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Wetting agent

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Re: Wetting agent

Post by silkyfizz on 22nd October 2012, 22:33

Jaci I love your enthusiasm and I'm so pleased that this wetting agent business has been useful. Your information is very interesting. I'm going to investigate getting a worm farm again. Had one years ago but I found it more trouble than it was worth as I could use only some of my veg scraps and it took ages to get enough castings. Maybe I could be more successful now that I know how good the tea is.
I'm not sure what you mean by this however:
You already know how to make your own wetting agent, Silky; itís the same recipe as for the bicarb solution, without the bicarb.
[quote]
My recipe just used a couple of drops of detergent as the wetting agent, which is obviously not as effective.
Found out today that there is a foliar wetting agent readily available, mainly used with weedicides to increase their effectiveness. Forgot the name but it wasn't saturator. Nursery was out of it but getting more in this week. Will let you know name and cost, if anyone interested.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by neptune on 22nd October 2012, 22:50

I tried the bunnings route and bought a worm farm thru them. I found that I ate more than I had leftovers for the worms, so that experiment didn't work and gave the farm to neighbours down the road who have a few.....now I buy 15kgs for $5 from a worm farm......
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 22nd October 2012, 23:27

Silky, the worm farms are marketed as a compost system, specifically a less smelly alternative to bins. I have a compost bin and donít use the farm to dispose of my scraps, but purely to get the tea. Hence, I continue to use my bin for all scraps and feed the worms only something I know they really like. Iíve experimented with a few things (there was a big deserted circle around some stuffs) and found they like pasta best; the thinnest I can get (and that also doesnít heat up or smell). Just a quarter of a pack lasts for ages.
The worms donít really eat the food we give them, but the micro-organisms that sit on it; whatever goes in comes out without these organisms and magically transformed into substances that plants can take up. Theyíll chew on soaked newspaper and cardboard, if thatís all they get, turning that into magic stuff (Although some research has shown differences in the relative amounts of the castingís constituents present when worms were fed different foods, but thatís relevant only for commercial production of teas that must be uniform every time).

Sorry about being imprecise about the homemade wetter agent. An oil spray is adequate for this purpose according to some of the articles I read, yesterday.
I had actually experimented a bit more with the recipe and later used a different soap/oil combination for my bicarb solution. Here is one that was published by a guru somewhere (no link for this, sorry)
Mix 500ml of vegetable oil Ĺ cup of dishwashing liquid or other pure liquid soap.
Blend thoroughly and seal in a clean, clearly labeled jar. Store in a cool area for later use. Dilute one tablespoon of the concentrate into one liter of water before spraying.
In the end I just mixed one cup of oil with ľ cup of detergent and added one teaspoon of that to 500 mL of water, because that was easier, but that was my own, so maybe go with what the guru said.
In any case, thatís what Iíll be adding to my worm tea form now on, but honestly the results I got so far are good enough. Except, I admit the tea ran off quite fast from the new shoots and only a little bit stuck to them. No problem with the older leaves. However, other research I read yesterday found, in some plants the new young leaves benefitted only and/or most from foliar feeds, because they contain actively growing cells, etc.

That sounds like a good deal for worm tea, Neptune. I told friends about how good worm tea was and they looked into buying it ready made, and said it was quite expensive Ö a lot more than $5. You must get a different price for buying directly Ö
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by silkyfizz on 22nd October 2012, 23:39

Thanks for all that info Jaci. Very interesting and very useful. You are very scientific in your approach! Thumbsup You've now got me started on research too. Where will it all end? LOL
Just one thing: do you mean 2 minute noodles type pasta, dry or cooked? Sounds stupid, sorry.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 22nd October 2012, 23:57

Good to know I inspired you to look more closely at the products you buy for your roses. I use Angel Hair pasta that I cook especially for them, because they very obviously loved pasta (were wiggling all through it) when I had some left over once. The very thin pasta, because as you know, all the foods you put into the farm should be in the smallest pieces possible, but any pasta would do, even dry uncooked, but that might absorb some moisture from the bedding and take longer for them to process.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by neptune on 23rd October 2012, 00:05

I would probably not go down the road using dishwashing liquid, as part of a wetting agent mixture. The reason is what the ingredients are not really beneficial to the plant, from chlorine bleach to sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate which is a petroleum product, and many more funny ingredients. IMHO, I would be going for products that are made for the job, or products that are natural and eco friendly
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 23rd October 2012, 00:13

There is an ĎEarthí brand dishwashing liquid on the market, they have a whole rage of products that donít harm the environment, including soap powder, etc. Would you say something like that would be more suitable, Neptune, or would you recommend just pure soap flakes, which some people with allergies prefer and which are used for washing natural fibers like wool or silk?
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by neptune on 23rd October 2012, 00:18

Iwould go with the pure soap flakes...don,t need much...
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 23rd October 2012, 00:25

Thanks for that, Neptune, good point, Iím glad you made it; wouldnít want to destroy any of that good stuff in my worm tea with the wrong detergent.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by neptune on 23rd October 2012, 00:33

you are right jac...a lot of the commercial ingredients would kill off the micros in the worm tea...
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 23rd October 2012, 06:35

A couple of old soaps that "used' to be natural were 'Lux' and the good old 'Sunlight'. These days they might not be so 'pure'
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by AutumnDamask on 23rd October 2012, 07:46

Jac2 wrote:AutumnD, I bought a round Can-O-Worms, because I was going to have it inside in the laundry to keep them cool in summer. I was flabbergasted to see all the farms were black, the worst colour in the heat and thought of ways to ensure I wouldnít fry the poor things. But putting a worm farm into the laundry was a deal-breaker for James, and I reluctantly had put them outside behind shade cloth anyway. Surprisingly, the box doesnít heat up; there are little inbuilt ventilation vents, and another tray I can put on when the first builds up.

Okay. I was looking at that online yesterday. I've been eyeing off their mini-garden bed one as a way of disposing of the dog manure. The garden bed ones seem a good idea in that you use the soil to help buffer the unit from temperature extremes.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 26th October 2012, 10:45

AutumnD, were you thinking of getting a worm farm as well as a mini garden bed or only a garden bed and put the worms into it?
Iím asking, because I had thought about burying the farm under a heap of leaf mulch to keep it cool, but that was totally impractical, because the farm comes with legs that hold it about Ĺ m above ground and itís actually not necessary, as the unit stays cool, even in the QLD heat. Also, in order to get worm tea, a container with a drainage hole is required to flush the tea out; e.g., a ready built worm farm, an old sink or bathtub, a large bucket or any other container with a drainage hole.
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by AutumnDamask on 26th October 2012, 18:29

AutumnD, were you thinking of getting a worm farm as well as a mini garden bed ...?
Not sure yet. Maybe both. Laughing
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Re: Wetting agent

Post by Jac2 on 26th October 2012, 19:48

Ready made farms are pretty neat, but now that Iíve seen how they work, Iíd probably build my own and just buy the worms Ö
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Re: Wetting agent

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