Here is a good question from Chris:
I have a rubbermaid composting bin, it is working great, I
have about 2000 worms. I blend my veggies and food up so its a mush, I
then put this mush in the bin. the problem I am having is, the tea
that is draining is not dark and rich, its light brown but not dark
brown like I would think it would be. I am thinking this is not really
tea its runoff from the veggies right? This bin is about 2 months old.
Is this light colored stuff ok to use as tea still?
In a nutshell – your suspicions are correct. This is NOT actual worm tea. It is more accurately referred to as “leachate” – basically just water that has passed down through an active worm bin, picking up various compounds on the way. Real worm tea is made by soaking finished worm castings in water – preferably being aerated at the same time. Those who are really serious about their ‘tea’ often even add other special ingredients to ‘feed’ certain types of beneficial microbes or to improve the final product in some other way.
You CAN use the leachate in the same manner as a compost tea, but it won’t be as reliable/predictable since there are plenty of intermediate (unstable) metabolites from the decomposition process and potentially even some phytotoxic (harmful for plants) compounds that might be in there. I would dilute it and if possible, aerate it with an aquarium air stone before using it.
Hope this helps!