by Teresa J. Frith
If you have a garden or any sort of plants, then there’s an absolutely wonderful product you can use to help them grow and thrive: worm tea. You may shake your head and exclaim, “What the heck is worm tea and what are the ingredients to make worm tea?”
First off, worm tea is a type of fertilizer for plant that doesn’t harm the environment with toxic chemicals. In fact worm tea is exactly the opposite of chemical fertilizers. While chemical fertilizers actually burn the soil, so they kill off any microbes that are beneficial to the plants.
This in turn causes the plants to be exposed to bad microbes which weaken or kill off the plant’ immune system. So, it’s best to use a more natural form of fertilizer and that’s where the ingredients in worm tea come in.
The plants will absorb this worm tea and treat it like when a human drinks an energy drink. They can readily absorb the mixture and use it immediately since it is a liquid, not a solid like a lot of fertilizers.
Worm tea is made up of a complex population of organisms to include bacteria, fungi, nematodes (good kind, since there are both good and bad varieties) and protozoa. It is basically worm castings and a special mixture of heavily oxygenated water.
Be sure to use mature worm castings that have been fully composted. This is because you don’t want any decay or rot in the tea, as that will have bad microbes in it, plus it is harmful if you are using the tea on food crops since people would be eating it and could get sick.
Worm tea isn’t that hard to make if you are raising worms.
What you will need:
• A large bucket with a handle (the green bucket included with The Worm Bucket is meant for this purpose)
• Chlorine free water, such as from rainwater or you can use distilled water
• Double outlet type of aquarium air pump
• A few feet of plastic aquarium tubing
• Some type of string
• Aquarium air stones
• 2 T-valve connectors for the tubing
• Some sort of porous bag, like for instance some panty-hose • A drill along with a 4/16 drill bit (optional)
• Worm castings (a handful or two)
• Brown sugar or molasses
Firstly, you can either drill a couple holes in your pail about an inch apart near the top. This is used along with the string to hang your bag. But you don’t have to do this if you don’t have the drill. You can merely tie the porous bag to the pail’s handle.
Next, get your air stones ready. Place the air stones in the pail of water after you attach each one to a section of tubing several inches long. Then hook the T-valves to both ends of the tubing. Then attach the tubing to the outlet of the pump. This setup is what will aerate the water. Then place the check valves which should have come with the air pump in-between the air pump and your pail. This is to stop the pump from siphoning the water out.
If there were no check valves included with your pump, then be sure the pump is placed higher than your pail of water to accomplish the same thing. Next, put in the chlorine free water.
Then put the worm castings into the porous bag and put the bag into the pail of water, tie it off with your string and either loop the string through the holes you previously drilled or tie it to the pail’s handle.
Make sure the bag is in deep enough to submerge the worm castings. Now add the brown sugar or molasses to feed the organisms.
Turn on the pump and let the mixture aerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove bag, and discard the worm castings. You can use this mixture on your plants after a day or two of it sitting.
You can dilute it via 10:1. Just pour or spray it onto the dirt or your plants, however much you want to use, as it is merely your good microbes so won’t harm the soil or plants.
However, it must be used within 4 hours or the tea will become anaerobic and the good microbes will die. Be sure to clean all your tubing, pail, etc. with hydrogen peroxide after usage so it won’t end up growing a batch of bad microbes and be contaminated.
So, that’s the ingredients in worm tea, along with how to make it.
With proper usage you’ll soon have a garden full of luscious and healthy plants. Enjoy!