Vermicomposting: What Is Compost Tea?

Compost tea is a liquid product of vermicomposting often created by an excess of moisture in the worm farm. Compost tea is also brewed by gardeners to enable better use of the compost. It has been shown to have remarkable benefits for both soil and plants.

From Worm Farms

The surplus liquid that drains from your worm farm is more correctly known as worm tea. It is a slightly less rich form of compost tea but is almost as effective. Careful application of extra water to your worm farm can enable you to have a constant production level.

Making Compost Tea

Simply adding compost to water and letting it stand a few hours is all that is required to make compost tea. Stirring it occasionally will speed the process. The compost from verrmicomposting is especially good for making compost tea. Worm compost is made up of very fine particles which readily form a suspension rather than rapidly settling to the bottom of the container. These fine particles can also go through most garden sprays without causing a blockage.

Is Compost Tea More Effective Than Compost?

Compost tea has the same ingredients as the compost from which it is made and will be equally effective. The difference between the two products is the way that they are used. Compost needs to be dug into the ground for best effect. Although you can dig compost into your soil over a wide area it will still be concentrated in small pockets. It will take some time for the effects of the compost to permeate the whole area.

Compost tea can be poured onto the ground for good penetration or it can be applied topically to the plants. Pouring compost tea onto the ground gives a much wider dispersal of the compost ingredients. This means that the beneficial effects will be seen faster and be more evenly distributed with the tea.

Applied Topically

Compost tea applied directly to plant leaves introduces the disease suppression elements directly. These would have to spread through the plants systemically from compost in the ground. Topical application also increases the nutrient availability to each plant sprayed and allows for selective fertilization.

Improved Product Quality

It has been claimed that crops, especially vegetables, that have been fertilized with compost tea have improved nutritional value and taste better. This is attributed to the rapid absorption of the nutrients from the compost tea by the plant. The plant concentrates its growth effort on the fruit or vegetable, in turn concentrating the nutrients in them.

Compost and compost tea are not mutually exclusive products. When used in combination they speed up soil conditioning and have faster beneficial effects upon the plants.