Thursday, June 18, 2009

and up from the ground come a bubbling brew...

No, I didn't strike oil in my backyard, but I did build a bubbling brewer for compost tea, or in this case, worm tea.

Let me start with the worm tea story. I became a ranch wrangler last September.

Although ordering the worm bin from Waste Management of Alameda County was pretty straightforward, getting the red wrigglers themselves was a rather sketchy affair with secret meetings in the parking lot of a bakery in San Leandro.

Following the worm dealer's advice, I put all this shredded newspaper (soaked for 24 hours) in for bedding, and I'm still finding hard pulpy bits of it. I much prefer the coconut (coir) bedding that came with bin. The worms didn't seem very excited about the whole relocation scheme and I didn't see much of them.

We went through a period of overfeeding them, then we went through a period of drenching them. This happened because we had long heard of the virtues of "worm tea," and since the bottom-most tray of the worm bin has a little tap to release liquid, we thought this liquid was the magic worm tea of which had heard tell. Thus followed the idea that by watering the worms more often this would increase our harvest of worm tea.

After which, there was an unfortunate incident involving worms who were unable to swim, and the whole worm tea quest was called off.

Until now.

Now, we know that compost tea, or worm tea, requires aeration, food, and some time. However, it can be easily brewed in a 5 gallon bucket with an aquarium pump and an air stone. The elaborate plans were provided by Deuley and confirmed in the Toolbox for Sustainable City Living book.

So now about two cups worth worm casings is bouncing along in a bubbling vat of dechlorinated water, with some molasses. The batch will be ready in the morning, and Malucho will begin spraying it on her soil.

Watch for more updates from the bubbling brewmeister.

See also this eerily similar post from Gamine's Garden. We didn't read this first, although I did copy the hyperlink to Deuley's. It must just be synchronicity.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, man I keep meaning to do this. Have I? No! Good for you two.