Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of fertilizers for my garden, including Miracle Grow which I later found out was not organic and not allowed in my organic community garden. Fast forward several years, I’ve found worm tea to be the BEST organic fertilizer by far. This amazing fertilizer was first introduced to me by my garden neighbor, Marilynn Banks, who brews it at home and sells me gallon jugs of what she calls”soil soup” for $4 each. Marilynn brews the tea with worm casings; the process of which causes all kinds of beneficial microorganisms to come alive. Once brewed, the worm tea has to be applied within 24 hours to insure the maximum benefit. In my garden, the results of using worm tea have been amazing – hearty growth, robust, healthy plants, abundant harvest. I soon became dependent on regular applications of this organic “miracle grow”.
Several years later, I was lucky enough to pop into a local garden shop and score a worm cooker, casings and the special liquid ingredient for free! My garden neighbor was none too happy to hear I’d gotten such a deal when she had hoped I’d buy the set up from her. As a consolation, I still buy gallons of tea from her when I don’t have time to brew my own. But this season, I have finally ran out of the special ingredients and am faced with putting some serious money on the table to replace it from the Soil Soup vendor.
Last Sunday, I tuned into a favorite PBS show, “Growing a Greener World” and was happy to see a demonstration on how cook up my own worm tea on the cheap. Here is what you need:
- 5 gallon bucket
- 3 cups worm casings
- dried molasses (or 2 -3 cups liquid)
- square of cloth for tea bag
- 5 gallons of water (no chlorine — let is evaporate out a day); rainwater is good
Fill the bucket with water and let sit for a day to let chlorine evaporate. Put 3 cups or so of worm casings in square of fabric (16 X 16) and tie with 2 ft of twine. Add 1/2 cup or so of dried molasses to water. Or a 2 cups of liquid molasses. Dip “tea bag” in the bucket of water and secure to handle. Add aerator and let tea “cook” for a day. Once cooked, apply tea to garden within 24 hours.
Voila! Worm Tea!