The Growing Solutions GSIS10 Compost Tea System, otherwise known as the System10, is the smallest option available out of 4 different sizes, which are System10, System25, System100 and System500 respectively. As indicated by its name, the System10 unit is a patented design capable of holding up to 10 gallons, with a brew time of 24 hours. The dimensions for the unit is 28 inches tall by 20 inches wide.
Michael Alms, the founder and CEO of Growing Solutions, has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show with the System10 unit. He discussed the benefits of compost tea, along with how Growing Solutions works to create a line of products which generate high quality and consistent compost teas, yet at the same time is easy to use and cost-effective. Compost tea has been marketed as having many benefits, including but not limited to improving soil structure, reducing water stress, and being a non-toxic, organic alternative to pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Being a relatively small unit, the Growing Solutions GSIS10 Compost Tea System is ideal for household use and for small nursery operations, as it is highly portable and convenient for small-scale compost tea production. It has been also claimed to deliver high-quality and reliable operation on par with larger systems, a statement that has been proven time and time again by high praises from its buyers, and myself
The GSIS10 unit was designed with the user in mind, and is intended to be as user-friendly as possible. It is easy to set up and can be assembled or dissembled by hand, allowing for removal of the components for rinsing and washing whenever necessary; the structure of the unit provides easy reach to the interior of the tank while cleaning. The use of industrial grade components in the unit promises years of durability and safe, consistent performance, making the System10 a good investment for long-term use. The System10’s unique ABS tray is manufactured to aerospace standards for precision and durability, and is completely recyclable, while its compost filter basket uses industrial grade nylon mesh for longevity and efficiency. The sturdy valve attached to the lowest point of the tank makes it an efficient drain point, both during washing and compost tea production – it minimizes pooling of compost tea remains within the tank, which can degenerate if left for extended periods of time.
All the compost tea systems designed by Growing Solutions use a Fine Bubble Diffusion aeration process, which thoroughly and efficiently mixes the compost tea inside the tank without requiring an external form of mechanical mixing. At the same time, the bubbles maximize the infusion of oxygen within the tea, and help to extrude chlorine which is detrimental to the growth of microbes. This creates optimal growing conditions for the microorganisms acting on the compost, accelerating their multiplication and metabolic ability.
The GSIS10 Compost Tea System by Growing Solutions has minimal cons and performs beautifully, provided one can afford its exorbitant price, a point which has been commented on by many buyers who generally see it as a luxury item. It does not come with a tea mix, and users are required to search for them and buy them separately, either at specialty garden stores or online. Growing Solutions Inc also strongly recommends that buyers purchase their organic Compost Tea Catalyst formulation along with their chosen compost tea system, in order to stimulate and maximize diverse microbial growth during the production process. It is sold separately, and while only a small amount is needed, especially for the System10, it can nevertheless be rather pricey.
Depending on where the unit is set up, the soft humming from the machine may be heard throughout the household or nursery, as the System10 runs for 24 hours at a stretch and the noise may be distracting to some people.
Additionally, the benefits of compost tea in general is still being debated, as it takes a significant amount of time and/or effort to produce, and microbes harmful to plants could just as easily be cultivated alongside the beneficial ones inside the compost tea system. The usage of compost tea in itself may not actually bring significant improvements to the plants, and could even be counter-productive if it ends up deteriorating the plant’s health.
Tips for Use
The Growing Solutions GSIS10 Compost Tea System should be placed on a level surface in a sheltered location, with easy access to a power outlet and water supply. It is recommended for use only with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
The steps for operating the GSIS10 unit are relatively simple, but there are some things to keep note of: Firstly, the drain valve should be in the closed position before filling the tank with potable water, and the water should be aerated for about 15 minutes, so that the chlorine can be expelled from the water. Depending on how much compost tea you are planning to make, an appropriate amount of a food resource (such as Growing Solutions Compost Tea Catalyst) should be added to the water – the recommended amount is 15oz for 1 acre of turf, or 2 acres of agricultural land. The nutrient solution in the reservoir should also be maintained at an optimal temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and water chiller units can be used to maintain the temperature if needed. The amount of compost added into the compost filter basket should be approximately 7 cups and loosely filled, not packed down. At the end of the 24-hour production cycle, the finished compost tea should be continuously aerated until it is used up, and the compost tea system should be unplugged when the tank is empty to conserve energy.
The application of compost tea can be done via a large variety of methods, using equipment such as backpack sprayers, watering cans, and fertilizer injectors. Further filtration of the compost tea might be needed depending on the method of application. The tea is typically applied once or twice in a month, but can be done more often if the plant has a high risk of getting a disease or is nutritionally deficient.