what do you call the liquid that drains off the worm casting?

joetoeApril 4, 2014

I have 4 utility sinks of worms and I put a gallon of water on them each week, what do you call the water that drains out at the bottom of the sink?

I called it worm tea and I was told it is not worm tea so I was checking and to get worm tea you have to brew it with worm castings.

Can someone explain all this to me?

I have about 50 gallons of the water that drained out of the sink, what would you do with that water?

I am new to this and would like to have as much information that I can get.

Is there any very good forms on the computer that is just about worm farming and worm castings and tea?

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boredsogarden(8 VA)

I, personally--compost tea.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:09PM
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That water is leachate (excess water that has run thru a worm environment). Pour it on some plants, or grass. It has a little bit of value to plants.

If I were you, I'd start at the front of this forum and begin reading all the stuff we've talked about all these years.

If you want to read about leachate, search for "leachate" in the little "search" box at the top of the screen.

Or, you can still ask.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:32PM
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I would call it worm-bin runoff. It is probably a mix of liquefied castings and whatever else you are feeding.
Most worm bin owners strive not to have much runoff. If you did not have the drain in the bin, and the liquid accumulated it would be called leachate. This can go anaerobic and smell bad. Probably not tea material.
If your juice don't stink, you could try and use it as is, or search out various ways to make tea. It is not recommended to store tea, but use it fresh.

I have read of a few others who use the flush method you describe. I thought of making one out of a bathtub if I ever get around to replacing my old one.

There is lots of info on this forum. Do a search and start reading up. Ask questions if you can't find the answers.

Good luck and happy wormin'


    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Can you take that leach (excess water that has run thou a worm environment) and make tea out of that? Will it have the same value as making it fresh form the castings? If you took the castings and this leach water and put the castings in it will you come out with the same tea or will the tea not be as good? Or perhaps better?

There is allot to learn about this, one guy tells you one thing and another one tells you another thing. That is why I would like to find a form that really explains things from experts like the people here.

I will go to the beginning and read some of the information and will get all of it read .

I am not into it to make money , but to improve my garden and lawn.

when your garden has be depleted from chemicals along with your lawn it is time to do something. An I feel that this is a good way to start, along with getting a soil test not from a fertilizer dealer or a Extension Office, but from a private lab that deals with minerals and all the good stiff that you need in your soil.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 4:15AM
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"Can you take that leach (excess water that has run thou a worm environment) and make tea out of that? Will it have the same value as making it fresh form the castings? If you took the castings and this leach water and put the castings in it will you come out with the same tea or will the tea not be as good? Or perhaps better?"
? ?

To make the best tea, you have to use the optimum ingredients like de-chlorinated water, and vc (vermi-compost and vermi-castings....you'll never have 100% of either), and a food source (unsulfered molasses is good) for the biology you'll be producing while aerating the mixture for the correct length of time (18-24 hours?).

What size will the brewer be? Using aquarium bubblers (like I do)? When will you disperse the tea (cool, moist mornings are better than harsh, dry, hot surfaces that'll pretty much fry all that biology you've nursed to vigor).

All of these recipe amounts and measurements and ingredients are discretionary to the point that sometimes the ambient temps and humidities and amounts of aeration injected into the mix can be thought to make differences in the quality of tea that you get. That's why it's an art....not science.

Some folks go way overboard and start using microscopes and elaborate mixtures of added ingredients, and that's OK. Just not necessarily...uh.....necessary.

Read some of the prior posts about AVCT and try some recipes. Watch for results and when you get them, use that recipe with tweaks when you find them good for you.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:57AM
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You probably can not be faulted for calling leachate worm tea because after reading a few advertisements for worm bins for sale with spouts that is what some call it. I'm trying to think of an analogy that will explain the difference. Although water flooding can be used as a method to harvest castings in a liquid form that is different than dripping leachate. Leachate I think of as the juice of kitchen scraps that has rotted. We sort of want to capture that juice as it escapes the plant material to wet a carbon source. This provides a nice home for wee beasties. Tasty wee beasties that are part of a biological system that wants very much to use up the waste produced by humans and animals and turn it into life giving gold. Worm tea as I have read is a substance of much value. You have perhaps heard of probiotics such as in yogurt or very expensive pills? Worm tea does the same thing in a garden as probiotics do in the human digestive system. It overwhelms the bad wee beasties with the good wee beasties. It is all a numbers game. Unlike antibacterial gells or soaps it does not attempt to kill the bad guys but simply to out number them thus cornering the market on resources such as food and location, location, location. I have heard (see TED talk) the bad bacteria talk among themselves. When they get to enough to form a viable gang they do what gangs do best. The beat up everybody else and take over. Then the bad thing happens. Worm tea sprays stop the bad guys by bring in a large number of reinforcements as often as one can spray. Leachate does not do this. So you can see why we have kittens when advertisements for bins with spouts regale us with their producton of worm tea. Worm tea is made from harvested worm castings. The reason castings are used is possibly because they are filled with just the right type of bacteria, the good guys, where as leachate probably contains the bad guys aka the agents of rot.

A Brew Master of Worm Tea puts vermicastings into non chlorinated water such as rain water that has oxygen in it. This oxygen is maintained by use of usually air stones and an air pump. In the olden days I suspect brewers just stirred a lot. I think they also used other species poop. I seem to remember my grandpa had cow poop or something in a sock in a barrel he stirred. Did I get a lot of his genes, the cow poop to make bacteria happy genes? Do I post here because grandpa stirred cow poop in rain water? Molasses is according to two sources, one I think what was her name? are not necessary and may increase the bad bacteria. The ones you do not want sprayed on your food. But just ignore I said that because that is a whole 'nother war and leachate being or not being worm tea is enough for one day. Plus I have to live here. Plus even I if I made worm tea I could probably not resist adding molasses. We are brewing here and brewing is culturing and making a nice home for living wee beasties. Once brewed they are best used immediately. They do not get better with age nor with no access to oxygen. Brewing turns zillions of good bacteria into a bazillion good bacterial. Gently spraying the brew on one or two misty, moisty mornings, when cloudy is the weather, one will no doubt meet a lot of corgil, complementing, grinning wee beasties greating you with "How can I help? How can I help? How can I help?" a zillion times over. Spraying these friendlies around gently out numbers the bad bacteria. Good things then happen. Less bad things happen. The good can chase away the bad. There is the analogy. To what I'm not saying.

I'm not sure why you have 50 gallons of the stuff. Is it open to the air? Since you have the sinks perhaps continue working with water harvesting. If you want to spray worm tea do it right away. Use non chlorinated water. With the 50 gallons you have I would add lots of bedding to the bins and over time add the 50 gallons, one gallon at a time back into the bins. I do not think you hurt anything. Yes as a poster said watch out for the water pushing out all of the air spaces in your bin so oxygen can not reach into it. I like the sink idea.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 2:37PM
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At the time I first started I put a lid under my plastic bins in case there was any drainage[leachate]. Problem was I never had any liquid . There was a little soil/vermicompost fall thru but it really wasnt wet . So I wonder if Im doing something wrong . From the get go till now Ive had no drainage. I have both stackable homemade plastic bin and also a 360. So far not even a drop of liquid in the 360 drainspout. To be truthful that doesnt bother me as I dont think the leachate has much value anyway. The people that sell the bins will tell you otherwise, that the leachate is so rich that you need to dilute . I dont know, but if I ever get any I think I will pass on it. But overall maybe my bins do run to the dry side but not so much that Im not getting vermicast or that the worms are dying , at least not yet. Oh well said my piece.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:45PM
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hummersteve I'm ok with no leachate from your bins. I think it means you are doing it right. Except for that one poster out of 1,000 who uses it as a method of harvest. I bet I wish my bins looked like yours. Presently I am whacking away at the sides of my worm inn to get the castings or at least the uneaten bedding to fall through so I can dump it back on top again. I can so see why vermicomposters dump gallons of water through their bins. Waaaaay easier than convincing that vermicompost to flow.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:09PM
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I use about half and half of Black Kow Manure and Canadian Peat Moss and I feed my worms Purina Worm Food.

I really need to change there bedding since it was not changed for about a year. I like to change it every 6 months , but that did not happen because of the cold weather we had. You see I have to mix it outside.

I do put scraped pepper in it also when I have it.
I know when I put water on my beds it runs right throw and when you have new bedding in it takes about 3 to 4 days to go throw.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:32PM
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Hummer, your bin is in great shape. Don't strive for extra liquid running out of the bottom, the holes in the bottom are for prevention, (just-in-case).

When we read about wetting the initial set-up so that when squeezed the paper should drip out a few drops of water, that's too wet. There's so much liquid in the foods that we feed them, the bin will get saturated in no time.

I don't have holes in the bottom at all and I've never had a puddle, pool of any liquid at the bottom of the bin, now or in the past. Right now the compost is definitely on the wet side and I'm keeping the lid off to dry it out a bit somewhat for when I harvest.

I use frozen, thawed chopped food for the lads, and I know that pureed foods is being fed regularly by other members.

As a rule, pureed foods will have the bin run wetter than feeding shopped food. Does anyone else think this?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 7:50AM
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The consistancy of the food I is not puree not like a smoothie but also not chopped , it is in between. I run all mine thru a juicer and it is the pulp from that. By saving the pulp in another container for a few days it is really ready for the worms quickly and seems to be loaded with bacteria within a days time so the worms can use it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Just my $ .02, but when I read where wormers using plastic totes for bins do not have holes in the bottoms with no excess moisture anywhere in there.....I've gotta believe that the moisture content in those bins (if using a lid) are inadequate.

Oh, the wormies ain't gonna croak, or flee, or regress right away, but those wormies can and do get along really well in an environment much moister than the generally accepted worming principles (GAWP) some adhere to.

Thing is, moisture hangs around much longer in plastic environs than any other material (think plastic bowls and lids in the upper tray of your dishwasher that just stay dripping wet forever)

So it stands to reason that if a wormer continues to add moisture -laden foodstuffs in an environment that retains moisture so long, moisture levels are gonna build up and because of gravity, the excessive moisture is gonna seep to the bottom of the bin.

The holes, like hummersteve....for one...says, are not used and supposedly unnecessary. But what they are are a really good "safety valve" for those buildups of moisture that should occur sometimes unless the bin ain't damp enough. I kinda think the people who don't use holes don't so because of not wanting any leakage messes.

Finally, because the moisture does gravitate to the bottoms of the bins, that means that the bottoms are always wetter than up above. So if the bottoms are ideally damp, that can only mean that the upper regions are less ideally damp.

And, by the way, dig down into the lower regions that are probably a little too wet, and compacted......there'll be lots of worms down in there and they will normally be less active and laying around feeling sorry for themselves, morose, lethargic, and most important.....disinterested in helping you grow your herd.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:32PM
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"I would call it worm-bin runoff."

Hear! Hear!

Maybe not so 'cool', but tough to argue against.

"Is there any very good forms on the computer that is just about worm farming and worm castings and tea?"

What is this place, chopped liver?


This post was edited by pskvorc on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 17:59

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:57PM
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"Is there any very good forms on the computer that is just about worm farming and worm castings and tea?"
A blind little acorn can find a hog. Dude (dudette?), you've found a place that has already answered all your questions. Lots of times.
Over and over.

Read all about it in the archives.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I certainly agree with chuckie plastic bins will remain more moist than other bin types and I on several occasions will either leave the lid cracked and even off for a period of time. But I diont intend to quit using them along with my 360. Also the plastic bins are ones that do need to be stirred around on occasion to keep it less compacted. The other thing you can do with plastic is add more carbon in the beginning , cardboard, paper etc.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:48PM
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One other thing I wanted to mention since chuckie mentioned the compactness in the bottom of the plastic bins. I have a triple stacked plastic bin in which my bottom bin is nearly ready for harvest so I just checked it. It is in great shape , very dark and crumbly not wet and compacted , probably one of the best harvests I will have had. The only other one Ive had that was that good was my first time. It will be a couple more weeks before I harvest that bin to coincide with my spring planting.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Someone gave me their worm bin at one time, as the novelty had worn off and it wasn't working right for her.
The bin was soaking wet, and it had a whole carrot laying on the top. I don't know what she expected the poor things to do with that carrot.

The bin was chock full of muck and the worms were the fattest I'd ever seen. No drainage holes and it was some messy digging through and starting a new bin.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:05PM
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