Worm Tea as Fertilizer

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Photo courtesy of sashafatcat at Flickr.com.

Most organic gardeners know that it’s possible to convert compost into refreshing compost tea, an invigorating liquid fertilizer that also helps break down toxins and control some foliar diseases. But did you know that you can also make a great liquid fertilizer from worm castings? Sure, it’s a kind of poop, but it’s dry, granular, and doesn’t smell bad at all. For that reason, worm cast tea offers an excellent organic alternative for those situations where odor is an issue — especially when you’re growing plants indoors. Unlike some compost teas and other effective liquid fertilizers, such as fish oil sprays, worm tea is almost completely odorless.

Worm casts can be obtained from worm farms or online gardening retailers or, if you’re the proud owner of a worm composter, you can make it yourself. In addition to valuable liquid tea, the worms will convert your kitchen wastes into a rich harvest of casts. These dry, odorless little particles can be used directly in the garden as a fertilizer, but it’s a simple matter to convert them into a liquid tea that you can use to feed your houseplants too.

All you need to do is steep a pint of worm casts and a half-teaspoon of molasses in a gallon of water for 24-48 hours; for best results, stir it often, or use an aquarium aerator to keep the mixture agitated. When it’s done, drain off the liquid through a filter (a coffee filter or cheesecloth should work), dilute it with four parts water, and spray it onto your plants. The worm tea is rich in nitrogen and other nutrients plants need to thrive. As for the remaining solids, you can add them to your garden soil or compost pile to give them a second go-round.