Worm tea is worm castings which have been soaked in water and oxygenated. The extra oxygen causes a bloom of the good bacteria, plus the added benefit of nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and potash.
The liquid that drains out of a worm composting bin is leachate. Leachate contains undissolved solids and some potentially harmful bacteria. However, it can be aerated as described below and used.
Some of the benefits of the tea include:
- a natural repellent for scale, mites, white flies, and aphids
- natural fungicide in soil and on plant surfaces
- increase in plant stem size and foliage
- acts as a soil conditioner
- will not burn plants
- creates healthy soil for healthy plants
- aides in the creation of colloidal humus
- grows healthier fruits and vegetables than those treated with chemical fertilizers
- improves water retention in soil
- reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, because worms eat our garbage
How to Make Worm Tea
Tea can be purchased from an organic supplier or you can make it yourself.
To make your own tea, you will need:
- 5 gallon bucket
- tap water
- 3-5 handfuls of worm castings in a permeable bag, or not
- tablespoon or so of molasses
- aquarium air pump and bubbler
- fill the bucket 3/4 of the way with tap water
- insert the bubbler and let the water aerate for a couple of hours to remove chlorine
- add castings
- add molasses
- let bubble for another 24 hours
Your tea is now ready for use. Check out the video below for visual instructions.
Using Worm Tea
Since the tea is alive and full of microbes, it has a shelf life. The quicker you use it, the greater the benefit. It can always be re-aerated using the instructions above.
If your tea stinks, it has gone bad, and don’t use it.
The most common way to use the tea is to put it in a hand sprayer and spray your plants with it. You can even spray the lawn. Aerated tea will not burn your plants, and it helps repel certain insects.
Think of worm tea as a natural immune system booster for plants. It provides the good microorganisms and nutrients needed for plants and soil to repel insects and disease.
You can also water your plants with it. It’s great for seedlings since it provides nutrients but absolutely will not burn.
So have at it.
According to Bentley, at redwormcomposting.com, you can feed tea to your worms. Soak cardboard in the tea and then place in the worm bin. This gives the worms bacteria to feed on. Nice!
You can find out more about worm tea and worm composting at my sister site, Wormilicious.
I have a book about Worm Tea on Amazon. It’s only $5 .
The book covers topics such as:
- the nitty gritty of how to brew worm tea
- different ways to apply worm tea
- the difference between fungal and bacterial teas
- how to control pests and disease with worm tea