by Teresa J. Frith and Audrey Wynkoop
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. It’s called “worm tea”. You may be asking yourself “What the heck is worm tea?”
Worm tea, sometimes called worm compost tea, is a type of organic fertilizer made from worm castings. It’s great for plants and doesn’t harm the environment with toxic chemicals. In fact, worm tea is exactly the opposite of chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers burn the soil and kill off any microbes that are beneficial to the plants.
Killing off beneficial microbes causes the plants to be exposed to harmful microbes, which weaken or kill off the plant’s immune system. In order to have the healthiest plants, it’s best to use a more natural form of fertilizer. That’s where the worm tea comes in.
Think of worm tea like an energy shot drink for humans. When plants absorb worm tea, they get a liquid “shot” of fertilizer. They are easily able to absorb the liquid and healthy microbes and use them immediately. This liquid fertilizer is easier for plants to absorb compared to solid fertilizers.
Back to your question, “What is worm tea”? 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. Put simply, it’s worm castings and a special mixture of heavily oxygenated water.
It’s important to note, 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 since 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.
Try making your own worm tea. Your plants will thank you for it!
There are 2 ways to make worm tea:
Simple worm tea can be made using just your Worm Bucket and manual stirring. The advanced brew method is recommended but requires additional equipment. The only difference is that using the advanced brew method increases the oxygenation of the tea and results in a higher potency of microbes. Whichever method you chose, be assured that worm tea is great for plants at any potency.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED (SIMPLE RECIPE):
- Large bucket with a handle and spigot (the green bucket included with the Worm Bucket is meant for this purpose)
- Water- 2.5 gallons for a full batch, 1 gallon for a smaller batch
- Worm castings- 3 cups for full batch, 1 cup for gallon smaller batch
- Brown sugar or molasses- 1/8 cup full batch, 1 tbsp for gallon smaller batch
- A worm tea bag- this should be a roughly 4x6 inch bag made of porous material. Cheesecloth or pantyhose work well.
Now that you have gathered your ingredients, fill your “tea bag” with worm castings and place in the bucket. Add your water and brown sugar or molasses. Then comes the critical ingredient, the oxygen. In order to release the microbes, aerating the tea for 3 days is essential. To do this you can simply stir the tea several times each day. Remembering, the more you stir, the more oxygen you put into it, the more microbes and the better the batch.
*For our advanced brew method, use an aquarium bubbler or air stone pump (sold separately) to aerate your tea for the 3 days. Use this method to maximize the potency of your worm tea batch and free up your arm from manual stirring.
Once you’ve oxygenated your tea for 3 days, your worm tea is ready to use. Pour it directly into the soil around your plants so it can be absorbed into their root system. You can also transfer your worm tea into a spray bottle and spray the tea onto leaves and stems.
Be sure to use your worm tea within 48 hours to ensure your plants will receive all the benefits of live microbes.
You did it!
Now sit back and watch your plants grow healthier, stronger and thrive.