Worm Casting Tea

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Mmmm… sounds yummy doesn’t it. Well, this tea is not for us to drink, it’s for our houseplants. Worm casting tea (aka vermicompost tea) is very nutritious for plants.

I’ve had a worm bin for a few years now, and I’ve recently started using the worm castings to make this tea for my houseplants. Here is how I do it…

Equipment needed to brew worm tea
Equipment needed to brew worm tea

Equipment I used:

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Small air pump  (~$10 at pet store, made for a 10 gal aquarium)
  • Tubing
  • Air stone (optional – also at pet store)
  • Nylon sock or pantyhose

When I started doing this, I couldn’t find a recipe to use so I improvised. (These are approximate measures)…

  • 2 cups of well composted worm castings (vermicompost)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of molasses
  • 4 gallons of rain water or melted snow (important note: if you use tap water, it must sit for a minimum of 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate)
 

Making Worm Tea:

If you don’t have a worm bin, you can purchase worm castings online or in garden centers. If you buy the castings, you can skip this step.

Otherwise, the first step is separating the worms from the castings (this is the step the takes the longest). The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to scoop out two piles of castings. Pack them lightly into cone shapes and let them sit a few minutes under bright light. Worms will retreat from the light to the bottom of the piles.

Separating the worms from the vermicompost
Separating the worms from the vermicompost

Put the worm castings in the “tea bag”. You can use any type of fine mesh bag for the tea bag. Once it’s full, tie it off at the top.

Filling the tea bag with worm castings
Filling the tea bag with worm castings
Adding worm casting tea bag to water
Adding worm casting tea bag to water

Just to reiterate, do no use chlorinated water; chlorine will kill the microorganisms.

Without the microorganisms… well there’s no point in brewing worm tea.

Next, Put the tea bag into the water.

I tied mine onto the bucket to keep it towards the top.

I’ve seen people just let the bag float around or sink, I don’t think it matters.

Add the molasses to the water. The molasses is food for the microorganisms that live in the worm castings.

Adding molasses to worm tea
Adding molasses to worm tea
Adding bubbler to the worm tea
Adding bubbler to the worm tea

Submerge the bubbler into the water (or pump if you have a submersible pump).

The bubbler gives the microorganisms plenty of air circulation, which speeds up their reproduction process.

Put the bubbler on the bottom of the bucket. My pump is not submersible, so it remains on the outside.

You may need to weight it down to keep it on the bottom of the bucket.

Bubbles in worm tea
Bubbles in worm tea

Allow the tea to brew with the pump running for at least 24 hours.

The microorganisms will multiple exponentially, this is what your plants will love.

After brewing, the tea needs to be used within 48 hours, otherwise the microorganisms will start to die.

Water your plants with the worm tea the same way you would normally water them.

Worm tea can be sprayed on the leaves of the plants, which is also beneficial.  I’ve read that the microorganisms will even feed on pests and their eggs. I’m definitely going to try this in my fight against spider mites and whiteflies this winter!

Worm tea brewing
Worm tea brewing

Remember, this tea is only for your plants. Please keep it away from your pets and the kiddos! To be safe, I keep mine in a closed room and I put a weight on top of the bucket.

Click here to read more about the basics of how to care for a houseplant… Houseplant Care



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