Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvesting Vermicompost

Our big harvest this week wasn't veggies.  Instead, it was our first batch of vermicompost!

Harvested vermicompost

Last fall my husband repurposed an old cupboard that we pulled out of our laundry room.  It was about 2' wide and ran floor to ceiling.  He drilled holes in the bottom and added some dividers so it had 5 compartments.

Fast forward to this spring when I ordered red wigglers, aka composting worms.  I didn't do enough homework and didn't ask the right questions.  As a result I got worms and packing material (1 lb. total) instead of 1 lb. of worms + packing material.  Oh well, live and learn.

After the worms arrived I added torn newspaper and cardboard to one section of the worm cupboard.  I then added the worms and fed them kitchen scraps for the next 3 months.



I was very happy to see that my worm herd had increased substantially.  I had planned to weigh them but the batteries in the scale died.  You can also estimate weight by volume.  A cup equals about a pound of worms, which is about 1,000 worms.  They were a mucous-y mess, though, and I couldn't bring myself to use a measuring cup from the kitchen.  Of course I would wash it but I would always know they had been in there!  I would estimate that there are 1.5-2 cups of worms in the pile above.

Vermicompost in recycle bin

I was shocked at how much vermicompost they had made.  It didn't look like much in the bin but I harvested almost a small garbage can full!

I divided the worms and now I have 2 compartments in the worm cupboard going!  After the next harvest I hope to have all 5 in production.

Pop on over to the Harvest Monday bloghop at Daphne's Dandelions to see what everyone else is harvesting.  Probably more veggies and less worm poop!

18 comments:

  1. Your garden is surely going to appreciate that addition! Wish I had the guts to try vermicomposting but I'm not sure if I can get past the creep factor.

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    1. The creep factor is not bad at all, especially if you have an inside bin and other critters don't get in it.

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  2. Excellent production on the worm compost. We have a worm box as well and it produces quite a lot of vermicompost too. A suprising amount of it actually. It's really noticeably superior compost too. I find if I use it side by side with regular compost the plants getting the worm compost grow much more vigorously than their neighbors getting regular compost. Composted chicken manure is excellent stuff too.

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    1. Hah! Now you have me wanting to do an experiment: nothing vs. regular compost vs. vermicompost. Hmmm, think I might do with with some fall crops.

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  3. OOOOooooo I'm somewhat jealous. Your harvest beats mine I think. I have worms, but you got the good stuff. :-)

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised. It looked like a piddly amount in the bin.

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  4. Excellent! I gave up on worm composting, basically, but the worms always invade my regular compost and eventually munch their way through that. Your efforts are much more impressive.

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    1. The worms deserve all the credit. I just through rotten produce in once and a while.

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  5. great job; rule of thumb, worms will double their numbers every three months. and vermicompost is better than anything for plants because it contains plant growth hormones.

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    1. Sounds like I will be giving them away in a year!

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  6. Oh, I've been wanting to try this!

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    1. Definitely give it a try. It is the coolest way to compost.

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  7. Nice! Worms are so cool! I love that you're actively tracking their progress :-) Good stuff!

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  8. Congratulations on the vermicompost. I have one of those commercial plastic contraptions and am still learning how to drive it. Good thing is, worms are pretty accomodating.

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    1. I was eyeballing a worm inn. Seems the harvest would be soooo much easier!

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  9. actually 2 cups equal a pound of worms

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  10. My daughter had a worm bin for a bit. We had trouble keeping them alive in the house. When we got them we put some in the bin and some in the compost pile outside. The guys outside really thrived. We eventually decided to take the one that were in the house out to the garden and let them free. My garden has a great supply of worms now. We add crushed leaves to all the beds in the fall so they stay happy.

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