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Compost Tea or Leachate? E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 11 September 2005

by S. Zorba Frankel, from our issue #22

Quite often when we vermicompost, some amount of liquid drains to the bottom of our bins. If the bin has holes on the bottom, that liquid seeps out. Many people assume that this is “castings tea” and will collect it and use it on their plants. Some also add water occasionally to increase the amount of liquid that runs through the vermicomposting bin.Unfortunately, this liquid is not castings tea, but leachate. When a liquid seeps through a material containing decomposing organic matter, some of that organic matter is carried along in the water. When it leaves the system, carrying with it undecomposed organic matter, we call it leachate.  Now, water does not allow enough Oxygen to diffuse into it to support aerobic microorganisms, and so anaerobic micororganisms are encouraged. These anaerobes produce some undesirable byproducts that are not good for plants. Our nose warns us of the presence of anaerobes’ byproducts — anaerobic decomposition stinks!

Vermicompost, by its definition, contains some decomposing organics, some aerobically-decomposed organic matter, and vermicastings. The longer the worm bin remains aerobic and with a large population of redworms (or another composting species), the higher its content of worm castings will be. This is what we want our worm bins to produce. Castings tea is the liquid we create when we soak worm castings in water.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 02 October 2005 )
 
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