- Automatically Makes 5 gallons of Compost Tea Everyday!
- What is compost tea?
Compost tea is an aerated nutrient-rich and microbial-rich liquid that has become an integral part of organic farming all over the world because it can replace pesticides, fertilizers, and microbial inoculants.
Benefits over traditional Worm Bins:
- Easy to use and no work!
The Worm Tap automatically makes 5 gallons of Compost Tea every day without any work/time on your part. ( Traditionally, making your own compost tea involves hours of work to sift worm castings and to set up a compost tea brewer…and that’s just for one batch!)
- Better Microbiology
The Worm Tap is a self-contained ecosystem that cultivates the highest levels of microbial biodiversity through an active hydration and aeration system. This ensures the tea is always healthy and ready for use when your garden needs it. (Most other methods involve the use of aged compost or worm castings + sugar which promotes the rapid growth of a small spectrum of microbial life, followed by a population crash…other compost teas turn rotten after about 12 hours.)
- Complete Nutrient solution for soil or hydroponic growing
Worm Tap’s microbial life ensures all nutrients are plant-available for soil or hydroponic systems. The Worm Tap dissolves and oxidizes nitrogen continuously so that the tea is rich in nitrogen and maintains the nutrient solution at an optimal pH of 7. (Other compost tea methods are deficient in nitrogen because they use aged compost or worm castings that have gassed off most of the nitrogen.)
- No Bad Smells
Worm Tap’s active aeration system ensures the compost stays in an aerobic state, which means no bad smells.
- Food Grade Stainless Steel Bins and Cedar Frame.
Since we’re growing food, we’re committed to using only the highest quality food grade materials.
What Can I put in the Worm Tap?
Yes: Fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, weeds, leaves,
No: raw meat, oils, fats, citrus
Some: Leftover food, lawn clippings(that don’t have dog feces)
A little: cooked meat, bread, pasta, rice, chips, pastry, dairy
- Is the compost too wet or are the worms drowning?
No, worms like moisture and can even live their entire life under water if the water is oxygenated and has food in it.
Can the Worm Tap be outside all year? What temperatures can the Worm Tap handle?Yes, but it depends on your climate. The Worm Tap can’t be exposed to temperatures below 32F or above 100F (110F if completely shaded). The Worm Tap will perform at it’s best between 70F-80F. The Worm Tap can digest 1/2 gallon food scraps per day when the daytime temperatures get above 70F, indefinitely without accumulation of compost. Below 70F the Worm Tap will digest less than 1/2 gallon/day…the colder it is, the lower the metabolism of the system. Below 45F the system will digest almost nothing, but stay in a sort of hibernation state until it gets warmer.
- Can the Worm Tap be inside?
Yes, Garages and basements work well! The Worm Tap will do better inside simply because the temperature is more regulated. However, you will get fruit flies and drain flies if the temperature inside is above 60F. Neither of these insects are harmful to you, nor the worms, nor the Worm Tap, but some people find them to be annoying. If the Worm Tap is outside, predators like birds and insects will control any fruit fly populations. Some folks in regions with freezing winters will move the Worm Tap outdoors for the months that don’t have risk of frost and move it in the garage for the freezing months. As long as the garage doesn’t drop below freezing it will be fine and most of the winter it will be below 60F in the garage so you won’t get fruit flies.
- Can I get worm castings from the Worm Tap?
Yes and No. You won’t get castings like when you buy them from a store– castings that are dry and granular. You can take out the worm compost if you want, but you don’t need to. The system isn’t designed to produce worm castings. The system was specifically designed so you never have to remove compost from the bins. All of the organic matter will be dissolved and suspended in the worm tea and therefore it never builds up in the Worm Tap.
- Does the system need to be connected to a constant water source?If you want the Worm Tap to refill itself and make 5 gallons of worm tea every 24 hours, Yes, it should be connected to a permanent pressurized water source. If there’s no way for you to connect to a water source, you can alternatively manually pour water in the system every time you take worm tea out of the system. Basically, if you were to take 3 gallons of worm tea from the Worm Tap, then you should immediately pour 3 gallons of water back in the system. When the system is connected to a water source, it will automatically refill itself after worm tea has been taken.
- What is involved in the setup?
- Place on platform, preferably 8″ above ground, cinder blocks work well.
- Screw in or out the leveling feet to make sure system is level in both directions
- Attach hose in back of Worm Tap to water source. Worm Tap hose has 3/4″ FGHT (female garden hose thread). There’s two common ways to set up water source:
- Connect to spigot with battery powered hose timer.
- Connect to irrigation system (which already has built in timer/valve/solenoid)
- If your water source has high chlorine or chloramines, it is best to add a carbon filter prior to entering the Worm Tap. If your water source is hard (high in carbonates), you may want to add a Reverse Osmosis system to your water source. See more under Water Filtration faq.
- Plug the Worm Tap into 110V, 120V, 220V, 240V or 18.5-19.5V solar panel. If you’re using a solar panel, double check that the output voltage is between 18.5V and 19.5V. Solar panel should only be used where it can get at least 10 hours of sunlight all year round.
- What maintenance is required for the system?
The Worm Tap was designed to be the easiest compost system in the world! No rotating bins or compost. No sifting worm castings. You should never have to empty the bins!
For the most part, the only thing you have to do is put your kitchen scraps in the bins and take worm tea out of tap. Please note that both of those things are important. Think of the worms like yourself—you have to be fed, you have to poop and pee, and you have to flush the toilet. Worms don’t like living in their own shit, which is why the Worm Tap is the best vermiculture system in the world! In all other vermiculture systems, people just keep adding food to the system, the worms eat it, then poop it, then they have to live in their own poop. Imagine if you went to a 5-star hotel where the best food was delivered to your room every day. It would be amazing. Then after a couple of the best meals of your life you realize that you’re locked in your hotel room and there’s no toilet, but they keep delivering you amazing food. Pretty soon your heaven will turn into hell, as the hotel room starts filling with your shit. That’s basically what happens in most vermiculture systems—worms are trapped in a small space where they keep getting food, but have to live in their own shit. It’s not good for the worms. In contrast, the Worm Tap automatically flushes all the bins with water twice per day, removing most of the worm waste. The worm waste is toxic to worms but beneficial to plants. So you should be taking worm tea out of the system as often as you are putting food scraps in the system. If you are gone on vacation for 2 weeks, the system will keep cycling, the worms will have less food so they will produce less waste, and all is well. However, you don’t want to feed the Worm Tap every day for 2 weeks, but forget to drain the worm tea. The toxins from the worm waste would accumulate and harm the worms. So proper maintenance involves using the worm tea at least as often as you are adding food scraps to the Worm Tap.
Other long term maintenance:
- The Worm Tap has a water pump and air pump. The lifespan on both of those parts is 3-6 years under normal conditions. At some point those can be easily replaced for about $20 each.
- The wood frame is made of cedar which is one of the best lumber for wet and dirty conditions. But yes, eventually it will decompose. Our oldest Worm Tap has been running for two years and is not yet showing signs of decay. Literature for outdoor cedar furniture estimates that cedar will last 5-15 years depending on the climate factors. Based on what we have witnessed so far, we estimate that the wood frame will last 5-10 years. Replacing the wood frame today would cost about $200, however we can’t promise what cedar lumber will cost in 10 years. Because the worm bins and worm tea reservoir are stainless steel and will last for 100+ years, when your wood frame degrades in 5-10 years, you will be able to replace just the frame and keep the bins.
- Do I need to filter my water source?
- If your water source has chlorine or chloramines, it is best to add a carbon filter prior to the water entering the Worm Tap. Chlorine and chloramines damage the microbiome in the Worm Tap, and reduce the digestion capacity. IF YOUR MUNICIPAL SOURCE USES CHLORAMINE, MAKE SURE YOU GET A CARBON FILTER SPECIFICALLY FOR CHLORAMINE. Chloramine is harder to remove than chlorine. Also note that chloramine filters need to the water to pass slowly through the filter (usually about 1L/min).
- If are using the Worm Tap for Vermiponics and your water source is hard (high in carbonates), you may want to add a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system to your water source for the sake of your plants (the worms will be fine). We have found that carbonate level of about 60ppm is ideal (whereas most of the Southwest US has greater than 100ppm). Carbonates are buffers and prevent the pH from getting low. Most edible plants prefer a pH between 6 and 6.5. When carbonates are above 100ppm, it’s very difficult to get the pH below 7. RO membranes are the only filters that will remove carbonates (carbon filter will not remove carbonates). If you have carbonate level of 120ppm, a RO system will usually lower it to about 5ppm, and reject water at a higher carbonate level anywhere from 150ppm-240ppm. You can then feed some of that rejected water back into the system to hit the target of 60ppm. At some point we will post a tutorial on how to do this.
- Have you submitted your tea for analysis with a Soil Food Web lab?
We did have the results analyzed for microbial diversity from the Soil Food Web lab about 4 years ago when we first started experimenting with Vermiponics. We had amazing results with our plants and we wanted to see what was so good about it. The results came back below what they consider acceptable and frankly we felt bad that there was something wrong with our Worm Tea. Talking to the tech she asked “do you have any problems with your plants?”. We said “no” she said “well, that’s what matters.” Now we run a 1/4 acre vertical farm that produces 1,000lbs of greens per month almost entirely from our Worm Tea. We produce 100 gallons of worm tea per day on the farm. Our produce is some of the best you will see anywhere in the world, we fetch the highest market value, and our nutrient density is always 2-10x higher than what Whole Foods sells for organic produce. While I believe there’s validity in the Soil Food Web’s theory and practice, it clearly doesn’t account for everything, and possibly is just not applicable for hydroponics.
- Shipping is too expensive…Do you sell plans for me to build the Worm Tap?
- We will be making plans available in 2023. It’s a big undertaking, while the concept of the Worm Tap is relatively simple, the precision needed for the woodworking to achieve proper fluid mechanics is difficult. We don’t recommend trying to build one, our builders have about 200 hours of detailed training to build a Worm Tap. We recommend waiting till the plans come out to build a Worm Tap. If you are eager to make a “good enough” worm tea producer, you can stack a three 5 gallon buckets in each other, with 1/2″ holes drilled in the bottom of each bucket, on top of another bucket that collects the tea. Put a tap (for draining) and an airstone in the bottom bucket. Manually pour 1 gallon of water in the top bucket every day. Take 1 gallon of tea out the bottom bucket every day. Rotate the bottom bucket to the top when the top bucket gets too full.
- Any additional questions, please contact email@example.com