Tea, anyone?

There are two kinds of fluids that can come from worm farms. One is called ‘leachate’, which accumulates at the base of the worm farm and can be drained out using the spigot. FYI, I do not recommend using leachate on plants you plan on eating. The other is compost tea, which is brewed by steeping worm castings (with some snacks for the little microbes) in dechlorinated water (stir frequently) for one to two days. What’s the difference, you ask?  While leachate does have some nutritional value for plants, it doesn’t really contain microbial critters.  You see, bacteria and fungi, which are needed for healthy soil, stick to organic matter and aren’t washed off in the liquid that drains from the worm farm. Ideally, your worm farm won’t drain leachate. Mine doesn’t.  🙂  

On the other hand, compost tea is full of beneficial microbes! Because of the stirring (aeration), the tea is aerobic, and therefore, safe for your plants. In fact, compost tea can have up to four times as many bacteria because of the aeration process.  Amazing, huh? 

So what’s so great about compost tea, aside from the dense bacteria population? Well, it just so happens that when plants exudate (sort of like perspiration) from their leaves, they attract attract bacteria and fungi to the leaf’s personal space (phyllosphere). The same thing goes for when the roots exudate and attract bacteria and fungi to their rhizosphere (root’s personal space). But if the soil isn’t healthy, there may not be the microbiology needed by the plant leaves and roots. Compost and mulch take time to populate the soil with good microbes, but compost tea can quickly be applied to root areas as well as leaves. The good microbes from compost tea can compete with the pathogens (bad guys) for space and food –and can even protect the plant from attack!  Yay!

Okay, so here’s the surprise…compost tea is made from worm castings, which is actually worm poop, droppings, excrement.  And your plants will love it!

About Vicki_Life_On_A_Farm

After twenty years of serving as a college administrator, I have taken the bold step of early retirement! Now I get to spend my time with amazing people, who share my passion for gardening, sustainability, and creativity. Who knew life after retirement would be so busy and fun!
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1 Response to Tea, anyone?

  1. Pingback: We Keep Worms . . truly! | Gardening Mummy turning Guru

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