The Department of Public Worms is now offering worm tea to the local gardening community! Our tea invigorates your plants by providing high amounts of nutrients and organic content to your soil. The difference is noticeable immediately! Best of all, our worm tea is made onsite at UCSB with locally collected food scraps from our campus that would otherwise be sent to the landfill. If you would like to donate, your donations support our student-run organization by funding workshops, outreach events, and other programs to better educate our campus and community about the importance of composting!
Worm Tea – What is it? It’s not for drinking!
Worm tea is a natural, non-synthetic liquid soil amendment (also known as a fertilizer) made by steeping worm castings in oxygenated water. Oxygenating worm tea helps grow beneficial microbes that enrich soil. Because worm tea contains living microbes we recommend storing it in the refrigerator, where it can last up to seven days before the microbe populations begin to decline. Worm tea also contains water-soluble nutrients such as nitrates, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and calcium in addition to many nitrogen fixing microbes.
Worm Tea is NOT for human consumption!
To Purchase Worm Tea
- Firstly, we want to thank you for your interest in Worm Tea! We are excited for both you and your plants!
- Let us know you are interested by emailing us at: email@example.com at least a week before the day you want to pick up your liquid gold. In your email please list your name, a contact phone and/or email, and when you need to pick up the tea by. Also, please read the following “Helpful Hints” section before you order to get filed in on the procedure.
- We will start brewing your tea and soon after you will have your fresh batch of Worm Tea!
- Worm Tea take about 48 hours to brew. If you need your Worm Tea by a certain date, it is best to email us at least a week before so we can schedule the brewing, and make sure it is ready by the date and time you would like to pick it up.
- Worm Tea is alive! The living bacteria in the tea is what gives it fertilizing power. We keep them live in our brewing process by giving them oxygen through aquarium pumps, but as soon as the leave the big batch the nutritional content will start falling. It is best to use worm tea within a week of getting it, and by keeping it in the fridge.
- Keep the tea out of reach of pets and kiddos! It is meant for plants and plants only!
*Contact us with questions regarding purchases, pick up times, or location by calling or emailing us at (805) 893-7765 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please return your jugs when empty to help us conserve our resources!
How to Use
Worm tea is a concentrated soil amendment – while it does not contain synthetic ingredients, it could still cause nutrient burn on plants if it is not properly diluted.
Use as a 1:3 dilution of worm tea to water. Suggested use is 1 gallon worm tea to 3 gallons of water, or 1 quart worm tea to 3 quarts of water. Gardeners may want to use a lighter fertilizer by adding more water for a less-concentrated nutrient solution. After dilution, water plants at the base of stem, applying fertilizer directly to the soil where microbes will work the soil and plants will absorb nutrients with the water.
Worm tea is not suggested for use on seedlings at 1:3 dilution, as it may cause nutrient burn. Typically the nutrients should not be applied until seedlings have been hardened off, transplanted, and after the first set of true leaves develops. Wait until seedling have been growing for 2-4 weeks, or fertilize at 1:12 to 1:6 dilution every 7 to 10 days. Seedlings can be watered at the base of the stem, or by watering on a tray for the seedlings to absorb as needed through the bottom of their starter pots.
Not advised for use if mold or film develops on top of the liquid, or if the liquid becomes overly cloudy. While uncommon, these are signs of rot and the worm tea should be disposed. Worm Tea doesn’t technically expire, but it is best to use it while it’s fresh for the most microbes and the highest quality nutrients.
Worm Tea is NOT for human consumption!
Does DPW Sell Worm Castings?
We are currently not selling worm castings as we simply cannot produce enough to meet demand for both castings and tea. Our tea is more popular and a much more versatile product with a faster effect, so check it out!
Does DPW Sell Red Wriggler Worms?
Unfortunately we do not sell worms because previous worm sales led to a population crash in our worm bins. In order to continue to compost at UCSB and to continue to provide worm tea, we are unable to distribute worms.
Some good worm sources:
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm – We originally bought our worms here!
Goleta Island Seed & Feed – Our favorite local garden supply shop.
La Sumida Nursery – One of the largest nurseries in our area.
Local Bait Shops – see what’s close to you!