Compost or Worm Tea Anyone
A primary reason for producing compost or worm tea is to transfer microbial biomass, a fine particulate organic matter, and soluble chemical components of compost into a liquid. Then applied to plant surfaces and soils in ways not possible or economically feasible, solid compost.
Correctly brewed compost or worm tea has a wealth of microorganisms that benefit plant growth and health and in the soil. The microorganisms living there are both good and bad. The tea makes sure the good guys win by introducing helpful bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and beneficial nematodes. You have just started to make liquid compost.
See Fungi and Bacterial
Benefits of Compost or Worm Tea
It will take less water to maintain your garden and lawn because of increased water holding capacity.
- As a foliar spray, it provides a layer of protection on the leaves by attracting microbes that will consume or prevent harmful diseases or insects.
- It will encourage beneficial fungi, mycorrhizal fungi, that controls root rot. The build-up of microorganisms in the soil will suppress pests in the ground, like damaging nematodes. It will remove compounds in the land that allow weeds to grow and flourish by providing more oxygen to circulate and loosen dirt for healthy growth. Reduce leaching and run-off by improving the nutrients for proper growth and holding ability. Microorganisms break down toxins and chemicals. Nutrients will be able to enter plants quickly because of the increased microbes in the tea.
National Organic Standards Board Compost Tea Task Force Report, April 6, 2004, Introduction.
In 2003, the National Organic Standards Board convened a Compost Tea Task Force to check the relevant scientific data and report their recommendations on ‘What constitutes reasonable use of compost tea?’ The 13 member Task Force has the knowledge and expertise in organic farming practices, organic certification, EPA pathogen regulations, compost, compost tea production and analysis, plant pathology, food safety, and environmental microbiology.
Throughout their discussions, members consistently acknowledged the growing interest among certified organic and conventional growers to use compost tea and the need to develop effective biologically-based tools to manage plant fertility, pests, and diseases.
Worm Tea can outperform ANY chemical fertilizer known, increasing both plant size and yield. The synergy developed as the Worm Tea interacts with the microbes and protozoa in the soil and the plant’s roots. The organisms contained in it produce all the hormones, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals needed for plants in all stages to thrive.
Use worm tea to inoculate potting soil when starting new plants or seedlings, and remedial treatment for any plants or shrubs growing in soil damaged by prolonged chemical treatments. Worm Tea is natural and will never burn or damage plants or soil.
The microbes in Worm Tea turn any organic matter in the soil into humus, effectively storing energy for later use. This is a basic part of soil fertility.
Worm Tea is a good source of nutrients for your plants. It is alive, containing various beneficial bacteria and fungi that help improve the soil and anything planted in it. For this reason, use your freshly brewed worm tea as soon as possible.
A couple of quick notes. Worm Tea is only as good as its ingredients. You must use the tea as soon as possible because the organisms last only a few hours out of their food source.
My Compost or Worm Tea formulas
10 gallons (37.85 l) of de-chlorinated and de-chloramine water
1 1/2 cups of worm castings
1/2 of dried sea kelp, or you could use liquid sea kelp (more expensive)
1 1/2 cups of compost
2 cups (0.47 l) of un-sulfured molasses
1 aquarium aerator with stone
Place the aquarium aerator into the 10 gallons (37.85 l) of water. Run aerators for 24 hours to remove chlorine, or add a fish water conditioner to remove both chlorine and chloramines. If chlorine or chloramines are present, they will kill off the bacterial you want to grow.
Put the worm castings, sea kelp, and compost in a half nylon stocking.
Pour in the molasses into the water and stir until mixed.
Attach a nylon stocking full of ingredients to the water container’s side and place it into the water. Submerge the nylon into the water. Continue to pump air into the mixture via the aquarium air pump for two days.
Once you have brewed your worm tea for two days, worm tea has a short lifespan. Use it within 8 to 10 hours.
Another great product you can make is Garrett Juice. The receipt is below.
Garrett Juice evolved over the years as I would tell readers and callers how to make a compelling foliar feeding mix. The mix has always had compost, tea, molasses, and seaweed, but the other ingredients have varied. Through trial and error, we came to the essential mix we use today. As always, my formulas are for making the mix at home, but commercial products are on the market for convenience.
To make your own, here are the instructions:
Mix the following in a gallon of water.
Garrett Juice (ready to spray):
Mix all ingredients in a gallon of water:
1 cup (0.24 l) compost tea or liquid humate
1-ounce liquid molasses
1-ounce apple cider vinegar
1-ounce liquid seaweed
For Garrett Juice Plus and more fertilizer value, add:
1-2 of ounces of liquid fish (fish hydrolysate) per gallon of spray.
For disease and insect control, add one of the following:
1/4 cup garlic tea
1/4 cup garlic and pepper tea
1 to 2 ounces (75.6 g) of orange oil
Garrett Juice Concentrate: Mix together
1-gallon compost tea or liquid humate
1-pint liquid seaweed
1-pint apple cider vinegar,
1-pint fish hydrolysate (liquid fish)
Use 2 ounces (75.6 g) of the above ingredients per gallon of water for the ready-to-use spray.