Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Worm Tea

Many people ask us what IS Worm Tea?

Worm Tea is when you put worm castings in a tea bag or straight in water and let it sit for 4 hours to 24 hours, this allows the castings to oxygenate. The extra oxygen causes a bloom of the good bacteria, plus the added benefit of nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and potash. The liquid that drains out of a worm composting bin is actually called leachate because it is the result of liquid that leaches through the castings or compost bin.

In these two mason jars, I filled them with water, then put potting soil on the left and worm castings on the right. I let them sit over night. Look at the amazing difference. The left side is almost clear. the right is full of good stuff! all that nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, and magnesium!

I am going to take some samples to a soil tester this winter so I can tell you exactly what is in there. we are also planning some more comparison studies to stress the importance and value of these castings!

8 reasons why worm castings are important!
  1. a natural repellent for scale, mites, white flies, and aphids
  2. natural fungicide in soil and on plant surfaces
  3. increase in plant stem size and foliage
    acts as a soil conditioner
  4. will not burn plants
  5. creates healthy soil for healthy plants
  6. aides in the creation of colloidal humus
  7. grows healthier fruits and vegetables than those treated with chemical fertilizers
    improves water retention in soil
  8. reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill! Always good!


Algernon said...

I set up a worm composting bin earlier this year, which I keep under the kitchen sink. I've already cycled out one load of finished compost. But I have a serious problem with fruit flies and small black flies (gnats?).

I used two, nested plastic bins, on the small side-- perhaps only a cubic foot of volume. And I drilled small air holes and drainage holes (added more after the first load was too wet). But even with the smallest drill bit I have, these insects can come and go at will-- and they do! It's insect Mecca under my sink! Is my only option to use fine-mesh cloth, like your backroom bin?

I'm waiting for freezing nights, so I can put the bin outside and, I hope, freeze the bugs but not the worms (they'll gather in the middle of the heap for warmth, I guess). Is that my best bet at this point?


One20 Farm and BluGiRlinK said...

Most likely what you have are called "Moth Flies", they are a PAIN to get rid of, if you try & freeze them out they will likely just burrow into the center like the worms will, you may get rid of some but not all of them.
Best way to get rid of them is to seperate worms from all bedding and food scraps, you can do this by placing the worms in a pile on a plastic covered table with a bright light above them and periodically brush off top layer of biomass, the worms natrally run from the light to the bottom center where they will eventually for a ball of worms. Place the bedding outside to dry and kill the flies then you can save any castings. Also while doing this place a hanging fly glue trap under the sink (about $2 for 3 at hardware store) OR place vinegar on a shallow bowl or plate and tightly cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes with toothpick or knife in plastic and place under sink, they go in for vinegar and can't get out.
Best guess without seeing what you have set up is to be sure you have some bedding (shredded paper & coconut fiber have worked best for me and help maintain proper moisture level.)in the container and be sure to have a DRY layer of carbon (shredded paper cheapest) on top at all times, just pull back when burying food scraps and replace. This helps surpress any odor and helps keep flies away.
If you have excess moisture that will cause excess odor and attract the flies.
Try that out and let me know how it does. Also feel free to contact us at one20farm@gmail.com with any other questions or concerns. We'll also be putting some more helpful tips on our website ( www.one20farm.com )in the future.
Good Luck!