Making Worm Tea – Delivering Essential Micro-nutrients

Adding essential micro-nutrients

Brewing up a batch of worm tea

Making worm tea from high quality earthworm casting can help your hydroponic plants get the essential micro-nutrients they need for success. You can buy worm tea from a number of on-line sites but if you have a worm bin, you can make your own. Tea can be used as a topical fertilizer or used to supplement the nutrient solution. I prefer to keep a sprayer full, and use as a foliage spray. Here’s how to make “tea” from worm castings. Save yourself from the challenges of trying to figure out which nutrients are missing in your hydroponic nutrient solution and make up a batch of this amazing, nutrient-rich worm tea.

INGREDIENTS AND ESSENTIALS
1 cups of well composted worm castings (well sifted)
1 tablespoons of VT maple syrup (or molasses)
Water which has been left to stand overnight or rain water (or collected rain water)
An aquarium pump and airstone
A watering can
A sock

Compost, vermiculture, worm bins

Well-sifted Earth Worm Castings


PROCEDURES
Put the worm castings in an sock or stocking hose and tie a knot
Fill the bucket with water. Either use rain water or let the water stand so it is chlorine free. You don’t want to kill the beneficial micro-organisms.
Add the syrup or molasses to the water to feed the micro-organisms
Place the sock in the bucket and allow to steep.
If you have one, use a bubbler like an aquarium pump and airstone. Place it in the the bucket and plug in the bubbler so the the water is aerated.
Let water and castings bubble for 18-24 hours.
Use within the next 2 days.
Steeping worm tea from earth worm castings

Worm tea made easy


ENSURE
Castings tea must be “brewed” (allowed to set or “steep”) as directed above to be most effective. By steeping the castings and aerating the mixture you encourage the growth of beneficial micro-organisms.
You should always use water that is chlorine free. Rain water is best but you can also let the water in the bucket stand overnight and the chlorine will dissipate.

CAUTION
Worm tea is not for human or animal ingestion — keep away from pets, as worm tea can be extremely poisonous to animals (and often smells appealing).

Improving Your Garden by Adding a Fountain

Henri Studio Overflowing Millstone Fountain -…

A Fountain can add both beauty and tranquility to your space. [Learn more about this fountain]

A great way to spice up your garden is to add a water feature. These can be both soothing and aesthetically appealing. I’ve found that there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on a bench next to my garden and listening to my fountain while I read a good book or do some studying. Putting in a water feature is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive, and will add immensely to the pleasantness of your garden. Also, the maintenance level is minimal.

Usually, people install fountains for the benefit of the natural ambience it provides. For some reason, being around a gorgeous scene of water gives you a positive energy. This is also good if you practice Tai Chi or some form of yoga or meditation. The constant drone of the water is exactly what most people need to concentrate on what they are doing. Even if you’re not into that kind of stuff, just being in a garden with a fountain has a sort of meditative quality to it, even if you’re not trying to do so. I recommend it to anyone.

When you first decide to put in a fountain, you need to put great care into picking out one that will go well with the rest of your garden. If you have any other decorations, you want to consider if it goes well with your motif. Does the fountain you’re considering stand out in your garden like a sore thumb, or does it look like it was meant to be there? If you’re like me, you can’t naturally tell whether the fountain will be a good addition to your garden just by looking at it. So my solution was to bring my sister (a natural at fashion design and that kind of stuff) along with a picture of my garden to the store. I was able to get her expert opinion, as well as see for myself what it would look like. By doing this I was able to pick a beautiful rock fountain that goes marvelously with
the rest of my garden.

However, I still had a slight problem with supplying my fountain with power. You see, my garden isn’t very close to my house. I thought it would look pretty tacky to run an extension cord across my yard, so I had to come up with another solution. I discussed my situation with a Home Depot employee, and he quickly found me the exact solution I needed: an extension cord meant for being buried! All it took was a few hours of digging a small trench across my yard, and I had power to my fountain without an unsightly cord running across my yard. After I got over this little hitch, my fountain plan went beautifully.

So if you’re looking for a way to make your garden a more classy and beautiful place to be, I hope you consider installing a fountain. The whole process is surprisingly inexpensive, and I think that you will be very happy with the results. Having a fountain in your garden is not only soothing, but it also adds a lot of character to an otherwise bland garden. Remember, gardens are not just for giving us vegetables! A garden is a place to go when you want to retreat from the outside world and dwell in your own thoughts with no disturbance.

Picking a Healthy Plant

When it comes to getting started with your garden, you have two choices; planting seeds, or buying entire plants. Both have their own benefits. If you plant seeds and care for them every day, you will find it is a much more rewarding experience when you have a full, healthy plant. However, this method is a lot more risky. I can’t tell you how many seeds I’ve planted and never seen any trace of whatsoever.

If you choose to buy the plant from a nursery and install it in your garden, it reduces a lot of the work involved in making it healthy. However, I have found in the past that many incompetent nursery workers will absolutely ruin the future of the plant by putting certain chemicals or fertilizers in. I have adapted to this incompetence by learning to choose the healthiest plant of the bunch. Here I will discuss some of the techniques I use in my screening process for plants.

It may sound superficial, but the one thing you need to check for on your prospective plants is how nice they look. As far as plants go, you can truly judge a book by its cover. If a plant has been treated healthily and has no diseases or pests, you can almost always tell by how nice it looks. If a plant has grown up in improper soil, or has harmful bugs living in it, you can tell from the holey leaves and wilted stems.

If you’re browsing the nursery shelves looking for your dream plant, you want to exclude anything that currently has flowers. Plants are less traumatized by the transplant if they do not currently have any flowers. It’s best to find ones that just consist of buds. However if all you have to choose from are flowering plants, then you should do the unthinkable and sever all of them. It will be worth it for the future health of the plant. I’ve found that transplanting a plant while it is blooming results in having a dead plant ninety percent of the time.

Always check the roots before you plop down the money to purchase the plant. Of course if the roots are in absolutely terrible condition you will be able to tell by looking at the rest of the plant. But if the roots are just slightly out of shape, then you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking at it. Inspect the roots very closely for any signs of brownness, rottenness, or softness. The roots should always be a firm, perfectly well formed infrastructure that holds all the soil together. One can easily tell if the roots are before or past their prime, depending on the root to soil ratio. If there are a ridiculous amount of roots with little soil, or a bunch of soil with few roots, you should not buy that plant.

If you find any abnormalities with the plant, whether it be the shape of the roots or any irregular features with the leaves, you should ask the nursery employees. While usually these things can be the sign of an unhealthy plant, occasionally there will be a logical explanation for it. Always give the nursery a chance before writing them off as horrendous. After all, they are (usually) professionals who have been dealing with plants for years.

So if you decide to take the easy route and get a plant from a nursery, you just have to remember that the health of the plants has been left up to someone you don’t know. Usually they do a good job, but you should always check for yourself. Also take every precaution you can to avoid transplant shock in the plant (when it has trouble adjusting to its new location, and therefore has health problems in the future). Usually the process goes smoothly, but you can never be too sure.