Worm Tea Research Links

Scientists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Ohio and Oregon examined how plant compounds, incorporated into earthworm tea affect plant growth and development and suppress disease in plants. Lots of folks fancy a cup of tea when they need a pick-me-up – orange pekoe, Darjeeling, etc. Not surprisingly, a spot of tea can help plants feel better, too.  But not just any tea; if you want to share a pot with your plants, you’ll need to brew up some earthworm tea. (more…) – USDA


The production and use of aqueous extracts of thermophilic composts and vermicomposts, commonly termed ‘teas’, has expanded rapidly in the last 2-3 years, particularly since there is now a range of commercial ‘tea brewing’ equipment available that can produce large or small quantities of ‘teas’.  Unfortunately, there are relatively few published scientific studies which have reviewed the methods of production and uses of compost or vermicompost ‘teas’, optimal dilutions or application rates. (more…) – Ohio State University


Case Studies:

How can earthworms be beneficial to us as turf managers? We know of the natural aerification that takes place from earthworm activity in the soil, ultimately opening up pore space for root growth and improving water and oxygen movement, but is there any other way that we can benefit from these slimy creatures? It turns out that through a process called vermicomposting we can potentially reap countless advantages in making turfgrass more stress tolerant while improving soil structure while reducing dependence on chemical and pesticide use. (more…)


We know of the natural aerification that takes place from earthworm activity in the soil, ultimately opening up pore space for root growth and improving water and oxygen movement, but is there any other way that we can benefit from these slimy creatures? It turns out that through a process called vermicomposting we can potentially reap countless advantages in making turfgrass more stress tolerant while improving soil structure while reducing dependence on chemical and pesticide use…(more…)Ohio State University


The effects of vermicomposts on plant parasitic, fungivorous and baterivorous nematode populations were investigated in grape (Vitis vinifera) and strawberry (Fragaria ananasa) field crops. Commercially-produced vermicomposts derived from recycled paper, and supermarket food waste were applied to replicated plots at the rates of 2.5 t ha–1 or 5.0 t ha–1 for the grape crop and 5.0 t ha–1 or10 t ha–1 for the strawberry crops. All vermicompost treatments were supplemented… (more…)Ohio State University


Another Success Story – 3 year casting program that demonstrates an overall lower cost of course operation, improved turf quality with closer cut greens and a healthier look – on 50% less water. Worm castings have been used as a fertilizer for many years. In 1986 the public began looking for an alternative to chemical and synthetic fertilizers. It was not long before most organic growers had used the worm castings and began talking about them to garden clubs. Gardeners and friends. In 1991 Larry Martin, of Vermitechnology Unlimited of Florida started documenting research on worm castings… (more…)


Humic acids were extracted from cattle, food and paper-waste vermicomposts using an alkali/acid fractionation procedure which produced 1 g dry wt humates from 400 g vermicompost.They were applied to a soilless growth medium, Metro-Mix 360 (MM360), at rates of 0, 250 or 500 mg humates kg–1 dry wt of container medium, to young marigold, pepper, and strawberry plants grown in pots in the… (more…)Ohio State University


North Carolina State University researchers have dug deeper into the mechanisms behind insect resistance of plants grown in soil amended with vermicompost, and the preliminary results suggest this may provide an ecological friendly means of managing pests in vegetable crops.
Yasmin Cardoza, an entomologist and soil arthropod ecologist, along with graduate student Amos Little, found that different insect species responded differently to host plant resistance of brassica crops. They also determined that it takes as little as a 20 percent concentration of vermicompost mix in the soil to boost the resistance of host plants against caterpillar and aphid pests. (more…)NC State University


USDA Study – Soil Quality Improvement using Worm Castings.

Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important conservation endeavors of our time.  The resources on this soil health section of our site are designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health—and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems. (more…)USDA


Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. This definition speaks to the importance of managing soils so they are sustainable for future generations. To do this, we need to remember that soil contains living organisms that when provided the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, and water – perform functions required to produce food and fiber. (more…)USDA


Most people involved in gardening and commercial agriculture have a generally positive feeling about worm castings. Over 100 years ago, Charles Darwin was the first person to carefully observe the action of the earthworms and the benefit of the castings they produced. Several universities have researched the benefits of worm castings, but specific knowledge by the general public and even trained agriculture scientists is still very limited. (more…)


Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert them to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients. Earthworms will consume most organic materials, including food preparation residuals and leftovers, scrap paper, animal manure, agricultural crop residues, organic byproducts from industries, and yard trimmings. This website provides cooperative extension agents, interested stakeholders and the general public with information and resources to vermicompost organic materials generated by farms, institutions, businesses and households. (more…)North Carolina State University