Harvesting Worm Bins

Saturday I spent about 7 hours harvesting my worm bins. I tried out the new harvester-screener that Sean and I had built. Here are my thoughts about the screener:

  • Castings need to be fairly dry for this to work well. I found I could achieve a good level of dryness by leaving the bins out in the sun for a little while before screening them.
  • The outside dimension of the screener was good because it fit nicely over the Rubbermaid collection tub.
  • I would like a smaller screening area. The wide screening area provided just too much room and seemed to make a larger mess.
  • I would like higher sides – again, I found myself making a mess because worm dirt kept bouncing over the sides when I shook the screener.

Sean found that the screener worked pretty well, but I think part of the reason is that he doesn’t give the worms as much “challenging” food as I do. I had plenty of undigested paperboard, squash seeds, and the woody parts of vegetables.

The other part of this story is that I decided, once I got started, that the best way to tackle my fruit fly infestation would be to start my bins over. So, I needed to separate my worms from everything, not just the castings.

I wound up with about two pounds of recovered worms from all my bins plus one pound of worms for Jenny. That doesn’t count all the worms that didn’t get separated. I have an 18 gallon Rubbermaid that is about 1/3 full of beautiful, rich castings, and another 18 gallon Rubbermaid that is about half full of partially composted food and who knows how many worms. Lastly, I have a small kitchen garbage bag about half full of partially composted food, lots of shredded paper, and more unharvested worms. I am hoping that Jenny can take this bag because I think she has a compost pile. Otherwise, it goes in the trash.

Once I harvested everything, I used the hose to pressure wash all of the parts of the bins very well. I started two new bins with lots of newly shredded, fluffy paper and half of the worms in each bin. I started both my Worm Factory bin and the OSCR Jr style bin.

  1. <![CDATA[Stew]]>’s avatar

    Poor little butt bones!

    The worms are in their new home bin, with fresh newspaper and some water I misted on to them. They are in the crawl space for now, which is totally dark and should be cool as well.

    I composted the kitchen bag plus the smelly canteloupe, so we’re good on that part of things.

    THANKS JENIQ!!!!!!

    Wooorms…

  2. <![CDATA[Sean]]>’s avatar

    Regarding the sides not being high enough… you could pick up two more $1.15 fence rails and screw them to the existing ones. That should give you 4 inches of casting sifting goodness šŸ˜‰

    I too found that some of the castings jumped outta the sifter but it wasn’t enough to alarm me. Maybe next time I harvest, I’ll survey a bit more and see if higher sides would suit me better as well

  3. <![CDATA[Jeni Q]]>’s avatar

    It should be stated that I can make a mess out of anything, so I’m not surprised if your experience was different from mine. I’m a messy girl!

  4. Jerald Walker’s avatar

    “Iā€™m a messy girl”perhaps but you get right in there and get things done.

  5. Audrey Warren’s avatar

    Jenq, I love your blog, thanks for showing it to the world. You harvest a lot like I do, except that I dont have a screen. Sometimes I can get 6 0r 7 pounds a day wiped out. I have most of my worms under my rabbit cages,
    and I sell them as a means of supplementing my S.S.income.
    The butt bones comment really rang my bell, I knew exactly how you were feeling ! Hope everything goes well for you, Audrey