Fresh From the Farms’ Worm Castings and Worm Casting Tea
Fresh From the Farm Invites You to: Have a “Tea Party” FOR your garden !
Instructions to make Steeped and Brewed Worm Casting Tea And general use information
By D. Converse This article may not be transferred or copied in anyway in whole or in part without the permission of the author.
Below is information we include with the worm casting teabags we offer. I have re-written this section so that it will be applicable for your own use in a DIY situation.
Worm castings are higher in plant available nutrients than any other manure, compost or fertilizer. Scientists just cannot duplicate all the good packed in worm castings that nature has provided. Worm castings are wonderful for soil improvement, as a planting medium, fertilizer, or for tea with many beneficial applications.
Below are two methods for making tea to choose from. One is basically a “sun tea” method of cool-steeping a tea bag filled with castings. The other is to aerate, or “brew” a tea bag in water. Both are good approaches and highly beneficial to your plants and soil. A “tea bag” can be as simple as a foot-end of an old set of pantyhose (men, be sure to ask your wife first before you raid your wife’s supply), a loose weave sock, or other piece of loose weave cloth. On our farm we brew tea in 50 gallon batches, and the castings are added to the water loose, and then strained out after the brewing process. Using a tea bag eliminates the need to strain out loose castings. By soaking the casting filled tea bag in water, the nutrients that naturally occur in castings are released into the water, and ready to be applied to your plants and/or soil. By aerating the tea, you not only release the nutrients, but you can also exponentially increase the naturally occurring beneficial microbial population, making a great product even better. Studies from Ohio State Univ. show that aerated tea is not only great for soil and plants, but is significantly beneficial as a foliar application (repels aphids, spider mites and plant parasitic nematodes, stops black spot and powdery mildew among a host of other benefits). An important piece of information here, is that the quality and how the worm castings have been “stored” does matter. NEVER use any worm castings that have been stored in ANY airtight container or that have been allowed to dry out if you want to use it for anything other than just its nutrients. Worm castings are live. They are filled with an amazing population of beneficial microbes. These die of it is stored in an airtight container of any kind, or if the worm castings have been allowed to dry out. There are some vermicomposting operations that sell bagged worm castings that claim they are good for up to a year packaged this way. NOT for anything but a fertilizer. Your money and efforts are best spent either having your own home vermicomposting bin, or buying locally from someone who DOES NOT bag put them in airtight containers. So if you want to get rid of insect pests, or stop any number of plant maladies (or at least have that option) be careful how the worm castings have been stored and are packaged. If you do not know, ask the person selling, before you buy.
How to make Steeped Worm Casting Tea (“Sun Tea” Method)
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
You will need a container to soak the worm casting tea bag in, a worm casting tea bag and water. Any water used should have sat out over night, or be distilled water or rain water. The point is to avoid the chlorine found in most drinking water. Do not heat the water as in making regular tea for drinking. This is steeped at air temperature. A Worm Casting Tea Bag designed to make one gallon of tea, needs to contain about 2/3 cup of worm castings (generally 5 ounces of worm castings by weight), however the tea may be diluted with another gallon of water after soaking to make two gallons of worm casting tea for your use.
1) Place one gallon of water in a container.
2) Suspend the tea bag in the container of water after filling it with 2/3 cup of castings. The contents of the tea bag can be dumped directly into the container during steeping, but may need to be strained out when applying to your garden if using a sprayer or watering can, etc.. Using the Teabag eliminates this step.
3) Let the Worm Casting Tea Bag soak for a few hours or over night. After this time, the tea is ready to use.
4) Pour the resulting tea into your garden/orchard /vineyard. Use as you would watering your garden by hand.
5) You can apply the leftover castings in the re-usable teabag to soil. It will improve the texture and water retention qualities of soil. Rinse and air-dry the tea bag for future use.
6) If you have further questions, please contact is at email@example.com for e-mail Q/A support.
Instructions to Brew Worm Casting Tea
Not for Human Consumption!
These Instructions are for brewing 1 gallon of Worm Casting Tea (1:25 ratio). The final product can be diluted to make 2 gallons (1:50 ratio), and still have an excellent product for your use. If your goal is to use Freshly Brewed Worm Casting tea to get rid of insect pests, or to stop plant maladies, keep it full strength (1:25 ratio) at one gallon.
You will need the following:
1) Fish tank-type air pump. (See alternative instructions below for those who do not have a pump.)
2) A container large enough to hold at least one gallon of water.
3) One gallon of tap water that has sat out over night, or 1 gallon distilled or rain water. Do not heat this water.
4) Tubing with air stone attached to put on air pump. Soak dry air stones 1 hr. before use.
5) The tea bags. Fill with approximately 2/3 cup of worm castings (generally 5 ounces by weight). You can add worm castings directly to the water without using the tea bag, but the worm castings may need to be strained out later if you plan to apply the tea with a sprayer or watering can.
6) 1-2 TBSP of sugar or molasses.
Step 1: Fill Brewing container with water, as described above, up to two inches from the top.
Step 2: Turn pump on and then put air stone into jar of water. Make sure tea bag and air stone sink to the bottom of the jar. If you wish, you can empty the contents of the tea bag into the brewing jar, but it may need to be strained out after brewing to work in watering cans.
Step 3: Allow 12 to 24 hours for brewing /aeration. During this time you can lightly cover jar with cheese cloth or mesh if you wish. The lid should not be placed tightly on the jar during brewing. Add 1-2 TBSP. of sugar or molasses during the brewing process. The aeration and this food allow the naturally occurring beneficial microbe population to increase. A foamy head on your brew is to be expected.
Step 4: After 12-24 hours you may end brewing. Pull air stone out of jar and then turn air pump off.
Step 5: To gain the most benefit from brewing your tea, use the liquid within 4 to 18 hours after removal from aeration. Do not store the Brewed Worm Casting Tea with a lid on. Pressure will build up, and may blow the lid off. After brewing you may add one gallon of water (sat over night, distilled, or rain water) to the brewed Worm Casting Tea. This will give you approximately 2 gallons of fabulous Worm Casting Tea.
Step 6: Worm Casting Tea may be applied to soils, or foliage for wonderful benefits.
Step 7: You can apply the leftover castings to soil. It will improve the texture and water retention qualities of soil.
Rinse and air-dry the tea bag for future use.
An alternative for aeration if you do not have a pump (such as an aquarium pump) If you have a fish tank type pump available you can aerate the brewed tea, making it last longer so it does not lose its beneficial qualities. Otherwise, vigorously shaking the container it is in can act as aeration if done often (every hour).
Do not keep a lid on your brewed tea unless it is vented, because the live microbes in the tea will cause pressure to build up, the lid could blow off, or the container explode.
To gain the most benefit from your freshly brewed worm casting tea, please use within 18-36 hours. Even past the 18 hour window worm casting tea is good, but the beneficial populations will have declined or died.
About Your Freshly Brewed Worm Casting Tea: Freshly brewed worm casting tea is not only a nutritious treat for your garden, orchard, lawn, vineyard, green house, but the brewing process also multiplies the population of beneficial microbes which naturally occur in the castings. This is what is so special about freshly brewed worm casting tea. How to use freshly brewed worm casting tea: It makes a wonderful foliar spray. Use a mister or pump sprayer to coat the foliage of your plants, garden, orchard or vineyard.
++Use it as a drench for your soil or compost pile. Use it as you would water in your watering can for your garden.
++Water your plant starts you are growing for your garden. It is safe for use in your green house, vineyard, lawn or orchard and aquaponics set-up.
++The best time to apply the “tea” is when the sun is not directly shining on the area you wish to use the tea on, such as morning or evening.
++ Lightly spray seeds prior to planting. It will increase germination success and reduce germination time for seeds.
++ Covering foliage will get rid of hard bodied insect pests like aphids, spider mites and also tomato horn worms. It will stop plant maladies like black spot, powdery mildew, and damping off just to name a few.
Now that you know how to make the tea you may want to know: What Are Worm Castings? The honest answer is that worm castings are worm poop. Before the “eeeww!” factor sets in, you should know that worm castings are completely clean. In fact, in India and other 3rd world countries redworms are used to solve the open sewer health problem. Worms are used to consume human waste, converting it to clean, safe castings and also consuming disease causing pathogens. Worm castings are safe to handle, but use garden gloves if it makes you feel better. Worm castings will not burn plants like fertilizers or other manures will. You can apply it just as if you were watering your plants. This takes the guess-work out of using worm casting tea. Some people do want to know how much area they can expect to cover with their worm casting tea.
There are a few approaches you may wish to consider for use of your worm casting tea:
Foliar sprays at a rate of 5 gallons per acre for each 6 foot of canopy.
Soil Drenches at a rate of 20 gallons per acre (100L/HA) for each spring and fall, or combine with vermicompost application in the Fall, tea soil drench in the Spring. Use at any time to give your plants a boost, or to revitalize soils “killed” by commercial fertilizer use. Do not worry about “over use”. Worm castings in any concentration will not harm plants.
Seed Treatments: Spray into seed surface in a mist, not even enough to wet the seeds significantly. Roll seed or portion of seed in solution of tea Place a drench of tea below seed as planting a furrow.
While Worm Casting Tea is not for human consumption, it will not harm plants or pets and is completely safe to use in areas where your family frequents, pet areas and around ponds.
We give all our clients online Q/A support. If you have any questions about Steeped or Freshly Brewed Worm Casting Tea, or would like to arrange to get more worm casting tea bags, please contact Fresh From the Farm by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org We will make large quantities available for farm/garden, greenhouse, vineyard, orchard or turf use. If you wish, we will also e-mail the links to the research articles mentioned earlier in this post.
Your fresh From the Farm Family
Worm castings tea can be made like sun tea. It can be ‘fesh brewed”… Each has its own applications. It is made from the worm castings. It is NOT for human consumption….go ahead and laugh…we have had people ask. Seriously. For the record. Worm casting tea is for your soil and plants.