Worm Tea


Worm tea, also known as casting tea, worm leachate and worm wee, is another one of nature's miracles. Filled with trace minerals and large colonies of aerobic bacteria, applying this to your plants is like givng someone a shot of penicillin (alright, maybe that's a bad analogy but you get the idea). worm tea,vermicompost,worm compost

Tea is made by soaking worm castings in warm water for a couple days. The idea here is to not so much transfer trace minerals to the tea but to create a condition where aerobic bacteria can thrive.

This bacteria, once applied to the root system of your plants, is the true nature miracle. If conditions are right, bacterial growth will explode and top out after 48 hours or so at which time it can be diluted and applied to your plants.

As a sidenote I used to brew my own beer with a much similar method. I created the perfect conditions for fermentation to begin and work in and I could always see this happening by the huge head of foam on the wort (as we called it) indicating vigorous yeast action.

The same goes for worm tea, while it is fermenting, so to speak, it will acquire a foamy head indicating huge bacterial growth. But have no fear for this is aerobic or 'good' bacteria.

Here is a good recipe for worm tea:

  • 5 gallons of water, preferably rain water or well water (let chlorinated water sit until the chlorine dissapates),
  • one half cup molasses,
  • approximately a 1 pound of worm castings placed in a burlap bag,
  • an aquarium air-bubbler.

The water you use should be around 70 degrees fahrenheit (21 C) and a burlap bag is used because it is more 'open' than a stocking which may filter out some needed microbes. The molasses is food for an exploding bacterial population and the air bubbler aerates the solution to encourage bacterial growth.

Let the solution sit outside and out of the sun because UV rays will kill the bacteria you are trying to grow. You will soon begin to notice a head of foam on the solution indicating bacterial growth.

Keep the air bubbler going the whole time and after 48 hours bacterial populations will top out at which time you can use the solution as a foliar spray or water your garden with a diluted mix of 1:5, which means 1 part worm tea to 5 parts water.

Letting the solution 'ferment' for longer than 48 hours is not in your best interests. As bacterial populations begin to die anaerobic bacteria may move in and take over.

As a final note, aerobic bacteria does not have a bad smell but anerobic bacteria will smell bad so use your nose as a general indication to the health of your solution.


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