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[greenyes] Recipe for worm tea with an added article
Title: Recipe for worm tea with an added article


It just so happens that I was preparing to copy this formula for Compost Tea for a presentation I am giving on Monday. You are in luck! It is from Tom Jaszewski, Director of Horticulture for the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas, who swears by compost teas after saving a whole bunch of palm trees that had been failing before he began using the biological approach to growing plants.  Most people using compost teas are using worm compost for some or all of the compost. . . more organisms, more diversity, better plant growth enhancers.

I've also added a brief piece I wrote about worm bins and compost teas. People are welcome to use it, post it, and pass it on. Please keep it intact, and let me know how you are using it.


PS Aeration and good oxygen levels are critical for good compost teas. Going anaerobic kills the fungi, and the high bacterial populations produce toxic metabolites such as alcohol when no oxygen is present. I don't know what people are using to provide this oxygen. . . maybe hydrogen peroxide?

For Turf and General Garden Use

(Bacterial Dominated Tea)

35 Gals. Chlorine-free water (remember, you want microorganisms in the tea, and chlorine is put into water to kill bacteria)
2 liters (about 2 qts) good compost (aerobically produced with no pathogens and diversity of organisms)
1 cup un-sulfured molasses (again, sulfur is put in there to keep bacteria from taking over)
3/4 cup kelp meal (food for fungi--beneficials, that is)
3/4 cup of liquid kelp that has been diluted to 1 oz per gal (nutrients, plus food for more organism diversity)
3/4 cup fish emulsion , liquid or dry (protein source to give bacteria raw materials to grow)
3/4 cup bone meal (mineral nutrients)
3/4 cup blood meal (mineral and protein)
Brew 12-48 hours in an aerated system such as that described by Elaine Ingham in article at:

Worm Bins and Compost Teas
Mary Appelhof

Kalamazoo, MI. Compost teas are one of the hottest things going out on the west coast, ranging from California to Alaska. These brews are full of beneficial microbes that can put life back into soil that has had its life-giving qualities removed by excess applications of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

Gardeners, organic growers, and large-scale farmers alike are finding that spraying compost tea as a foliar spray and as a soil drench improves crop yields at the same time it reduces or eliminates fertilizer and pesticide use.

A common belief in the twentieth century was that all bugs are bad. That's not true. The majority of bacteria and protozoa, fungi and nematodes are beneficial. We want them in our soil. Compost teas are the best way to get these microorganisms back into the soil where they can make nitrogen available and release other nutrients plants require as they need them.

Compost tea is something you can brew yourself with a minimum of effort. We're talking about aerated teas, those that have oxygen actively introduced into the brewing solution so that the only microorganisms that reproduce are the aerobic ones.  This can be done with an aquarium aerator or more powerful pump.

You place good compost, that is, compost known to have millions of bacteria, high biomass of fungi, thousands of protozoa, and a few beneficial nematodes into liquid in a container with various food sources to support their growth. Worm bins are a good source of these organisms that multiply thousands of times in this favorable environment.

After 12-48 hours, depending on the brewer, you strain the liquid and spray the tea, coating leaves and soil with these beneficial organisms. Biological processes multiply their effects. Protozoa eat bacteria, releasing nitrogen that plants can use. Fungal hyphae (strands) grow out and bring in nutrients plants need. The beneficial organisms coat leaf surfaces so that pathogens can't find a place to land and take hold.

When you use a worm bin to process your own food discards you can generate a diverse and local source of beneficial microorganisms to make a superb compost tea to restore and enhance fertility in your soil. What else can you ask for?

Mary Appelhof is author of Worms Eat My Garbage  and has been working with worms for over 30 years. Visit her website at: and subscribe to her free WormEzine.

©2003 by Mary Appelhof

Submitted by:
      Mary Appelhof
   Flowerfield Enterprises
10332 Shaver Road
       Kalamazoo, MI 49024
269-327-109 FAX 269-327-7009
Email: mappelho@no.address

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