Compost Tea – The Tea of Worms Explained

Many people are tea drinkers. Whether they are drinking Oolong tea or black tea from their local grocery store, that person has a certain image as to what it is, what it tastes like, and what it is for. There is a certain kind of tea that no one should drink but is one of the most beneficial, nutrient filled solutions that has ever existed. It is called worm tea. What is worm tea? Here are a few tips on how you can create and use worm tea otherwise known as compost tea to enhance your organic gardening needs.

Used for hundreds of years, organic gardeners and farmers that have known of the value of vermicomposting have been creating this potent nutrient filled liquid that is better known as worm tea or compost tea. This liquid which some say has a fragrant odor or is completely odorless can be used on the leaves of potted plants and also in the soil to enhance plant growth as well as help protect the plants that you grow.

It is actually a very simple process with a couple of not so simple steps if you have never done it before. Basically, the vermicast is put into a filter like a nylon and added to a jug of water and oxygenated in order to encourage microbes within the mixture to flourish and grow. Some additional ingredients to add to this tea include molasses or sea kelp. The oxygenation process will continue for about a day or sometimes longer.

Once done, it can be bottled and sprayed on plants or poured into soil at the base of the plants in order to inject a kind of a topical fertilizer that not only helps plant growth but also repels insects and disease such as spider mites and various pathogens, respectively.

There are various ways to get compost tea and one of those ways is through the collection of worm castings. Worm castings are essentially the poop of the worms. Their manure feels like soft little nodules that can be bagged up and cooked like a tea (except at room temperature water) and then used in the same manner that the worm tea was used in liquid form. Usually distilled water is used in the sifting process when using the castings and can actually be a much neater process when doing this on a large scale.

Most compost tea is concentrated so even if it does come in a bottle that looks ready to use, treat it the same way you would miracle grow or other non organic fertilizers. Castings tea should not burn the leaves of plants or over fertilize the soil but it is a good idea to use it more often in diluted form than less often in concentrated form. Red worms and their castings have become a hot commodity for all of those in the organic gardening field.

In essence, you are putting healthy microorganisms back into the soil which can then begin to thrive and multiply creating the ideal environment for your plants and a natural barrier at times for things that would come to destroy them. And unlike most nonorganic fertilizers, if you happen to spill too much into an area of your crop, it will not burn your plants.

By taking the time to create your own worm farm, and making your own tea for your garden or crops, you should see not only a positive growth in your vegetables or fruit, but a noticeable taste difference and production difference in how long it takes your crops to grow. You will also notice that your plants succumb less to fungus and other pathogens and diseases.

Also, by regularly adding this special tea into your garden area, it will also help you regulate the watering of your garden which is very important for crop growth. If you are doing this on a larger scale, you may need special equipment in order to harvest the worm castings and process them, and also to make worm tea on a commercial scale requires significantly different equipment than a small scale operation.

Overall, it will be worth your while to go the natural way and create a worm farm that will supplement the nutrient needs of your garden no matter how big or small. The use of compost tea as not only an additive of nutrients but also as an insecticide to protect your crops will make your organic gardening growing experience more pleasurable each and every year.

So the next time that you hear about a special tea that can enhance the growth of your crops, make your food taste better, and increase your overall yields, you will not think about the kind of tea that you sip quietly at the kitchen table, but of natures key that is given to us by red worms to help all organic gardeners grow more plentiful crops called compost tea.

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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