Miracle Fertilizer (Part2 ) - Worm Castings Tea

Worm Tea Benefits

Many organic growers talk about the wonderful benefits of using worm castings tea in their watering and foliage spray regiment. Worm tea is a great source of minerals such as nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It also contains manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon, nitrogen, helpful enzymes and good bacteria. There have been studies done that show using worm tea as a foliage spray can help fight off pathogens and diseases like powdery mildew.
There are essentially two ways to make worm tea, extraction or the "bubbler" method.

1) Worm Tea  (extraction method):
The extraction method simply involves mixing the worm casting in water, letting it sit 1-2 hours, then straining the solids out. This process extracts the microbes from the castings. The resulting liquid solution is then applied to soil or as a foliage spray, diluted or undiluted. Most bottled worm tea you see in stores use this method due to shelf life considerations.

Extraction Recipe (5 gal.)
Clean 5 gal. plastic pail
5 gal.(18.9L) -distilled or tap water
5 cups - worm castings
Fine Strainer or Cheesecloth
Drill mixer for paint (optional)

Mix Directions: Fill a clean 5 gal. pail with water leaving 2" space from the top. Pour worm casting directly in water or put castings in cheesecloth, then submerge in water. Agitate mix by hand or using a drill mixer for a few minutes. Now just let it sit for 1-2 hours and your ready to go. Simply strain the mix if you poured the castings in directly or remove the cheesecloth bag and squeeze. Your tea is ready to use. You can dilute this concentrated mix 3:1 with water if you choose to get more coverage. Worm tea is very forgiving. It will not burn your plants.

2) Worm Tea (aerobically brewed “bubbler” method):
Using the aerobically brewed method, worm castings and some form of sugar are placed into a container of aerated water (via an air bubbler). The bubbler circulates and provides oxygen to the microbes allowing them to multiply exponentially. Typically colonies of bacteria can double every 20 minutes! The end result is a worm tea supercharged with microbes. This is the preferred method of most growers because it allows you to increase the microbe count using the same amount of castings as the extraction method. Aerobic brewing takes longer than basic extraction with common brewing times of 24 to 48 hours. The main drawback to this method is the shelf life. Typically you will need to use it within 8-16 hours maximum after aeration stops because the bacteria starts to die as soon as you stop aerating. The faster you use it the better. When completed correctly the batch should have a foaming head on top and should not have a strong smell. If you smell a strong odour your batch is contaminated and you should not use. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen.

Worm Tea - Bubbler Method

Aerobically Brewed "Bubbler" Recipe (5 gal.)
Clean 5 gal. plastic pail
5 gal.(18.9L) -distilled or tap water
5 cups - worm castings
Fine strainer or cheesecloth
Hydroponic air bubbler or aquarium bubbler (with air stone)

Mix Directions: Fill a clean 5 gal. pail with water leaving 2” space from the top. Pour worm casting directly in water or put castings in cheesecloth, then submerge in water. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar or molasses to water. Insert air bubbler stone in water and turn it on.  Let solution mix for 24-48 hours to really let those microbes multiply. Once complete, simply strain if you poured the castings in directly or remove the cheesecloth bag and squeeze. Your tea is ready to use. Keep in mind you must consume the entire batch within 8-16 hours. You can dilute this concentrated mix 3:1 with water if you choose to get more coverage. Worm tea is very forgiving. It will not burn your plants.

Using either method will provide your plants with needed nutrients as well as beneficial bacteria that will make your plants thrive. Organic and environmentally sustainable, what more could you ask for.
Love your Plants!

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