3 Day workshop (26th – 28th July 2024 inclusive) – Applying SFI Methodology to Create Compost, Compost Tea and Analysing the Tea Created.

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This workshop combines the Soil Foodweb workshops ““Introduction to Soil Foodweb Institute, their Methodology and Approach to Soil Health” and “Applying SFI Methodology to Create Compost, Compost Tea and Analysing the Tea Created.”

Workshop, (3 Days if attended at SFI facility) – Applying SFI Methodology to Create Compost, Compost Tea and Analysing the Tea Created


Making Small Scale Compost:

Main Objectives: To learn about making small scale compost (fungal and bacterial) for the principle aim of brewing compost teas. Our main interest will be to create more fungal compost as generally our soils are bacterial dominated. To supply an overview of protozoa and nematode inoculums as well as outline what their roles are in the soil system. The nematode discussion might relate solely to theoretical view point rather than constructing an actual inoculum pile. As their might be some interest on how to adopt these practices in larger scale operations, a small amount of time will be allowed to cover this topic


Brewing Compost Teas:

Main Objectives: To learn the process required to brew beneficial compost teas, particularly fungal dominated brews. The different types of compost tea brewers and what to look for when considering purchasing one. Protozoa brews – how to and when to combine with compost teas. Application of compost teas and protozoa brews including food sources.


SFI introduction to Small Microscope use

Main Objective: Microscope training on identifying and undertaking qualitative assays of soil biology. Review of procedure to identify good quality food sources for achieving fungal response. Participants will be confident in undertaking qualitative assays for soils, teas and inoculums. Compost teas and BD preps will be available for the day including tea and protozoa brew from the previous day. Each participant will bring along their own microscope.

Workshop, (3 Days if attended at SFI Facility) – Intermediate Microscope

These classes are for people wanting or needing further instruction on what they see using their microscope for checking their compost teas and extracts, compost, soils and soil additives.

  • We will go through Kohler illumination and get everyone to be able to maximise the amount of light their microscope can focus on the sample.
  • Shadowing techniques. This is critical. The microscopes we have at SFI use DIC, which is a shadowing technique, and allows you to clearly see things that have the same refractive index as water. Phase contrast methods fail because of that little problem. So, with your inexpensive compound scopes, we will help you do what you can to mimic the kind of clarity we get with SFI scopes.
  • We will look at examples of the many different organisms you will be seeing in compost teas and extracts, compost and soils.
  • We will do compost and soil preparations as well, so you can see changes in the beneficial organisms with the addition of biological foods/inputs.
  • We will see different kinds of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes. You cannot ID the cells you see to the species level. Often not even to genus. You can however, get an idea of how much the KINDS of bacteria or fungi or protozoa, etc. are changing in the tea, extracts, compost and soil.
  • We will go through the qualitative method for determining tea with adequate or even outstanding organism biomass, or determining “bad” tea or compost lacking in the proper set, or kinds, of organisms. We will go through some ideas for “fixing” bad tea or compost.
  • We will go through the qualitative method for setting a baseline for soil and compost to determine what sets of organisms are low or missing. We will add the appropriate foods/inputs to the soil or compost to increase the biomass of these organisms. Then using qualitative method to assess if our goal was achieved. (We suggest you send in a soil or compost sample for the Soil Foodweb Starter Pack which gives you quantitative assessment to set your baseline to for active and total bacteria, active and total fungi, protozoa, VAM and nematodes. Please send in at least 10 days prior to the class date to assure your data will be ready to use) The qualitative assay that we teach was developed by Dr. Elaine Ingham to assess the quality of compost teas. This assay does not give you biomass numbers but by using the two together makes the qualitative assay a powerful management tool.
  • We will go through the qualitative method to determine the quality of the compost you are considering purchasing or have made is. Once the compost’s quality is determined what steps can be taken to further enhance its quality to meet the needs of your soil.
  • 12 months back up support via phone and email
  • We will go through questions and answers You need a microscope with 4X, 10/20X and 40X objective lenses and 10X eyepieces.

Please bring your own microscope along with you to use during the class. If you do not have a microscope, there will be one made available to share and/or purchase.

If you do not have your own microscope we will be able to supply one for you to use/share during the microscope Course.

If you intend buying a microscope, we will be able to assist you to purchase one from our suppliers. Please contact Chris Ellery E: chris@soilfoodweb.com.au or telephone 02 6622 5150 as soon as possible so that we can expedite this process. We will provide morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch during the course.

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