De-clumping & "curing" finished(?) vermicompost

chuckiebtooApril 25, 2013

Well, you're ready to separate a big ole damp, gooey glop of what is hopefully (but never is what with all the other critters free-loading off them) mostly adult worms, less-than-adult worms, and cocoons from their house and home and that beautiful black gold you've coaxed out of them by feeding the best food a worm would ever see if you weren't tending to him.

After you get many of the worms and some of the cocoons extracted, you're left with the VC that could use some drying or de-clumping, or airing-out if, way down in the bottom of the bin there is that old soured smell that gravity has a habit of causing.

So.....the first thing to do is....spread it out on a flat surface using a Wonderstick, blow across it with an old fashioned windowfan for a few hours until that rancid odor has been swept away (there should be NO odor),
and while that is happening, find yourself a separater similar to the pic below. (I have several different ones that I've scrounged up over the years)

When the VC is SLIGHTLY damp....not snowball-potentially damper.....begin spreading it out on the separator (big sifter) that is atop a container (think big black plastic garden center plant container) to catch the soon to be somewhat finelier & more uniformly separated VC. Use a coke bottle, or mayonaisse jar, or a 4" piece of 2X4, or old industrial-sized spoon to mash the VC thru the sifting device.

Kinda like sifting flour....and while you're at it you'll run across and rescue worms and cocoons that somehow escaped your search diligence earlier because they really, really don't wanna leave that smorgasborg of exotic food you've been providing them all their lives.

Next, easier ways of separation and salvage of way more worms and cocoons than this one I just described.


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Nice post! I love your heavy-duty grate. It would probably stay put well during the process. I built one out of 1"x2" wood frame and 1/2"wire hardware cloth that sits atop my trusty wheelbarrow. I have come to the conclusion that some small clumps are OK to leave, and so I rarely sift anymore. I just " beat it up" in the wheelbarrow with a garden tool and use. It is not as pretty, but just as effective in teas, planting mixes, and dressings ;)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Yeah, I've got other sifting tools (see below). I make the VC that I use in presentations and/or sell at garden centers to look pretty nice. People who are just learning a little bit about vermicomposting prefer to look at things that look "refined".

Truthfully, clumps maintain moisture longer, and because that VC is alive with those critters that're gonna help make our plants healthier and robust, it ain't a bad thing.

Actually, I've never really had a prob with VC consistency because after separating out the worms and cocoons, that stuff is really gonna be pretty loosy.


This post was edited by chuckiebtoo on Sat, Apr 27, 13 at 8:06

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:32PM
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"until that rancid odor has been swept away" = aerobic bacteria out breed anaerobic bacteria is my understanding.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:41PM
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