Thursday, March 21, 2013

Organic Fertilizer using Worm Tea, Rabbit Manure Tea, and Chicken Manure Tea.

When it comes to organic sustainable gardening with the use of wood chips, it's important that you are feeding plants on a regular basis because wood chips will draw nutrients out of the soil during decomposition.  There are several ways to feed your plants and wood chips but I have found that the secret to fertilizing is use what you have or can get close by and keep it simple!

One of the least expensive and manageable sources of organic compost is vermiculture.  We raise red wigglers in Tupperware totes.  The maintenance required to care for them is to add produce scraps, add fresh newspaper or cardboard on top of scraps, drain the water so they don't drown, and keep them in the shade.  You can read more about vermiculture here.

What you are trying to get from worm composting is a maximum amount of microbes and in order to get microbes to grow you need sugar and oxygen.  To make my worm tea I use a 5 gallon bucket and add about a handful of worm casting (the dirt) to a burlap bag (you can use a sock, cheese cloth, pantie hose....).  Next I pour in approximately 2 tablespoons molasses and put a source of oxygen in the bucket.  In this photo I was using our bate bucket with bubbler.  Now I use an old fish tank pump so I don't waste batteries.  Next you want to fill the bucket with water that is not treated.  If you have chlorinated water let it sit for a day outside before adding casting.  Once everything is added you turn on the pump and let it sit for 48 hours.  If it's cool out put it in a sunny spot.  If it's really warm out place the bucket in the shade.  After 48 hours you can put it in a garden sprayer or pour it along the base of plants.  I like to spray with worm tea so the microbes cover the foliage.  The microbes will handle fungus problems and can deter bugs from munching on leaves. 

I also make compost tea out of rabbit manure and chicken manure.  My favorite source for fertilizer is rabbit manure.  It's so simple!  Rabbits usually use 1 or 2 spots in their cage to go to the bathroom making it easy to collect manure.  Rabbit manure also breaks down very quickly and is not too "hot" for plants, meaning it won't burn plants by adding it to soil without decomposing first.  I simply add the manure to a bucket of water, stir, then pour over plants.  I allow the tea to go on the foliage as well as the soil since it's a milder form of fertilizer.

My other source of fertilizer comes from the chickens.  Chicken manure that is not decomposed first can burn plants so I have found the best way to make chicken manure tea is to grab a handful of composted manure from the compost pile and place it in a bucket with water.  Next I add a handful of fresh manure directly from the coop.  I stir it until dissolved and pour a small amount to the base of plants.  This is a much stronger fertilizer so I don't recommend pouring directly on leaves and it's important not to over fertilize. A 1/2 cup full at the base of mature plants and an even smaller amount around newly sprouting plants has worked well for me. 

How do you fertilize your garden?  I would love to learn ways you have had success!  Pin It


  1. Thanks for the instructions/tips on making manure tea! I've heard this does wonders for the garden and we have chickens so we could easily make chicken manure tea.

  2. Thank you for the great article about youzr fertilizer made from Rabbit manure!

    I can only agree it sounds like a great product!

    I make my liquid fertilizer (worm tea)out of worm castings!

    Worm tea is an amazing product and if used fresh brings fantastic results.

    Try my free worm tea brewing recipe at home and try it out yourself!

    Worm Tea -
    Organic Fertilizer and Natural Pesticide

    More and more garden enthusiasts and farmers are learning about the outstanding benefits of this great organic plant food.

    All kinds of plants like… •Shrubs, •Trees, •Flowers, •Vegetables,
    •Seeds, •Seedlings and •Lawns

    will benefit from the application of this organic fertilizer to their soil.
    Worm tea is produced when worm castings are mixed with water and molasses and brewed for 24 hours.

    The molasses will serve as a food source for beneficial microorganisms that are part of worm castings.
    The brewing process multiplies the beneficial microorganisms of the worm casting tea rapidly.
    The finished product will achieve the best results if used within 24 hours after the end of the brewing process but will still be beneficial for several months.

    If you bottle it just shake it before using it to activate the remaining microorganisms.

    Liquidized worm castings have many positive properties for soil and plants.

    •They act as a natural fungicide and insecticide
    •can be used as an organic fertilizer
    •will never burn plants
    •and will improve soil structure and plant health.

    To brew earthworm tea you will need...
    - a bucket or tank,
    - an air pump with some piping,
    - an air stone usually used for fish tanks,
    - some worm castings and molasses
    -and water.

    It’s really easy to produce and the results will speak for themselves.

    How to brew the tea!

    This recipe is worked out for a 20 liter / 5.29 gallons

    1.Fill your bucket with water that is chlorine free. If you don’t have access to pond water add the air stone, switch on the air pump for 12 hours and let the chlorine evaporate

    2.Add 1kg / 2.2 pounds of pure worm castings

    3. Add 25 ml / 1 tablespoon of molasses

    4. Let the air pump run for 24 hours

    5. Remove the air stone

    You can use the product immediately.
    For more free information about worm tea and some helpful images about the worm tea brewing process follow the link.

    kind regards



Thank you for your comments! It so great to hear from you and it is what keeps me motivated to create.