Can I Re-Use My Bag of Worm Castings When Making Tea Compost?

by Tricia
(Virginia)

I am new to making compost tea, but everything seems to be going well. I am using a 5 gallon bucket, an aquarium pump with 2 air stones, an old pantyhose leg with about 2 cups of worm compost, and a ounce of molasses.


How many times can I use a bag of worm compost when brewing tea?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Comments for Can I Re-Use My Bag of Worm Castings When Making Tea Compost?

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Nov 27, 2011
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Of Course...But...
by: Compost Junkie Dave

Of course you can but we tend to avoid it.

Although the compost will still contain many microbes, we feel it's best to start with a fresh batch of compost during each brewing cycle. Remember, the point of brewing compost tea is to extract the microbes from the compost material, so you may be compromising your future teas. If you want consistent returns on your energy investment, you may want to reconsider.

Any other tribe members have any advice?

CJD

Jun 06, 2012
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Dump the compost re-innocculate with the tea.
by: Eric

Hello Tricia, After 8-10 hours remove the compost bag from your tea and use it to top dress your favorite plant. By that time, the number of microbes in the tea will outweigh the microbes remaining in the bag by several orders of magnitude. Bacterial populations, for example, given the right conditions, can double in size every 10 minutes. Instead re-inoculate your next batch of tea using the bottom two inches of the last batch. But keep in mind that each successive batch of compost tea made in this way will be progressively more and more fungally dominated. Such teas are best used on larger better established perennials that prefer fungally dominated soils.

Eric in Denver

Jun 09, 2012
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And furthermore...
by: Eric in Denver

Now that I think a bit more on it, the reason that microbes grow more slowly in the bag of material compost has to do with their relative lack of oxygenation compared to the surrounding liquid tea. In these zones of lower Oxy, and in the surfaces of the compost particles as well as on the bag itself, "bad" bacteria await their chance to thrive and proliferate the moment our tea becomes anaerobic or the exhaustion of food sources causes the "good" bacteria to start dying off. It is actually pretty amazing how fast a batch of tea can "go bad" when the tipping point is reached and the microbe populations begin to turn over. So there is yet another reason, or just the same reason more fully explained, for removing the bag of compost from the brew after about 10 hours.

Eric, with obviously too much time on his hands, in Denver

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