TLDR: Plants need the bacteria that can be easily reproduced in a liquid tea rather than using purely the vermicast or composted products. Build a liquid tea aerator – you can double the bacterial content (however not fungal content) in the liquid tea in just 3 hours.

Why? Simply because, it is the bacteria in the tea that you need for your plants. The vermicasting have bacteria, the worms produce the vermicast, but the bacteria in vermicast tea are the easiest to reproduce – and you can double the population in just 6 hours with a correct tea brewing process.

Worms take time to reproduce, much more time than reproducing bacteria. It takes time to compost (verb) the food and the bedding (bedding is also food), unless you have a big population. If your goal for vermiculture is to give the plants better performing amendments, then utilizing the tea over the vermicastis faster, more efficient, and less wasteful.

Faster. Like I mentioned, it only takes 6 hours to double the population. But you cannot notice the difference with your naked eye, as bacteria are nanometers in size. You need a microscope to prove it. I have a microscope and I use it to check my process. My advice is that if you know that your process works, and that your end result – plants are performing better, then keep the tea brewing process the same without the need for a microscope. Even with a microscope, you need to know what you are looking for, as it is very discouraging to identify the bacteria, more than using the microscope.

Efficient. The bacteria is mixed with the liquid. When the tea is properly applied in the soil (NOT IN FOLIAR), the bacteria will be able to do its job. Bacteria moves around in the soil near the roots if the soil is wet or moist. As opposed to a vermicast topping, applying tea on the soil pushes the bacteria to the ground (roots) immediately, than waiting for the bacteria to leave its compost and leach to the ground, in the case of the compost topping. True, there is more to bacteria in the compost like enzymes and other worm chemicals, but the tea brewing process dilutes all those molecules together with the bacteria.

Less Wasteful. It takes months to build vermicast with probably billions of bacteria in 1 cup, while it takes only 1 night to make a small vermicast tea with gazillions of bacteria, and you can mix fungi ingredients in it so that you get a complete recipe of plant enhancer tea. A 5 gallon bucket is enough for a 1 acre garden when applied with a spraying applicator. The trick is that the soil must be already wet so that the bacteria can swim around where applied. As opposed to vermicast topping, you can only spread it so much. Regardless, vermicast topping or tea, the application of any should be prevented from drying out by mulching, because when dry bacteria cannot perform so much nor does the bacteria and chemicals in the compost take its time to work. However, without mulching, comparing the two by-products, tea is better because it has already penetrated the soil.

The Process. Making vermicasting tea is easy. In a 5 gallon bucket, fill with de-chlorinated water (city water left standing for a day in the sun to burn off the chlorine in heat). Add a cup of vermicasting, a scoop of unsulfured molasses, fish emulsion and organic seaweed and kelp fertilizer. Also, composted and inoculated wood chips can be added for fungal content (discussed in another article). Using an air pump, bubble-up the solution for 1 whole night then it will be ready for use. If you have a microscope intended for microbiological inspection, try to observe the quantity of microbiology in a sample slide. Unless you studied microbiology it will be hard to identify what you are looking for, but in a simple retrospect, just compare the quantity from a diluted soil without tea, and from the vermicast tea you made to get a visual difference.

The Application. Use a sprayer with a non-atomic nozzle to spread the tea to the ground, especially close to the roots of resident plants. A 5 gallon tea (like an orange bucket), can cover a 1 acre of plant growth applied in spot-like bursts.Do not use on the plant leaves because bacteria do not work on leaves but on roots. Nutrients are pulled in by the plant roots. Sunlight is pulled in by the leaves using photosynthesis (elementary school knowledge).

In the next installation I will write about bacterial and fungal dominance, and the process of making fungi.

“The end goal is to make your plants perform the best with the least amount of effort so that growing your own vegetables is easy. It is not making compost or wasting compost, it is the bacteria in the compost that the roots need.” Ma Tilde

tildeTe is inexpensive and comes with no-nonsense instructions on how to use it properly. Plus, yu can come back for a refill with a 50% discount with just a full summary Yelp review.