Vermicast tea

food_4_me(z5b Chicago)May 7, 2005

OK I should totally know this by now - but I'm unsure. How much (tablespoon, cup, half cup) vermicast do you soak in a gallon of water to make vermicast tea?

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Tcdutch(MI 5b)

Food 4 me,

This is out of the Vermicomposting Survival Guide:

Using your Vermicompost

You can mulch it, spread it, mix it with soil or use it as a liquid compost "tea."

To do this take two tablespoons vermicompost and add it to one quart of water. Let it steep for a day, mixing occasionally. Then add it to your plants or spray it on their leaves. The odor is rather pleasant - like that of a forest after a rainstorm.

Please Note: Vermicompost tea is made by mixing finished compost with water. Compost tea is NOT the juice from the bottom of your bin. If you have that much liquid in your bin, it's too wet and likely a symptom of more serious problems.

Tea made from vermicompost will have approximately the same benefit to plant growth as the compost in your bin. To receive the full benefits of worm casting you will need to use worm tea or castings extract.

Worm tea is the leachate obtained from pure worm castings. It is the aerobic or facultative liquid made from castings that have been steeped in water to make a "tea." It has essentially the same benefits to plants as castings, but in liquid form.

Making worm tea is similar to making compost tea - but you'll need to use pure castings seeped in water that's oxygenated by a fish tank pump or similar device. Worm tea should be used within 24 hours of the time it's brewed.

Now sit back and watch your plants bloom like never before!

And Please Note: These teas are for plants  not humans. Don't try them on yourself!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 11:57PM
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Kelly_Slocum(sw WA state)

I had forgotton about that publication, Tcdutch! While it contains some good info I would disagree that tea delivers anything near the benefits of castings themselves, however. While many good things can be delivered to plants by making a tea, tea does not replace castings/vermicompost use! The tea delivers only the soluble compounds that were present in the solid matter and only some of the microorganisms, whether or not it is made using an air stone. It is not a significant source of OM, does not contain a complete compliment of the microbial community present in the castings, and compared to castings has a very short term impact. We've done many growth trials, as has Ohio State U, Mississippi State U, Colorado State U, Cornell and other universities, and all have demonstrated that the use of compost or earthworm castings tthemselves produces better plant growth response, often far better, than does tea made from those same materials.

As to how to make tea, there is no one right way. I've seen folks use the two tablespoons per quart method, and I've seen them make tea using equal parts water and worm castings. There is no scientific proof that one is necessarily better than another, but anecdotal evidence suggests that teas made with more castings produce better results. My trials bear that out, but you will find folks who have used lower castings concentrations and gotten excellent plant growth stimulus, so take my comments as just one voice among many. Experimentation is encouraged!

As to the air stone, or aerating of teas, know that it is one way that many folks make tea, but that it is by no means required. There is no research anywhere suggesting that aerating tea produces a better tea, but some significant research demonstrating that Non-aerated teas produce excellent plant grwoth response.

Try what feels right to you; let yourself be intuitive!

Kelly S

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 9:05AM
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Concerning the ACT/CT comparisons, I have always considered ACT useful strictly as a foliant application where, as the proponents proclaim, the LIVING critters spread over the foliage to protect it from..... That said, teas without aeration would seem to have no advantages over compost/worm castings with the possible exception of ease of application. (As an experiment, I am using ACT to treat and water an area of my lawn using a low-pressure hose-end sprayer. Hence the ease of application statement) I would be hard-pressed to apply compost as evenly, and easily with a spreader.

Any comments, recommendations, outrageous rebuttals?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 11:13AM
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I am intrested to use vermicompost tea for aphid control. Do any one have experiments in this respect? Is it possible to reduce the aphid populations by using vermicompost? My friends tell me that vermicompost spreaying on foliage will cause to leaf burn and I am afraid. Can we use foliage application of vermicompost for better growth and aphid managment? It would be highly appreciated if some body can help me. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:50AM
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