DIY Compost (Red Worm) Tea

5 Jul

Another use for getting the most out of your worm castings or compost pile is making Tea. Compost or Vermicompost (Worm Castings) Tea. are tremendous for adding life to plants and soils. Microbes (beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and other micro-organisms) allows the soil to become “alive” restoring balance that increases disease resistance, reduces water consumption, and produce healthier plants. Eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers and pesticides. The beneficial microbes in Compost Tea will enable your soil to naturally regulate itself.

Compost or Vermicompost Leachate is often times confused as Tea. The leachate is the run off or drippings from your worm bin or compost pile. Worm or compost leachate is beneficial to plants and has fertilizing goodies like phosphates and nitrogen, but is not Tea. Tea is brewed over a period of time. The brewing process is in most recipes is where a compost and some molasses are added to non-chlorinated water and is aerated for a period of time. The Compost is placed in the water in a porous bag to steep.

Aeration is important in the brewing process to give Oxygen for microbes to grow and reproduce. Keeping your brew aerobic is important for producing a bumper crop of beneficial micro-organisms. To provide aeration to your home brew an aquarium pump, air stones, and tubing can be purchased for around $15. Know that purchasing bottled worm tea or other compost tea products is not going to be aerobic and therefore will not have near the amount of living microbes as a tea that is applied within a few hours of aeration.

Feeding the bacteria, fungi, and protozoa is also important for an optimal brew. Molasses or brown sugar are used to feed bacteria while alfalfa and grass clippings can be added to feed fungi and protozoa. There are an unlimited number of recipes for Compost Tea, and is much an art as a science.

Bruce Dueley does a good job of describing how to make your own for under $30.


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