Worm leachate is a liquid produced naturally in the worm composting process. Worm compost has an extremely high level of microscopic activity within it and it contains a large amount of microscopic bacteria breaking down your waste within the compost bin. The level of microbes and microbial activity within the worm bin is extremely high, far exceeding the levels found in normal soil, by 10 to 20 times. When liquid is passed through the worm bin, it mixes with the microbes and the resultant by product liquid is called leachate. Leachate is more commonly known as Worm Tea or Compost Tea, all referring to the same by-product of a liquid collected at the bottom of the worm bin.
Leachate is commonly collected 1-2 months after setting up your compost bin. While you may experience some liquid collection in the first few weeks, it is advisable to pour it back into the compost bin. After all, reintroducing additional microbes into the bin does no harm and all good! However, after the worm bin has ‘stabilized’ and the worms are doing their job with much efficiency, you can start collecting the Worm Tea which can be put to many uses.
Worm Tea as mentioned, contains a very high concentration of microbial activity. This is usually in excess of what plants require. To get the most out of this precious worm leachate, consider diluting it with tap water. The Compost Tea can be used as a fertilizer by applying it directly to the soil, or it can be used as a pesticide by spraying it on the plants leaves. This will prevent insects and other unwanted garden pests from infecting your plants with diseases and eating its leaves.
Usually, self-made home compost bins are unable to collect such worm leachate as there isn’t a specialized way to harvest this useful garden liquid fertilizer. However, you can still attempt to do so by drilling holes at the bottom of your home-made worm bin. Put a tray beneath it and the dark brown liquid that you will find there is Worm Tea! For a more fuss-free way of collecting worm leachate though, use a specialized worm composting bin like the Can-O-Worms of the VermiHut. Each of these systems has a liquid storage compartment and a tap attached to it. To collect the Compost Tea, simply turn the tap and you can start using it on your plants instantly.