It's only been 3 months since we started our worm compost bin. Click for the 1st post<. The guidelines suggest re-bedding your worm bin after 6 months. We couldn't wait! Hahaha. It seemed that they were rapidly consuming the food we fed them and creating a lot of vermicast so we decided to "harvest". This photo collage to the left is in chronological order. The top is what the top layer of the bin looked like when we decided to harvest. We removed the newspaper layer to get to the decomposing food and worms. There are thousands of other insects and things that also live amonst the worms and help break down the food. (Btw, their "food" is our vegetable waste and coffee grinds.)
We made a pile for the large chunks of paper & food, a pile for medium chunks & a pile for finer vermicastings. After that, we sorted through to get as many of the chunks of things out to be re-bedded. At the same time, we are also separating our worms. This is so we can see how much our worm population has increased and so that we can put as many of the worms as possible back into the new bedding.
This is what our worm ball looked like when we started 3 months ago. It was a quarter pound of worms at that time.
This is our worm ball when we harvested & re-bedded couple weekends ago. We weighed them and they weighed a little over half a pound. This is great because they are estimated to multiply at an average rate of twice it's weight every 6 months under ideal conditions. This means our conditions must be a little better than ideal because they have more than doubled their weight and population in only 3 months! Whooo hooo! This is good news to me because a quarter pound of worms to start with cost $40! I'm glad my worms have more than doubled it's value. Too bad my money in the bank doesn't do that. :P
We have set aside our vermicastings in a different containter that I'm keeping watered. I'm trying to let any baby worms and sneaky worms that are hiding in it consume what ever food is left in it. I'll try to separate as many worms out of there in a few weeks and then be left with the compost to add to the plant soil.
We love doing this... I'm thinking of starting multiple worm bins at different stages so we can harvest and play with our worm friends more often. I know some of you must think it's gross. There is no smell and the worms are cool... literally. They have a therapeutic affect on you. It is relaxing to have the vermicast (worm doots) flowing through your fingers and squigly worms dancing around in your palm. It also reduces your waste and provides you with nourishing compost and "compost tea" for the plants around your house!