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Worm Tea


Photo of Worm Tea Worm Compost teas - are nutrient rich
liquid fertilizers.

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Worm Teas

Just to clarify things, worm teas are not made from worms, it is a natural liquid fertilizer that is made by steeping finished vermicast or worm castings in clean water. Worm compost tea is high in beneficial organisms, bacteria and microbes and are extremely rich in calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphates, and potash that is plant nutrient ready and by far the best fertilizer available for garden or nursery.

There are two methods of turning worm castings into a nutrient rich liquid fertilizer.

  • Passive tea - Keeping in step with simplicity, the first method, is making a tea that contain all the nutrients necessary for supercharging plant growth. Many people prefer this method because it is simpler to make and doesn’t require additional equipment.

  • Aerated tea - The second method, still simple and uses the same worm compost tea recipe with the addition of black strap molasses, involves adding a small pump to aerate the mixture. This will activate the large colonies of beneficial microbes and bacteria that are naturally present in worm castings.


Making Passive Worm Tea

The process of producing worm casting tea by either method is easy and will not take more than a few simple steps. For use as a seedling fertilizer I favor this first method simply because I usually use a sterile soilless potting mix for seed raising and the nutrients in the tea are all that is required.


Equipment and Ingredients

  • Permeable bag note
  • Worm castings note
  • Rain or un-chlorinated water note .
  • Container - size depends on how much being made.


Recipe

  1. Fill your container with water, make sure the container is large enough to allow mixing without spilling over.
  2. If you are using a bag to hold the worm castings make sure the top is securely tied to prevent the castings leaking out.
  3. Add vermicastings to the container - Use 1 cup of worm castings per gallon (approx 3.75 liters) of water.
  4. Leave to soak untill the water turns to a medium brown color. 1-2 days is plenty of time.
  5. Stir the mixture vigorously 2-3 times a day or jiggle the tea bag frequently to help the castings to dissolve.

While this Simple worm casting tea can be kept for several days before using it is best to make smaller batches and use immediately.



Using Worm Tea

The main uses for vermicompost tea are:

  • Foliage spray
  • Soil drench
  • Seedling fertilizer

Photo of vericompost tea for seedlings and garden

Photo left - Looking all calm and innocent, this finished simple worm tea is packed full of plant ready nutrients that will literally supercharge the growth rate of any plant it comes into contact. Use the solution weekly, full strength or dilute as you see fit. As a foliar spray or soil drench worm tea will not burn the leaves or roots of even the youngest seedlings.
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Permeable bag - a muslin bag, old sock or old pair of nylon stockings also work well. This is optional, if the tea is going to be put into a sprayer for applying to the garden then it is a good idea to use a bag simply for the reason of preventing sediment from blocking the sprayer nozzle.

If the tea is to be applied as a soil drench this sediment can be applied along with the tea so using a bag to hold the worm casting in while brewing isn’t necessary.

It is important to use high quality worm castings. Whether they are from your own worms or a purchased commercial product, they should resemble coffee grounds and smell like organic rich soil. The quality of the final tea will only be as good as the quality of castings used.

It is important to use chlorine free water when making, mixing and diluting any nutrient tea. Chlorinated water kills bacteria, both good and bad.

Beneficial bacteria are much of the benefit gained from both passive and aerated nutrient teas. Either use rainwater or if using chlorinated water, let it stand for 24 hours so the chlorine can evaporate out.

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