Worm Liquid - Leachate

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Worm Liquid - Leachate

Post by andyww » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:24 am


Having read the book 'Composting with Worms' there seems to be some contradictory advice over what to do with Leachate.

The Wormcity FAQ states:

"Your wormery has a sump to collect any liquid residue. (Leachate)
As the liquid passes through the bin it becomes charged with nutrients and therefore makes an excellent plant feed.
It can take many months to get any liquid, as it is all dependent on what is placed in the wormery. Obviously, vegetables will produce more water than bread. And if you use lots of paper, this will mop up any residues as well.
Dilute any liquid with 10 parts water and use it to feed your plants for free!"

Whereas the book states this:

"Leachate can be a toxic soup for worms, beneficial organisms and plants, pathogenic microbes and phototoxic compounds may well be present."

Goes on to say

"there are some who recommend its use as plant food. I could not recommend this, and people that do are ill advised."

So, whose advice should I take?

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Re: Worm Liquid - Leachate

Post by WillyWorm » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:48 pm

Hi you are right there is a lot of contradictory information regarding leachate and there use.
There is a thread on this site “leachate friend or foe” you may want to look that. I fall in to the camp of the “jury is out”. I’m not sure is it is harmful or not, after all many people make liquid feeds (e.g nettle and comfy tea)using a wet anaerobic process, leachate is similar in that it it is vegative matter which is fermented in water.
My big issue with leachate is that the is a finite amount of goodness in the scraps and bedding we put into our bins if we encourage liquid to leachate this goodness out we dilute the goodness in our castings. I try to avoid leachate by the way I manage my bins and never adding any water to the bedding.

Sorry I don’t have a definitive answer for you on this one. I have never heard of andbody or any plants be harmed because of the use of leaches but like I say I try to avoid them.


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Re: Worm Liquid - Leachate

Post by wormcity » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:08 pm

Yes, I agree it is confusing!

I think the problems come primarily when the liquid is in an airtight compartment, then the anaerobic bacteria can flourish.

We have been selling wormeries now for over 12 years and in all that time, I have never had a single customer, report that there has been a detrimental effect to their plants.
The feedback has always been the other way, that as long as it has been diluted - then the plants love it

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Re: Worm Liquid - Leachate

Post by klompie » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:11 am

Bit of a late reply but thought I'd add my experience for what it's worth.
I did a bit of experimenting last summer and fed a couple of plants on diluted leachate, one in ten as mentioned and slowly increased the amount till it was all leachate. I have seen no negative effects at all but the test plants all did well! I tried it on both garden. plants as well as a houseplant.

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