What is worm tea used for?

By Teresa J. Frith

watering plants

Worm tea isn’t a gross kind of drink. It’s a product which is great for fertilizing gardens, lawns, and other kinds of plants. A simple way of explaining what it is, is you make it via mixing worm castings, essentially worm poop, in several gallons of water and steeping it for two days.  It’s also possible to buy already mixed worm tea online, at garden centers, etc. 


Advantages of worm tea

Worm tea helps to boost the microbes in soil, since it adds fungi, good bacteria, etc. It also assists in keeping your soil moist. It does this via the microbes in worm tea generating pore spaces in the soil. This makes it easier for the plants to take root and grow. This additionally makes it possible for more oxygen to get into the soil. 

Plus, if you spray it on plants it helps their leaves and stems grow stronger and larger. It also protects your plants from certain kinds of diseases, and it repels harmful insects. It does this because it contains several enzymes, and some of these contain several types of chitinase. Chitinase breaks down the chitin in the insects’ shells so they are repelled by it. It’s been shown to help rid your garden of pests like aphids, root knot nematodes and tomato cyst eelworms. 

compost

And if you do composting, pouring some worm tea into the compost mixture will help it break down quicker. Worm tea is eco-friendly and good for the environment since it is all natural. It helps plants to absorb nitrogen, a key element to getting big, healthy plants. 

Plants are unable to absorb it directly from the atmosphere so the bacteria in worm tea convert the nitrogen into a form they can use. Because of this you should start putting the worm tea into the soil you plant to plant things in about two or three weeks prior to planting seeds or plants.


How to use worm tea

All you have to do is pour worm tea directly onto your plants or into your compost bin. Or, as mentioned earlier, you can put some in a spray bottle and spray it onto plants. If you spray it you should dilute it somewhat so it won’t get clogged up in your sprayer nozzle. It is best to use worm tea on your plants weekly.


How to store worm tea

Worm tea can be stored in any container with or without a lid. If you use a lid it should be loose fitting. The bad thing is worm tea is only good for two days and then it loses its potency and you have to throw it out.

The bottom line is worm tea is very beneficial to all kinds of plants both edible and ornamental. It’s a great way to use a chemical free product that is good for the environment while helping to fertilize your plants.