Worm Compost Tea

Last Christmas 2012, my hubby and I gave each other worms.

Yup.  We did.

A worm farm, of course!   I thought some of you might like to hear how it’s doing and how we have used the worm composted …. um….. well…… stuff.

Vermicompost tea

The top tray where I am adding the worm food – bits of fruits and vegetables, paper, coffee grounds, cardboard, egg shells and dried leaves.

If you didn’t get a chance to read about our worm farm and how we set it up, you can read about it HERE and HERE.

I have been rotating the trays – mine has four – but unfortunately I haven’t kept tract of how many trays of finished worm compost we have harvested. Lets just say we have used up several trays so far.

Red wigglers for worm farm

Here is a picture of the worms. The picture is a bit blurry because I couldn’t get them to stay still and say “cheese”!

We have used the worm compost to re-pot quite a few of our house plants, I potted up the two stevia plants growing in the garden with worm compost to bring them inside for the winter, and I have also made worm compost tea for watering. The plants seem to be greener and grow faster with the worm tea and soil, and I certainly don’t miss having to buy expensive fertilizer for my house plants.  Honestly, there’s nothing better!

How do you make worm tea?  Easy.

Worm Farm Composting

The bottom tray with the “finished” worm compost.

I just take about a cup of worm compost to two cups of water, let it steep overnight, strain off the liquid and – voila – worm compost tea!  I add just a bit more water (no chlorinated water – please) because a little seems to go a long way.  I haven’t had any problems with burning any plants – it seems this stuff is pretty mellow and yet chock full of the good stuff! I have very happy and healthy plants!  🙂

And the worms?  Well, lets just say if they could smile they would be grinning from ear to ear!  I think I finally got the moisture balance right after the “great worm exodus” I had when I was first learning how to compost with worms.

Vermiculture

One of the red wigglers! Anyone want to go fishing?

Really, you want the top layer – the one you are adding vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds (with paper filter), paper egg cartons, crushed dried egg shells, etc. to be the wet one.  The next one down, the one most of the worms will be in, should be pretty moist, but not sopping wet.  The tray underneath that one is usually a bit drier – not dry but not really wet either. There might be a few worms in this layer also.  The bottom tray (of mine, at least) is like the fluffy compost or potting soil that you get from the store.  This is the tray that you harvest the worm compost from to make tea or to pot up your plants with.  This balance of moisture in the trays seems to be the best for the worms.  If it gets too wet, they migrate down.  If it is too dry, they migrate up!  The worms aren’t too particular once you get a few trays up and running.

Worm Tea from Compost

A pint jar of freshly “brewed” worm compost tea!

We will probably start harvesting some of the worms this spring to use as fishing bait!  I know they have been making babies, because there are worms of all sizes in the trays.  I have even found a few of their eggs!

If you decide to try your hand at worm farming, and I certainly hope you do, spend some time doing a bit of research first!  There are several companies that make worm farms and lots of retailers who sell them.  Check out all of them to get the best size and price for your needs.  I have listed a few below:

Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply   This is where I got mine at 20% off

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm    This company also sells the worms

Woodland Direct       This company offers three different brands:  Can-O-Worms, Vermi-Hut, and Worm Chalet.

If you would like to try worm farming (it’s actually called vermicomposting) but don’t want to fork out a lot of money for a commercial worm farm, you can google for “DIY worm farm” and come up with a lot of results.  Here are just a few:

Modern Farmer,  Happily Ever Crafter and Kiwi Urban Homestead

There are a lot of other blogs that cover the DIY subject of building your own bin, but these will give you the general idea.

I have truly enjoyed worm farming.  My grandchildren take pleasure in checking on their progress every time they come over and I think they are learning a lot about composting and permaculture because of the worm farm, even though they don’t know it yet! And let me tell you – the worms are almost like having pets!  Of course I can’t name them all, but the level of attachment I have developed for my worms is quite strange – perhaps unnatural.  😉    Ah well.

 

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