This weekend I harvested my worm bin for the first time.
Back in April, I got my first worm bin. It was gifted to me by a new friend who was moving to Nebraska from South Carolina and the moving company wouldn’t carry it. Click here to check out their first feeding.
These are the easiest critters to take care of. I keep them in the house in an unassuming gray storage tote. Once a week I dig a hole in the bedding of their bin, put in a pile of food scraps, and cover it back up. That’s it. They do the rest.
I purchased a moisture meter and a temperature gauge to be sure their environment was just the right amount of moist-but-not-too-moist and cool-but-not-too-cool. After a while I have come to be able to just tell by handling the bedding in their bin.
I also have a handy chart of what to feed them, but it turns out even that is not hard to remember after a while. There were a couple of foods that I was surprised are not on the acceptable food list – pineapple and cranberries. I don’t know what prompted me to look those up but, it turns out they are too acidic for worms.
So, for the last two months I’ve been mostly ignoring the worms. Until this weekend. This weekend it was time to harvest worm poop.
Harvesting a Worm Bin is Easy
The previous two or three feedings were done in one end of the worm bin. This was to get as many worms on one side as possible.
I started the sifting process with a piece of hardware cloth over my wagon. However, I found was it easier to just sift it through a colander. I’d fill the colander with worm bedding and shake, shake, shake it until the castings were in the wagon and only the un-composted bedding was left in the colander.
It was actually kind of rhythmic and soothing to shake that colander. It reminded me a bit like panning for gold. As you shake and swirl the “pan” the “gold” settles. See it there in the upper left? That’s what we’re looking for! The bedding was put back in the worm bin.
Occasionally, I’d come across a worm in the colander and even in the sifted castings. They, too, were returned to the worm bin.
The further down I dug, I began to get more humus and less bedding. This stuff was rich and luscious!
I only harvest about a third of the bin but ended up with a five-gallon bucket of plant superfood – all created by my lowly worms. I used it in my apple trees and in one of my planting containers that has not been very successful to grow things in.
When I was done, I added some peat moss to the worm bin for additional bedding, fed them (on the side I had just harvested), and put them back to bed. I’ll harvest the other side another day – after they have moved to the other end of the bin.
Want to know why worm castings are so good in the garden? Start with this article talking about some of the reasons to use worm poop in your garden.