How to Harvest Worm Castings From A Worm Bin

Building a worm bin and feeding the worms is easy. It's a little more challenging to get the "black gold" -- the worm castings -- out of your worm bin without removing the worms, too. With a little planning and time, you can harvest the nutrient-rich castings (worm manure) virtually worm-free.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Large bucket of water

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Mix a new load of worm bedding to add to your bin. Tear your newspaper into strips about an inch wide. Place the strips in a bucket of water to get them wet.

Pull the mixture out one handful at a time and squeeze out the excess water. You want the worms to be moist, not wet.

Push all of the contents of the worm bin to one end. Be gentle -- you don't want to smash your worms. The bedding, worms, and the worm castings should all fit into about half the bin, because the worms have broken down much of bedding into fine castings.

Add your new 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 worm castings you want to harvest.

Let the bin sit for for several days, allowing the worms to move over to the freshly filled side of the bin. Scoop out the composted worm castings from the other side and put them into another container. If there are any worms in the compost, simply pull them out and put them back into the bedding.

Mix up another batch of worm bedding and refill the empty portion of the bin.

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.


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