost along with the nutrients. In simple terms, it is a concentrated liquid created by a process to increase the numbers of beneficial organisms as an organic approach to plant/soil care.
The concept behind compost tea is quite simple, though the actual process of making compost tea can become scientific and very complex. The idea is that compost (full of beneficial microorganisms) is put into water and then nutrients or foods for the microorganisms is added to allow the bacteria and fungi to multiply rapidly. Air is sent through the water to keep the water oxygenated, as this favors the beneficial bacteria and fungi over the pathogens (ex.-e coli). At the end of the brewing cycle, what you have is a concentrated liquid full of billions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes) that can then be sprayed directly onto the leaf surface. This puts the “good” biology where the plant needs it to protect itself. It keeps the plant healthier and helps it to fight off potential diseases. The “good” biology occupies the infection sites on the leaf surface and is held there by simple sugars that the plant puts out (exudates) that work as a glue to keep the beneficial microorganisms thriving and protecting the plant. Compost tea has been used by many people all over the world with mixed results. Part of the problem relating to studies on compost tea is that there is a high diversity in the quality of the compost tea produced in many of these studies. After all, if you don’t start with good compost, don’t add the proper amount of nutrients, or don’t keep the brew sufficiently aerated, you could be selecting for the “pathogens” rather than the “beneficials,” and end up with compost tea that could potentially harm your plants. Much more likely is that the compost tea would be low in bacteria and fungi and have little more effect than putting water on your plant. At Keep It Simple, we take great care in our tea production and have tested all of our products throughly every step of the way. Our recipes have taken years to develop and we worked to maximize the biodiversity of our final tea product.
You will find other companies offering less expensive compost tea brewers or books on how to make your own compost tea brewer. However, very few of these companies can supply lab tests or data to support their brewers or brewer designs. Many of these brewers don’t make quality compost tea and what you end up putting onto your plants and soil will have very little effect on their health and in some instances can be detrimental. Please compare our lab results against any of our competitors and you will see the difference. This is because we have spent considerable time and money refining our brewer, composts and foods, and are committed to providing the highest-quality product we possibly can!
- Compost tea has been shown to help in disease-suppression
- Helps extend root systems
- Increases water and nutrient retention
- Is 100% safe and natural
- Creates healthier plants
- Helps breakdown of toxins in the soil and on the plants
- Enhances the taste of fruits and vegetables
- Creates a safer place for people and animals by using an organic product, reducing the need for chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
- Occupies the space around the infection sites so disease-causing organisms cannot penetrate into the tissues of the plant
- Cannot over-apply because it is completely natural and organic
- Portability-You can spray at a rate of approximately 5 gallons per acre, depending on the biological numbers of the your tea solution and 20 gallons per acre on soil drenches.
How long does it take to make compost tea in the Keep It Simple® 5-gallon brewer?
It takes 12 hours at 55°-80° or longer if the temperatures are colder in our original 5 gallon system and 24-36 hours in our extended life brewing system. The warmer the temperature (not to exceed 95 degrees), the faster the brew (with a minimum of 12 hours).
When do I apply compost tea?
The tea must be used within 4 hours after you have turned the motor off and it has finished brewing to achieve maximum benefit. The best time to apply in the day is early morning or early evening. Hot day time temperatures are not as effective and will reduce the good biology.
Food Kit Care
How can I get more food brewing kits and how long will they keep?
You may order more kits from the person or nursery you purchased your brewer from or directly from us. The food brewing kits will keep for a year as long as they have been stored properly.
How often should I apply my compost tea?
For foliar disease prevention, you can spray the plants just before you would usually have the onset of disease occurring. Then you would spray every 10 days to 2 weeks for about a month. You should monitor what you are seeing on your plants to determine if further spray is needed. For soil application we recommend two times a year spring and fall. For promoting growth, you could spray once a month during the growing season. Frequency and scheduling of applications will vary depending on individual environmental conditions. You cannot over-apply compost tea.
How do I apply the compost tea to my plants and soil?
You can use a sprinkler can for applying to the soil or a backpack sprayer or a sprayer that has a nozzle that will not clog to do a foliar spray (see below). The backpack sprayers have a different type of nozzle that will not clog when applying compost tea.
Can I spray compost tea through a hose canister sprayer?
Generally, no. If you have untreated water then you can. If there is chlorine in the water that will kill the microbes.
Not Recommended Tip
(clogs at 90-degree angle)
What happens if the tea isn’t used within 4 hours?
The population of microbes decreases as the tea goes anaerobic and it becomes less effective.
What happens if the brewing process is interrupted?
It really depends on how long the process has been interrupted. Generally, you would just start the process again.
What happens if temperatures are too cold?
The air temperature determines the water temperature because the air is moving through the pump into the water. If the temperatures are too cold (below 70 degrees), it will take longer for the microbes to produce and you will need to run your brewer for a minimum of 3 hours longer.
What time of year is best to use the compost tea?
During the growing season or anytime when night time temperatures are above 40 degrees.
How long do the microbes live after I apply them?
If the living conditions are right, the microbes will continue to live and reproduce.
Can I apply too much tea and do damage to my soil or plants?
Can it hurt my pets?
I have ordered your fungal compost in bulk and don’t know how to store it properly. How should I store the compost?
Click here to read our bulk compost care instructions.
Will the compost tea get rid of diseases on my plants?
Compost tea is not a fungicide or pesticide. The mechanism behind compost tea is more of a probiotic application, giving the plant greater resistance and ability to fight off pathogens.
What happens if I put the teabag in and forgot to put the food in?
Then you need to add it and start your brewing process again.
Does it make a difference of what kind of water I use? (tap, bottled, pond, etc.)
Yes, it needs to be water that doesn’t have chemicals in it. If you are using treated water, you need to follow the instructions and run the brewer for 20 minutes before adding the compost and food. This will degas (remove the chlorine from) the water. Click here to read Leon’s article on water quality and compost tea.
How do I take care of my machine?
Remove the coil from the bottom of the bucket and pull out the rubber stopper prior to turning the air pump off. This keeps the tea out of the pipes, so biofilm does not buildup. With biofilm buildup, the next time a brew is made, it would contaminate the integrity of the tea. Hose off the coil and plastic pipes or put them in the dishwasher. Pour the tea into a backpack sprayer or sprinkler can for application. Rinse the inside of the bucket and the lid. Let dry.
Can I use my own compost?
Yes, you can use your own compost, but because we haven’t tested the quality of your compost, we don’t know the biology that you have. The machines replicate only the biology they start with which can be beneficial or not. We recommend having your compost tested before you use it in the KIS brewer. Click here to read more on why testing is so important.
What do I do with all of the items contained in the bag for the food (for 5-gallon brewer)?
The compost is in the mesh bag, while the other ingredients are in plastic bags. Drop the mesh bag in the water after dechlorination. Then open the plastic bag and pour contents into the water solution.
Are your foods and compost organic?
Yes, they have been tested (see our lab results) and are completely natural. No human or animal wastes are used in the compost. Our compost is 1/2 vermicompost (worm poop) and 1/2 thermal heated garden wastes. Click here for a list of our food and ingredients.
For more information, please see www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com.