Can leachate make you sick?

by Mrs Gacia

Hi guys,

I have a three tray system in Perth, Western Australia.

It's summer here, and my soil is moldy and seems to be overloaded with vegetables.

I thought all run off from the system was good for my garden, and have been watering my pot plants with leachate weekly.

In retrospect now they have not been doing so well. Last week I harvested cucumbers from my kitchen garden and ate them in a salad.

I had watered them with leachate throughout their growth cycle of about 3-4 weeks.

That night I was very vomity! Trawling websites on worm farming I am starting to suspect it was the leachate responsible.

Am I right??

Mrs Gacia

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Feb 03, 2013
Can Worm Leachate Make You Sick?
by: Pauly

Hello Mrs Gacia,

So sorry you're not feeling well and I will try to help you understand using the worm leachate vs the worm tea.

First of all, I haven't heard of any one getting sick from using the worm leachate on their plants but doesn't mean they can't.

I must say that you startled me at first when I read your title. I thought that you may have drank the leachate. My eyes opened very wide and I experienced a little gut-wrenching knot in my stomach. Whew! Close one.

Anyway! I sometimes feel like a broken record concerning the "worm leachate" and "worm tea".

This is probably the most misunderstood concept of all of worm farming.

I have argued that the worm leachate contains a lot of bad bacteria and quite possibly some harmful pathogens which is why your plants could be succumbing to disease.

No one can really be sure what is in this mysterious liquid without putting it under the scope and being able to identify the harmful microbes from the good microbes.

Here is a link to my leachate vs worm tea page:

Now here is a link to one of my newsletters talking about those who insist on using the worm leachate. Have respect for the mysterious liquid and use it responsibly:

Now about you feeling vomity and your sick plants. I can't really say if the sick plants will make you sick. I've never felt sick (to my knowledge) by eating a plant that looked sickly.

I do believe it is possible. Here is an article from Iowa State University (sorry if you may have already read it) titled "Can Sick Plants Make People Sick?".

I would just suggest (when you get to feeling better) to make you 2 cups of tea and call me in the morning. HA! HA! :)

Making "worm tea" really goes hand-in-hand with producing worm castings. SOOOOO much more beneficial than than worm leachate and NO "Guess Work" either.

Get to feeling better Mrs Gacia,

P.S. It's possible to nurse your plants back to health by incorporating the "worm tea" as long as they aren't too far gone.

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