Vermicast solution

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Vermicast solution (also called vermicompost tea) is superior to worm farm leachate (brown liquid drained from a worm farm) because it is much richer in microbial activity and doesn't contain potentially harmful bacteria. The best place for worm farm leachate is back in the worm farm. Read on to learn about creating and applying vermicast solution:

The creation of vermicast solution involves dissolving vermicast in water (to create an initial microbe colony), feeding carbon (molasses) and nitrogren (fish emulsion or urea), with oxygenation (via fish tank pump), resulting in rapid multiplying of the microbial population. This solution is then sprayed onto plants and soil. This process massively multiplies desirable bacteria from (Murphy) and the soil and plants benefit.

More specifically, here are the vermicast solution method featured in David Murphy's Organic Growing with Worms book involves the following steps:

  1. Ideal temperature 28 degrees celcius (up to 60 deg.)
  2. Steep vermicast into a cloth bag and in water without additives for 12-24 hours
  3. Create a separate feed solution by adding molasses (or other carbon/sugary food) and fish emulsion or granular urea (16:1 ratio of molasses:urea) e.g., for 200L of feed solution, add 800g molasses and 50g urea - stir and dissolve.
  4. Add 0.5% feed solution into vermicast solution (1:20)
  5. Aerate overnight with a fish pond pump. The bacteria multiply many-fold because of the food available (carbon) and nitrogen for forming bacteria bodies. In David Murphy's book (p. 111) he presents lab results showing that before feeding and aeration worm castings have a microbial count of 32,000 "total plate count of colony forming units per gram" but when the castings are fed (fish emulsion/urea and molasses) and aerated (using the aquarium pump) population jumps to 360 000 000!
  6. Final solution can be somewhat diluted before foliage spray the plants - foliage spray helps to act as pesticide. Apply the solution after sun-down as UV light destroys the bacteria. They will make their way into the soil and eventually die, leaving plant soluable nitrogen etc.
  7. The process can be ongoing (aeration can continue 24/7) - as vermicast solution is removed, add more feed solution and sometimes dissolve more vermicast for mineral content; microbes will die off though after a few hours if left standing.
  8. Murphy suggests applying vermicast solution four times during the growing season, but that it could be used as often as fortnightly.

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