Winter Harvesting

ughman(NW Washington)January 4, 2013

I have my worms in a large old rubbermaid compost bin.
I live in NW Washington and have left the worms in an outbuilding without incident. Is it okay in the winter to revamp the worms and attempt to seperate them and start a new bin or should I wait for warmer weather. By Revamping, I would start a new bed while harvesting as many castings as possible.This would include transferring the worms to a new bed.

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Shaul(Israel)

Hi;

Welcome to the Forum. In order to try and help you we need some more information. What type of worms are you raising?
What are your Winter temperatures and is the outbuilding heated? Also, does the outbuilding have electricity?

Shaul

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 1:27AM
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equinoxequinox

Let me know if my imagination is wrong.

If If hear you right, you have been successfully raising vermicomposting worms in an unheated shed in the climate of NW Washington state on a few kitchen scraps now and then. The topic now has new interest for you and you wish to do your first harvest and also at the same time divide your cache of worms into two.

Since it is the depth of winter and any vermicompost harvesting needs may be a few months away yet I suggest you put to work the whole vermicompost bacterial and wee beastie system for your needs. Divide the bin in half. Make two identical bins. Add on top of dry new bedding the half of the old bin and new food.

The reason not to harvest right away is renewed interest in your bins will encourage increased feeding. You want all of the wee beasties working for you during this time. In a month or so, then go through the bin and sift out the vermicompost. Let this sit for a month to harvest out any $$$ bin refreshing babies.

Others may have way good ideas too. With a few bins you can test them all out.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:32AM
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ughman(NW Washington)

Thank You for your replies
My bin right now is about 9 cubic feet. This is the third year and they have been doing well. My biggest issue has been in harvesting due to the fact that the castings are quite moist. My outbuilding is unheated, but I do surround it with hay for insulation. I like the idea of making two bins now. That would allow me to add more dry bedding in hopes of reducing the moisture content.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 12:33PM
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equinoxequinox

"My biggest issue has been in harvesting due to the fact that the castings are quite moist. ... I like the idea of making two bins now. That would allow me to add more dry bedding in hopes of reducing the moisture content."

Quite moist castings are difficult to harvest and still get the worms out of. Also if it dries it tends to cement. Now that we know the specific issue posters will have a better chance to get you good answers. I am not quite sure how adding dry bedding will reduce the moisture content of the bedding at harvest... because you are going to want this bedding to not still be bedding but vermicompost at harvest. Or maybe I am confused here.

A few ways vermicomposters harvest dryer compost is one by putting the vermicompost to be harvested at the top of the bin contained in a worm system tray with the cover off, or a plastic bag with holes in it for the worms to self harvest down, or perhaps a gallon at a time on cardboard with the dry material harvested as the vermicompost dries. The last bit of vermicompost is full of worms and put back into the bed. The idea in all of these and other methods is the top drys. The worms find moisture towards the bottom. The top is free of worms and harvested. Another method to dry a wet bin is to slide cardboard down the side edges of the bin.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 2:19AM
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gerris2

You can put some yummy worm food on the surface of one side of the bin. Something like watermelon rinds if you can find whole watermelon in the store this time of year. The worms will move to that side of the bin leaving the other side relatively worm free, thus making harvesting the vermicompost easier. This passive method takes time, but you may agree that you have the time ahead of you until warm weather returns.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:53AM
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