chris69
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:25 am

worm food for plants - worm tea

My brother has been raising worms for worm tea.. he has used it on his plants works great has anyone tried this ?

HydroCura
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Location: Willemstad, Curacao

I have my own wormscompost here :D
But I didn't make worm tea. What is that??

DoubleDogFarm
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It's the leachate that comes out of the bottom of some worm composting systems.

Eric

HydroCura
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Location: Willemstad, Curacao

Ok. Thanks

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

yup... we have a number of threads about worm bins, worm composting, etc Type some of those terms in the Search the Forum keyword box and you will find lots written here about them.

The point of the worm bins isn't so much to raise worms, though it does, it is to compost leaves and scraps down to worm castings which are a very rich fertilizer. In the meantime it does output the worm tea/ leachate.

I started my first worm bin last Nov. I haven't taken any worm castings out of it yet (soon), but I have been using the worm tea to water my seedlings. It may be working too well. My tomatoes are growing too fast! I keep raising the lights and I am about out of room to raise them (there's a shelf that the lights hang from) and they are brushing against them again and it isn't warm enough yet to take them out. I'm leaving the lights on shorter days now to try to slow them down. Usually I can keep them going under the lights until warm up and I actually started these later than usual!
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DoubleDogFarm
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Lowering the temperature will slow them down also. I have not been following your long post, this may have been mentioned already.

Eric

Odd Duck
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Location: DFW, TX

Leachate from a worm bin and worm tea are not really considered the same thing even though some people use the terms interchangeably. Leachate can have some pathogenic bacteria, since it is liquid produced from the decomposition of the food in the worm bin. If the worm bin is deep enough (search for flow-though worm bins), the leachate can be pretty "clean" meaning free of pathogens. It really depends on how the bin is being managed. My bins have the food fairly close to the top so any leachate produced has gone through layers of castings and VC before it comes out the bottom. I still only use diluted leachate on ornamentals since I am not willing to culture every batch of diluted leachate I use before applying it.

Worm tea is made using finished worm castings (the more pure the better, but can be vermicompost [VC] - high percentage of worm castings and well-rotted/composted bedding/food). VC should have very minimal pathogens since the worms eat and digest the bacteria that are rotting the food. The worm tea should be made just like any other compost tea - a bag of VC into a bucket, stir frequently (or even better, aerate) for 24 hours, add molasses or other ingredients to enhance the beneficial microbes, aerate another hour or so, then apply. True worm tea I use on anything. There is still a small risk, but there have been studies done that show VC is pretty pathogen free due to the action of the worms. I will take that risk and I wash my veggies well before using, anyway.
Sharon
USDA zone 7b/8a (depending on the year and microclimate :-)), AHS heat zone 8-9, Eastern Crosstimbers/Grand Prairie ecozones

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