1) I found that reserving about 1 qt of compost tea and adding it to a new batch will speed up the process. Before I did this, I’d let it run for 2-3 days before using, and there was barely any foam floating on top of the solution (evidently a sign of microorganisms reproducing and eating). Now it takes less than 24 hours.
2) When it comes to using this tea, I can tell the difference already. Tomato and pepper foliage is greener, and lettuce that is growing in small planters is much better. It gave the lettuce a very noticeable boost.
3) My experiment with improvised hydroponics (written about here) was a failure. The lettuce didn’t die, but it didn’t grow either. The roots were so fragile that just lightly dragging them across my finger would tear them up.