Tea Time in Wormville
- Describe the process for making compost tea
- Describe the benefits of using compost tea
Compost tea, though not the thirst quenching sweetened kind, is exactly what thirsty gardens crave. It is a supercharged solution of nutrients and microbes that represent the best of what worm compost has to offer. Once brewed, compost tea can be applied as a foliar spray to help prevent disease or as a soil drench to feed the plants when they need it most. Tea is more quickly absorbed by the leaves when sprayed or by the roots after a drench than it would be if simply applied as compost.
Compost tea is also used to inoculate soil with beneficial bacteria and fungi that help to kickstart the soil in Spring gardens. The process of making tea affords certain bacteria the perfect environment for blooming, a rapid increase in the size of the colony. This increased microbial activity is perfect for the soil and the plants which is what makes compost teas made from worm castings so valuable.
Tools & Materials
- Aerator pump
- Aqua air stones
- Burlap or cheesecloth
- Foliar spray
- Soil drench
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by reviewing the benefits of compost tea and describing the process for applying it to the raised planters. Review the steps to make compost tea.
Activity (20 minutes)
Harvest worm castings and use them to brew a batch of compost tea. Have the Students set up the aeration system and initiate the brewing process.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What is happening in the brewing process? Why does the bacteria bloom? What does the introduction of air do?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you think tea made from worm compost sounds like a good thing?
- Now that you know just how beneficial compost tea is for the soil, how many of you think you could brew a batch on your own?
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