The following was sent in by a reader of the newsletter and has been posted here as it may prove useful to others…
“About 99% of advice and videos I’ve seen on how to make Worm Tea involve soaking the castings for 24-48 hours in a 5 gal or larger container with air bubblers going for aeration. I really don’t see the need to harvest worm castings or “brew” worm tea from castings at all. To me it seems like unnecessary waiting, unnecessary energy spent and actually less efficient use of the worm “offal”.
In the following, I detail a much simpler method which I think is more efficient in every aspect, and I would like to know what you and your audience think. Using this method, my garden has grown quickly without the use of any other fertilizer and severe infestations with aphids and white flies have disappeared. I also would like to know what you recommend as a mineral, etc. supplement to worm tea, or is it a complete fertilizer in itself.
I built a worm bin in a 25 gal Rubbermaid Tote, I originally drilled 5/16? holes only in the sides and ends for aeration, but NOT the top and bottom. However, I developed a problem with gnats or fruit flies coming in through the holes. So I redesigned it and I installed 4 x 4? plastic dryer vent covers, 2 in the ends near the top and 2 in the sides near the bottom, covering them with a piece of nylon from old ladies hosiery.
This solved the problem I had with gnats.
Then I installed a PVC drain valve in one end near the base of the unit. Next I put a bag of gravel over the drain valve intake, filled with bedding, kitchen waste and worms and wait 2 or 3 days for the worms to do their thing. I pour a 2 gallon watering can of water over the worm bin contents 2 or 3 times daily and put the can under the spigot and turn on to allow it to drain into the can. PRESTO, worm tea and it works very well. This Worm Tea (or Leachate, call it what you will) is simply the dilute and FRESH version of Worm Castings and can be poured directly over the leaves of your plants and/or onto the soil of your garden.
This method avoids the 3 to 6 month waiting period during which time your worm bin matures after which the castings can be harvested. This way your worm tea can be harvested almost immediately and several times per day providing up to 6 gallons per day of effective, perfectly diluted worm tea for your garden.
Using this large volume of water and not allowing it to sit in the worm bin avoids the problems I have seen others have of making the worms uncomfortable, etc. My worms have yet to “run” and are never to be found crawling on the sides or lid of the worm bin, and just appear to be very content to take their daily “worm shower”.
It appears that what is happening is that the water is partially dissolving the worm castings and cleaning out what other worm wastes are present (pee, poo, sweat, slime, etc.) and keeping your worm bin clean and attractive to the worms. In other words, they don’t have to crawl around in their own waste products for several weeks or months. Since their home stays nice and clean with plent of aeration and food, they have no reason to leave.
It just works, plain and simple, with the absolute simplest and cheapest design, least amount of labor and attentiveness and greatest productivity of any system I have heard of. Try it, you’ll see.” ~ Sent In By Michael
Michael (and others), you might also want to check out this post: Making & Using Brewed Worm Tea – The logic behind “brewing” the worm tea is to actually increase the microbial activity, potency and therefore effectiveness of it. Whilst is sounds like what you’re doing is working great for you, brewing your worm tea will probably just take it to that next level. There is a lot of additional information about this in the Worm Tea category.
Do you just use the tea and not any of the castings? Doesn’t that just give you a fertilizer and not any ammendemnts to the soil?