Friday, 16 April 2010

Brewing-up Worm Castings

Further to the Brewing of Plant Based Teas to use for feeding your garden I've come across the process of brewing compost to make a beneficial feeding brew for your soils and plants.
After reading information on a few sites my interest was stirred to find out more on the subject. A quick search on YouTube came up with this list and a heap of videos to view! See here.

So I set out to try it! I gathered up some equipment:

An air pump for use in an aquarium to bubble the water.

With tubing attached and air stones. I got mine at a local hardware store on special but they should be available at pet stores or department stores.

A 10 litre food grade plastic bucket, the air stones I had were able to move this volume of water well. A larger bucket might need something with more power to create a good rolling/'boiling' action to stir up the water.

Castings from the worm farm
Make sure you get all the worms out!

Good quality, well made compost or worm castings from the worm farm which are loaded with good microbugs for the soil. The suggested rate is about 1 litre of compost to an 18 litre bucket of water. My bucket was a 10 litre one so I used about half a litre of worm castings.

These were placed in a stocking
which was tied loosely to the handle of the bucket.
Just like a giant worm cast tea bag!

If using tap water you'll need to let it sit and bubble for about an hour before you add the compost or worm castings. This will release the chlorine from the water. I used rainwater so this step wasn't necessary.

At first I used a terracotta pot to hold down the airstones,
I now find this unnecessary.

With the worm casts added in their stocking
you can see the rolling 'boiling' action
achieved by the air stones.

I added unsulphured Molasses
(diluted in more rain water)
to feed the beneficial microbes.

This has an immediate reaction in the water
making it bubble even more (it almost fizzes!)

With the stocking tea bag in place let it sit and brew (bubbling) for at least 24 hours. In cooler weather you may need to leave it longer in which case add more molasses to keep it active (foaming on the surface).

When it's ready (or you can't wait any longer) pour some of the mixture into a watering can and dilute if using on new seedlings. This can be applied to the soil or sprayed as a foliar feeding agent.

You will need to strain the mixture well
if using it as a foliar spray
so you don't clog up your spray unit!
I used that trusty stocking that had been well rinsed.

This stuff actually works!

This Strawberry Guava was looking rather ill earlier this year. I tried adding minerals and additives to the soil but things didn't improve.

After a sprayed application of this brew the plant has put on healthy new growth. Alas it is too late for any crop this year so I shall have to wait (making sure it gets a few extra doses of this brew) until next year for more of those yummy strawberry guavas.

One of the better video clips I found is this one from Howard Garrett - The Dirt Doctor


Read More:
What are the Benefits of Aerated Compost Teas vs. Classic Teas?

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