Here's how badly I need to get outside and do some digging: I spent over an hour sitting on my kitchen floor today with my worm bin.
Don't worry, it's not like I was naming the worms or anything. I was harvesting the vermicompost from the bin. It had gotten to the point that the bottom two inches of the bin were jam packed with vermicompost, and I was worried that I would soon be dealing with an anaerobic worm bin if I didn't take care of it soon (I was right: digging down into the bottom of that compacted vermicompost was not the world's most pleasant task. Ew.)
So, here's what I did:
- Go through the bin, grabbing any really big pieces of bedding and food. Toss this into another container to throw into the outdoor compost bin.
- Dump the finer material (including all of the worms and vermicompost) onto a tarp or garbage bag.
- Spend as long as it takes going through the contents of the tarp, picking out worms and flinging them (along with some of the somewhat coarse material that you didn't remove before) into a bucket.
- Once you've got a bunch of vermicompost which you've removed as many worms from as possible, look through it again, than put your vermicompost into a bucket or bin to store it until you can use it.
- Shred up fresh newspaper for bedding, moisten it, and add your worms back into the bin.
- Marvel at how much worm poop you now own.
Admittedly, there are more efficient ways to do this. A sifter would have been a great help, and I'll have to build one for this purpose before I go through this again. But there is something to be said for getting up close and personal with your worms every once in a while. It was easy to see how many baby worms I have in the bin, which food scraps the worms seemed to congregate around, and which ones they avoid. You just don't get that level of detail from throwing everything into a sieve!
And, what did I end up with? A large bucket of finished vermicompost and a clean, fresh worm bin that is ready to get loaded up with food scraps again. And just a little bit of time spent digging around, even if it was only on my kitchen floor.
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