Worm tea is made by soaking worm castings in a porous bag in water. Leachate is what comes out of the bottom of a worm bin and some do call this worm tea, but it is not the same.
I thought worm tea came out of the spigot on the bottom of a worm bin and maybe you do too.
But this liquid although sometimes called worm tea is not anything like real worm tea and is better to be thrown away. It is called leachate.
What Is The Difference Between Worm Tea And Worm Leachate?
Worm leachate is the liquid that collects inside a worm bin. It is unprocessed by the worms and lacks the nutrients and good organisms found in worm castings. The best way to think about it is as raw sewage.
Worm tea is made by putting worm castings in a porous bag and soaking them in water. It has been fully processed by the worms and contains more nutrients and beneficial bacteria than found in leachate.
Can You Use Worm Leachate?
You can use worm leachate but with caution but some say it should be thrown away. Because it has not been processed it can contain bad bacteria. It is recommended not to use it on edible plants. It can be diluted and fed to houseplants according to some.
If your worm bin is not overly wet there should not be a lot of this leachate being produced. It is usually much darker in color than worm tea.
Often it is runoff that has been anaerobically (without oxygen) processed whereas worm castings and worm compost are produced aerobically (with oxygen).
Anaerobic compost is often smelly while aerobic composting does not produce odors. If your leachate has a strong smell you should discard it.
I am surprised that many people refer to this as worm tea even though it isn’t. In older information about worm composting this is often referred to as worm tea and considered good to feed to your plants.
But true worm tea is made from worm castings and not this leachate.
It may be possible to re-use the leachate by diluting it with 10 parts water to 1 part leachate. You could use the bubbler for 24 hours (see below). However, your best bet is to discard the leachate. Pour it down the sink or toilet, or dump it on the driveway. If you decide to re-use leachate, apply it only to decorative plants. https://unclejimswormfarm.com/re-use-worm-leachate-worm-tea/
Make Worm Tea Instead Of Using Leachate
Worm tea is very easy to make. It is safe to use on all plants and provides more nutrients and beneficial bacteria. All you need to do is fill a porous cloth bag (like the one your worms came in) with worm castings and give it a soak.
You can watch the video below to learn how to make worm tea. But I want to make a suggestion. You need to use water free from chlorine or chloramine.
I don’t know if his method will work for chloramine so I recommend using SeaChem Prime for this. I use it in my fish tanks and a little goes a long way. Otherwise, any tap water conditioner at Petco should work. Just make sure to read the label. If you are not adding Ascorbic Acid to your water you probably won’t need to adjust the pH of your water either.
For best results use airstones in the bucket to keep things aerobic and add a bit of molasses to feed the microbes. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble you can just let it soak overnight and use it the next day.
Not sure if worm composting is for you? Read my article to find out more about worm composting Worm Composting In Your Apartment – How To Turbo-charge Your Garden