Welcome back to the “Feeding Your Garden” blog series. One of the keys to a healthy, productive garden is to feed your plants and garden soil powerful, organic nutrients on a regular basis.
In the last post, we learned what a powerful soil amendment worm castings are, in this post, we’ll learn all about worm tea.
Worm WHAT? Yes, worm tea. No, you don’t drink it, but your plants do, and they LOVE it!
VermisTerra Earthworm Tea – Liquid Gold
Although I had a worm bin at one time, I found it time consuming and difficult to produce the amount of worm castings I needed for my garden, let along produce worm tea.
VermisTerra does all the heavy lifting with their ready made earthworm tea. Their worm tea is microbial-rich concentrate, shelf-stable, comes in a quart or a gallon size, and is a snap to use on my garden. Along with VermisTerra’s worm castings, I have been using their worm tea in my garden for several month – the results are impressive! I like to call it “liquid gold”.
Lettuce garden – My lettuce garden receives a weekly dose of VermisTerra worm tea, and produced loads of lettuce through a fall heat wave, and is still going strong today, well into the winter. We eat out of it every single day! And because the worm tea makes the plant tissues stronger, the greens last me 7-10 days in the fridge after harvesting!
Strawberry Crate Towers – Many of you have seen my strawberry crate towers in my videos. To test the effectiveness of VermisTerra worm tea, for several months, I watered one tower with VermisTerra worm tea once a week, and the other towers with the same liquid fertilizer I have always used once a week. The strawberry plants watered with worm tea held up to frosts with minimal damage to the leaves, have larger leaves, and are starting to flower. The plants that did not receive their “cuppa” VermisTerra worm tea had significant more leaf damage after a frost, leaves are smaller, and have no flowers. Worm tea at work!
What is Worm Tea?
Worm tea is an organic liquid fertilizer derived from worm castings, and is a powerful soil nutrient that contains all the benefits of worm castings. It gives your plants a boost and works quickly to provide your garden powerful nutrients.
VermisTerra worm tea contains microbes and beneficial bacterial that are dormant in the concentrate, but are activated upon adding it to water. These microbes and beneficial bacterial go to work immediately upon being applied to your soil to help your plant be healthy and produce lots of fruits and veggies for you to share with your loved ones.
Why is Worm Tea Beneficial for Our Gardens?
1. Rich in Beneficial Bacteria and Microbes – Like VermisTerra worm castings, their worm tea contains powerful beneficial bacteria and microbes – microscopic organisms that help create a healthy, living soil.
2. Improves Soil structure – Microbes in the worm tea have the ability to create pore spaces in the soil. Not only will this help your soil retain water for longer periods of time, but also means more oxygen and water can penetrate the soil and be taken up by your plants. When your plants are consistently watered with worm tea, they will be able to root easier, and take up the nutrients they need to be healthier and productive.
3. Supress Pests and Diseases – As soon as you apply the microbe-rich worm tea to your plants, the army of microbes that are so helpful to plant growth get right to work and start to multiply. These “good guys” live around the roots and surfaces of your plants, keeping them healthy. Your garden will be equipped to fight off disease, and pests aren’t as attracted to them. Many farmers who have tested VermisTerra worm tea report reversal of disease and increase in fruit production in their crops!
I like to compare this to feeding my body food rich in probiotics and beneficial bacteria – such as kefir, and my favorite, kombucha. These foods feed my body good bacteria, helping everything to function as it should. This gives me the ability to fight off a cold or flu much easier than if my immune system was compromised.
What Makes VermisTerra Worm Tea Special?
1. Extended shelf life – VermisTerra worm tea, in it’s concentrated bottled form, is shelf stable for more than a year. Contrast this to compost tea that loses it’s effectiveness if it does not get enough oxygen, and can then possibly contain harmful bacteria such as e-coli and salmonella.
2. Certified organic and lab tested – VermisTerra is certified organic by the USDA, and the California CDFA. Each batch of worm tea is lab tested (something very unusual in the industry) and free of pathogens. In fact, UC Berkley tests found over 2000 types of good bacteria in a sample of tea. VermisTerra takes great care to make sure that their worm tea is of the highest quality!
How to use Worm Tea in your Garden
VermisTerra worm tea is especially effective when used alongside their worm castings and can also be used in along with organic fertilizer and compost. It’s easy to incorporate watering with worm tea into your regular garden routine. The key is: a little goes a very long way and use it regularly. Just like our bodies need a regular supply of good nutrition to be healthy, so does our garden!
The general rule of thumb is to use 3-6 ounces of worm tea for every gallon of water, and use the same day you make it. Take care not to splash water into the bottle, as the microbes are dormant in the bottle (helping it to be shelf stable), and water will activate them.
Add worm tea to your watering can or directly to your drip irrigation system, or even to a hose end sprayer as a foliar spray. Just like worm castings, it won’t burn your plants, and you can’t use to much. Use a little, use a lot, use what your plants need and what you can afford.
VermisTerra worm tea is the perfect liquid fertilizer to use on your young seedlings. It is gentle and won’t burn them. The young plants will take up just the nutrients they need to help them to thrive until it’s time to transplant them in your garden.
How-to: Mix one capful into a quart of water,pply once a week, more often more often if desired.
Container plants need consistent moisture and nutrients to thrive. Worm tea provides them the nutrients they need and help the soil retain moisture.
How-to: 3-6 ounces of worm tea per gallon of water. Apply once a week, more often if desired.
Using worm tea in your garden beds will increase the survival rate of your transplants, and makes your soil healthier.
How-to: 3-6 ounces of water per gallon in your watering can, or apply to directly through your drip irrigation system. Apply every two weeks, more often if desired.
Watch the video from my YouTube channel below “How to Use Worm Tea in Your Garden”, to see a demonstration how to use it, and to enter a drawing for free VermisTerra worm tea and worm castings. Watch today – entry deadline is February 25th, 2017!
To purchase VermisTerra worm tea or castings, click on the “Partner’s Store” tab at the top of this page, use promo code “calikim” for 10% off. Receive free shipping for any orders over $55. For a limited time, they are offering a free quart of worm tea (a $26.99 value) with any purchase, so you can try it out for yourself!
Have you ever used worm tea in your garden? Comment below and let me know!
Thanks to VermisTerra for providing the worm tea I used to test in my garden, and for sponsoring this blog post. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – I make a small commission when you order through these links and its helps me keep the garden content coming!