Two new postings on compost tea efficacy – and safety

We just don’t have enough excitement on the blog, so I thought I’d bring up two new items that just crossed my virtual desk.  The first is today’s Garden Rant posting from Susan Harris.  I won’t spoil her well-written blog, but if you’ve been following the debate on the disease-control properties of compost tea, you’ll be interested in reading it.

The second was in an email from a colleague at the EPA on a new journal article.  Here’s what he said:

More potting soil and Legionella, this time in Scotland.  (Eurosurveillance, Volume 15, Issue 8, 25 February 2010).  Note that “other countries where L. longbeachae outbreaks have been reported” includes the U.S. but there is no required labeling here, though it is in Australia, New Zealand and possibly much of Europe.  Also note the association of Legionella mainly with droplets, and the possible connection to compost sprays as seem popular among do-it-yourself pesticide makers.

“The exact method of transmission is still not fully understood as Legionnaires’ disease is thought to be acquired by droplet inhalation. The linked cases associated with compost exposure call for an introduction of compost labeling, as is already in place in other countries where L. longbeachae outbreaks have been reported.”

2 thoughts on “Two new postings on compost tea efficacy – and safety”

  1. I am wondering if compost tea is different from worm tea? Are the potential benefits different? Are the health hazards reduced? My understanding is that worms reduce E. Coli and viruses, is this true?

  2. Justin, I’ve seen nothing that compares worm tea, compost tea, and water to determine if either tea has a significant effect on disease, nutrition, or any other function. Likewise, I don’t know of any study that has compared pathogen content of compost tea to that of worm tea. I do know that additives such as molasses are linked to human pathogen content, so I suppose it depends on how one makes worm tea.

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