Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Worm Wrangling

According to my meticulous(?) records i have no idea when i started my first 2 worm bins. However a search through my previous posts revealed that i started them on April 19th which was 32 days ago. Wow, those worms were hungry! I predicted that it would take 60-90 days for them to finish off the materials in the bin. Some digging in the bin at the end of last week revealed that it is time to harvest them and start some new bins. The method i used the last time i harvested a bin was to shovel the material onto a table, let the worms crawl to the bottom to escape the light (they hate light. Can worms hate? I hope not!), scrape off the top inch or 2 of castings and repeat over and over until most of the castings have been separated from the worms. 
It took hours to do each bin!
Will Allen at Growing Power in Milwaukee showed us a much simpler method which i employed this time. Since the worms have consumed almost all of the food in the bin they are looking (hoping? Can worms hope?) for something else to eat. So the idea is to put some food on top that the worms will crawl up into to begin eating. Here is the amazing part!
One puts a window screen on top of the bin and then places the fresh food on top of the screen and, believe it or not , the worms will squeeze up through the teeny tiny little holes in the screen to get to the fresh food. 
After as couple of days one can then dump the worms into a new bin and start the process over again. When i removed the screen there were lots of hungry worms waiting in line ( well not really in a line) for their turns to squeeze through the screen and get to the food so i replaced the screen and covered it with some more food. We'll wait and see how many times it takes to get all of the worms out of the old bin and into new bins.
I can only imagine how hungry they must be after having all the contents of their guts squeezed out as they squirm through that teeny tiny little hole. More poop for me!


Moonbear said...

Thank you for the encouragement on wormyculture. I have yet to begin. There is so much to learn about growing food.

Jonathan said...

awesome. I was wondering about that after Erin and I started a bucket, we don't have nearly as many worms so we might be a ways off from wrangling