Harvesting Worm Poop (Manual Method of Sifting without Tumbler)

The worms are hungry and wriggling. The top or active tray is getting pretty full and the bottom tray is looking good so we are going to harvest some delicious compost. The bottom tray will be emptied and sifted and then used as the next active tray. There is still another tray we can add on, but the bottom tray looks ready and we are still learning the timing of the worms: how much worm food we can add, at what intervals, and how long it takes for the worms to eat it. We also want to use some compost in the beds, fertilizing the plants.

Lets go through the farm layer by layer:


Underneath the cardboard hides the worms, happy to have so much food.


The three lower trays look the same to you too, huh? Up close you can see the difference.

b The excess water is a concentrated source of worm compost, known as worm tea. The screen stops worms from falling in and drowning, it also keeps sediment seperated from the worm tea.

 

There are lots of baby worms in the lower trays. You can see the hungry worms migrating upwards to greener pastures.

Now on to harvesting:

Take the bottom tray and dump it into a container. We like to use as much area as we can to spread the vermicompost out and dry quickly:

Move all the material to one side:

The worms will dig down, away from the light:

Wait a bit (half hour is a good amount of time) and sort through the top portion of the pile. There will probably be a few worms, put them aside to put back into the worm farm, set aside material that has not been digested as well. You only want to shave a little bit off at a time to give the worms time to travel down away from the light again. and again and again until it is done.

Once all the worms are sorted out go ahead and put them back into the worm farm and spread the compost out to dry:

The finished result feels light and fluffy but moist to the touch:

This method works best if you don’t have or want to build a tumbling sifter for worms. Eventually we will be using one, but in the meantime, this does a good enough job for how much we produce.

We like to top dress our soil with the compost. This works especially well with potted plants. Just throw a handful around the base of each plant and water. If you want to really get into it you can work the compost into the soil, we don’t do this with the pots and most of the raised beds, but is a good way to make sure the compost goes where it needs to.

Don’t forget to add the tea to your fertilizer brew! You can also dilute the tea and water your plants with it for a boost. We add ours to the nutrient solution used to feed the plants. Since we are technically using a hydroponic medium, the tea is supplemental to known nutrient additives.

We get about 100-200ml daily of vermipost tea , usually it goes directly to the current brew and helps keep a very diverse set of things alive. (Tea comes out at about 1500-2300 ppm and 7.5 or so pH) So it works pretty well to just add even straight to soil for bigger plants and trees.

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