Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mallacht's Worm Compost Tea Recipe

We were given permission to post this guide by The Mallacht. This is a guide for making worm casting tea. Worm castings are a euphemism for worm poop. It is also known as vermicast or worm humus. Like the solid waste of many other animals, worm castings are a wonderful fertilizer than can be used in place of chemicals for organic gardening. In addition to fertilizing, compost tea is believed to help prevent disease in plants. Gardeners often equate worms with a healthy soil, and this is because worms help to foster the web of life within the soil by breaking down organic matter and making nutrients readily available to plants. It also helps increase beneficial aerobic bacteria. By making a tea using worm castings, gardeners can add these beneficial nutrients to their soil in liquid form without actually having the worms present. Through aerating the tea, you can increase the levels of beneficial bacteria in your tea and your soil.

Essentially what you are doing is creating a culture of beneficial aerobic bacteria. When water sits for a long time without moving, it eventually becomes bacteria ridden or disgusting because harmful bacteria, or Anaerobic (anti-air) bacteria, thrive in an environment lacking oxygen. So when you use the bubblers to oxygenate the water, you are creating an environment that is perfect for the beneficial (aerobic) bacteria thus creating a thriving culture of them. Beneficial bacteria help break down components in the soil that would otherwise be useless to plants.

Materials Needed:

Two Socks to use as tea bags
Enough worm castings to fill the two socks (1 bag = $10)
Black Strap brand molasses (said to be the best brand)
Air Stones (preferably 4 or more)
Aquarium pumps for the airstones
Standard 5-gallon bucket

Here’s a picture of what a completed setup looks like without water

As you can see, there are four airstones in the bottom. Tying them together can keep them from floating, which is important because they work better on the bottom.


Here is a picture with it connected to the air pumps

A picture of Grandma’s Black Strap molasses

This is the setup with the water bubbling


     Afterwards 2-3 tablespoons of Grandma’s Black Strap molasses are added.

The worm castings are added to the socks and placed in the water for “brewing” This shows the setup in full operation

A pump is wired with a switch like this so that you can more easily fill gallon jugs and further aerate the tea.

Of course it may be overkill, but it helps to create more of the frothy foam that you are looking for. Let it run for 48-72 hours or more. A good amount of foam is a sign that the tea is ready. The more foam the better. It seems that the foam is indicative of there being a large amount of beneficial bacteria present.

                                                         So FOAM = READY for use


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