It is the season of little baby seedlings. Of transplanting, and root establishment. Now, at the beginning of their life, your plants need a boost of energy. And there is nothing better than dark, nutritious, homemade, vermicompost tea.
I hope you remember my precious worms… I feel a bit like a mama hen when it comes to the growing bunch of red wigglers. You should read the story really, but if you haven’t, let me fill you in. We found an old, frozen bin that used to house a family of composting worms behind someone’s house. There were no worms inside since it was the middle of the Winter and way to cold for the worms to be outdoors, but there was a piece of paper in there full of worm eggs. So we fixed the bin up, brought it inside where it was nice and warm, and voila! They hatched, multiplied, and pooped plenty since then.
In the past couple of months, I’ve been hard at work planting lettuce, pack-choi, kale, cabbage, leeks, eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers in trays. Almost all of those are already transplanted to the garden, but when they were babies, I wanted to give them a big energy boost so they will grow fast and strong.
Compost tea came to mind. Because it’s liquid, the nutrients in the tea are available for the plants much faster than if you were to sprinkle the compost around the plant. You won’t believe the difference in your plants within a couple of days.
How to Make Vermicompost Tea:
Here is what you’ll need:
- A 5-gallon bucket of rainwater. If you don’t have rain water you can use water from the tap, but make sure to leave the bucket to stand overnight so the chlorine can evaporate. We don’t want to kill the beneficial micro-organisms in the compost.
- 2 tablespoons of molasses or corn syrup. This will be the food for our micro- organisms, so they don’t die right away.
- 2 cups of worm poop, a.k.a castings.
Here is my bucket of water that I left to stand outside overnight…
Gather your corn syrup or molasses, a container (I used a measuring cup), a tablespoon and something to mix with.
Fill your container with a bit of water from the bucket…
Add 2 tablespoons of corn syrup…
Then add it back to the bucket.
Now, line your container with an old sheet or cheese cloth like I did here. You can also use a sock or a pantyhose.
Add 2 cups of worm castings…
Look at this rich, black goodness! Did you ever see such beautiful poop?
Tie the cheesecloth (or whatever else you are using)…
Then, insert a stick or in my case, a wooden spoon, through the loops of the knot.
Lower the compost into the water…
Like so. Make sure the water completely covers the compost.
Let this stand for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, take the tea bag out of the dark water. You can use what’s inside the bag around your plants.
Here is what you get. You should use this tea within 48 hours.
Here are some of my 400 lettuce seedlings getting a good dose of vermicompost tea. They were so happy they jumped, started dancing in circles, and then grew two inches in two days.
Since I took this picture a couple of weeks ago, I transplanted those seedlings to the field, and I am happy to say they all survived the transition and are growing beautifully.
I hope you get your hands on some worm poop and have a tea party!