Thursday, October 8, 2009

Worm compost tea vs. worm bin drainage

If you're reading my blog, then you probably know that worm compost tea is great for your plants. I want to make a distinction though: worm compost tea vs. worm bin drainage.

In my mind, worm compost tea is distinctly different from the liquid that drains from some bin designs (what I call worm bin drainage).

Worm compost tea is made by separating the vermicompost from the worms and steeping the worm compost in water to make a tea. My website has complete instructions for brewing up your own worm tea: 1# of vermicompost in a 5 gallon bucket of water.

I don't mean to say that the drainage from a worm bin would be bad for plants. From what I have read it is great fertilizer; however, I'd be concerned about putting it on edible veggies because you do not know what is in it. I have also found a variety of different reports on how to use it ranging from straight (undiluted) to diluted to the color of straw. If I were to use this on salad and other greens I probably diluting it to straw color and bubbling air through it for 12-24 hours using an aquarium bubbler.

If anyone has experience using worm bin drainage, I'd love to hear how you prepare it for use.




Martha Ann said...

Good post on the difference between worm tea and worm bin drainage.

I have three worm bins in old green Coleman coolers that sit on small metal tables in different shady parts of my garden.

I keep buckets under the drip spouts and about once a week run a hose gently over the open bins and collect the drainage the day. I'm pretty haphazard about diluting what I've collected, and my plants thrive on the stuff.

Clint said...

Hi. Just a quick question. Why bubbles for 24hrs?

WormMainea said...

Hi Clint,

24 hours is not a magical time, but a convenient one. I am not patient enough to go 2 days. I'd rather start a new batch.

You could go for a longer or shorter time if you wanted. If you were to go longer, I'd suggest feeding them some more. You may get a different mix of bacteria and fungi-- you probably would-- (whether it would be better or worse would have to be tested).

Shorter periods may not develop the same microorganism count. In 24 hours I typically see a biofilm layer on the outside of my compost bag, along the tubing line, and (in hot weather) on the inside of my 5-gallon bucket.