Building a worm bin is easy, feeding worms is easy, but how do you get the black gold that is worm castings out of your worm bin - without removing the worms too. Follow these simple steps to harvest your worm castings.
Things You'll Need
- Dirt/potting soil/compost
- A large bucket
- Willingness to get your hands dirty
Begin by mixing a new load of worm bedding to add to your bin. This is a simple process. Tear your newspaper into 1" wide strips. Don't get too OCD with it, the worms don't care how wide or even these strips are. Place the strips in a bucket of water and add dirt/soil. Stir the mixture well to get the grit evenly dispersed throughout the bedding. Pull the mixture out one handful at a time and squeeze ALL the excess water out - you want the worms moist - not wet. They breath through their skin and can be drowned.
Push all of the contents of the bin to one end. Be gentle - you don't want to smash your worms. The bedding, worms, and worm castings should fit into about half the box when you are ready to harvest - as the worms have broken down much of bedding into fine castings.
Now simply add your newly mixed batch of worm bedding to the empty half of the bin. Place a larger supply of food than normal at the far end of the bin - away from the vermicompost that is to be harvested. Be sure it is moist and well ventilated, and properly mixed. The grit in the bedding should be well dispersed - worms need this grit to digest their food.
Let the fin sit for a 2-3 days after adding the new bedding. Mix up another batch of worm bedding (See Step 1 above) to replace the harvested material once it has been removed. Now simply remove the majority of the worm castings from the bin and replace it with this newest batch of bedding.
You now have at your disposal one of nature's finest organic soil amendments. Worm castings can sell for high dollar value at specialty garden stores - or add them to your vegetable or flower garden for an especially healthy crop.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't feed your worms for a few days before you are ready to harvest. You don't want this unprocessed food mixed in your castings harvest - and the worms will move more quickly into the new bedding in search of food.
- It is a good idea to sift through the harvested castings for stragglers. Some worms may not have made the journey to the new food supply. These can simply be picked out and thrown back into the bin.
- For simple directions to make an indoor worm bin see my eHow article "How To Vermicompost In Your Kitchen"
- Don't let your worms get too hot or cold. Keeping a bin indoors can make the whole process easier.
- Photo Credit All images from images.google.com