My summer garden looks amazing! Everything is lush and thriving, in spite of challenging conditions common to the hot humid south.
While I’ve come to expect that, experience has taught me to roll with the punches quite well. Yet I still know it’s not always in my control. But I do feel like some strategic steps I’m taking are packing a powerful force in my favor—especially this latest habit.
For the past several months, I’ve been feeding my plants a liquid diet of “worm leachate”. That’s the fancy word for the liquid that flows through a bin full of worms as they happily devour food scraps, paper, cardboard, coffee grounds, etc.
Since spring, I’ve been collecting this liquid worm juice in pans placed in the bottom compartment of my bin. I specifically designed it to capture every drop of this liquid gold. From past experience, this is a magic elixir that offers incredible results for my plants and soil.
I first discovered its astonishing healing properties many years ago when I started my first worm bin. The liquid had accumulated in the bottom compartment, which included a spigot. That was my first clue to consider tapping into it.
That, and the super rich, coffee-colored liquid looked too good to waste. In fact, it looked so rich, I diluted it with 10 parts water and it still looked just as potent. If compost tea was good, this had to be great I thought.
I gave it a try on some ailing potted azaleas by pouring it around the roots. Much to my surprise the very next day my sickly plants showed significant signs of improvement.
That was the moment that I became a super fan of this amazing, organic liquid fertilizer.
Now that I’m back to raising worms for vermicompost (worm manure) and especially the juice, there’s no turning back. I feed my plants about every two weeks with a 10-1 or even 20-1 dilution of the leachate. That’s it. While I always focus on building healthy soil by adding compost twice a year, since spring this is the only other thing I’m doing.
I could not be happier with the results. Even with hot, humid days and extended periods of rain (a tomato plant’s worst enemy) I must say, I’m staying ahead of the disease curve.
Full disclosure, I do spend time almost daily, proactively inspecting my plants and removing any signs of developing problems. But equally important is that my plants are getting what they need from great soil combined with the worm juice to stay healthy and stave off potential disease disasters.
That alone is making a huge difference.
The geek in me had this liquid gold analyzed by the University of Georgia. I wanted to see just what was in it that made it perform so well. While the results showed the presence of all the important nutrients and a healthy dose of minerals (something you don’t get in synthetic liquid fertilizer), I believe the real secret lies in the natural design of the perfect liquid organic fertilizer, replete with everything (including billions of good micro-organisms) that plants and soil need to come to life.
My fellow garden geek and horticulture professor Jeff Gillman, Ph.D, also sent me his take on using liquid worm leachate in the garden. As expected, his summation is certainly more academic than mine, but favorable nonetheless. It’s always nice to have neutral take.
But what I can offer that you can’t get from a lab is this—the proof is in the results, and that I can say without hesitation, is nothing short of amazing!