Growers Network Staff

February 26, 2017 14 min read
February 26, 2017
14 min read

Compost Teas: Taking Fertilizer to the Next level

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In this Growers Spotlight, we interview three specialists about compost teas used in commercial cannabis: Jason Stirling, lead grower for SPARC Dispensaries, Steve Storch, inventor of the Vortex Brewer®, and Scott McBride, owner of Global Garden Supply LLC, manufacturer and seller of Vortex Brewers®.

Top: Jason Stirling, Left: Steve Storch, Right: Scott McBride

Compost teas are a part of the organic growing movement in the cannabis and food industries. Jason, Steve, and Scott discuss the equipment, philosophy, and processes they employ with compost teas to achieve the goal of growing organically.

The following was an interview with industry experts. Growers Network does not endorse nor evaluate the claims of our interviewees, nor do they influence our editorial process. We thank our interviewees for their time and effort so we can continue our exclusive Growers Spotlight service.

To skip to any section within this article, click the links below:

  • What Are Compost Teas?
  • Jason Stirling, Scott McBride and Steve Storch
  • Growing With Teas
  • Resources
  • Comments

  • What are compost teas?

    Compost teas, often shortened to just “tea,” are part of a new approach to plant nutrition and soil inoculation, where, rather than letting the microbial community develop by chance, growers deliberately inject preferred microbes and nutrients into their grow medium. As the name suggests, compost teas start with compost, which is an excellent source of nutrition for plants. However, the nutrition in compost is typically locked away inside large, complex organic molecules. Microbes inside compost break down the complex molecules into simpler molecules that plants can easily absorb.

    A simple diagram demonstrating the relationship of soil bacteria with the environment.

    Compost teas take plant nutrition a step further by nurturing microbial growth, improving the effectiveness of traditional compost. When compost teas are “brewed,” microbes are cultured in warm water with plenty of air: ideal conditions for growth and propagation. These microbes form symbioses with the plants, making them more vigorous, healthy, and resilient to stress, resulting in bigger, better yields.

    Jason Stirling, Scott McBride and Steve Storch

    Switching to teas resulted in our nutritional expenses dropping like a rock.Jason Sterling

    Growing with Teas

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    Want to get in touch with Jason Stirling, Scott McBride, or Steve Storch?

    1. Jason Stirling is a lead grower for SPARC, San Francisco. You can also find him via his LinkedIn or Facebook accounts.
    2. Scott McBride can be reached via his email here or contacted via the Vortex Brewers® contact form.
    3. Steve Storch can be reached through Scott McBride.


    1. A group of different studies on biodynamic agriculture can be found here, here, and here.
    2. Interested in purchasing your own Vortex Brewer®? Head on over to their website to order one.

    Do you have any questions or comments?

    Feel free to post below!

    About the Author

    Hunter Wilson is a community builder with Growers Network. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a Masters in Teaching and in 2007 with a Bachelors in Biology.