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The NEW office worm bin
The level of wormcastings in the Real Change bin built up quite a bit, just since August. I've been trying to find a bin that would fit on top of it, as a "second story" of new food and bedding that the worms could migrate into. That has always sounded like the ideal way to harvest castings!
I didn't find one, though, so I finally decided on the second alternative: transferring the uneaten bedding and as many worms as I could easily find into a new bin.
My first bin was the 14-gallon "Worm Friendly Habitat," shown here.
That's slightly bigger than the previous Real Change bin, shown here back at home. (In back of it is the bin I am using to "process" the castings.)
I transferred all unchewed bedding and as many worms as I could readily pick out into the new bin, and topped off the bin with some coconut-coir bedding, new food, and new paper bedding.
I was left with over half a bin full of mostly-wormcastings. That's in three months! I was thrilled.
There are still worms and worm eggs in among the castings. (Worms are supposed to find their own castings slightly toxic, but so many of them don't seem to get the memo.) So at home I put the harvested castings in a bin with new food and bedding at one end. Over time, I am hoping that all the worms, including the ones that hatch out of the current eggs, will migrate into the fresher bedding. I'm keeping this bin inside for now, to help the eggs to hatch.
I started thie Real Change bin in August with two pounds of worms, a mixed group of redworms and European nightcrawlers ("giant redworms"). There were at least two pounds of worms in the bedding I transferred to the new bin. There looks to be as much as one pound of worms in the castings I took home.
The Big Green Bin new at Real Change has three groups of very tiny airholes, so it should be much harder for fruit-flies to get in. (I didn't have a problem with them in that bin over summer.) After harvesting that bin for the first time, I drilled some extra holes in the bottom, and along the bottom edge of the sides, because the only think I'd been troubled by in its operation was the drainage.
The previous Real Change bin had only one row of holes around the sides, at the bottom edge, and the holes in the lid. The air exchange was fine, but when I scooped it out, I found it was pretty mucky at the very bottom. And in the first few days in the new bin, a lot of liquid has been draining out the bottom. Liquid's been draining out of the "casting processing" bin at home, too, which also has lots of holes in the bottom.
No worms have crawled out the holes in the bottom of the bin at home. Some have crawled out at Real Change, but have stayed under the bin, not venturing any further. Only one drowned in the accumulated liquid; the rest nested in the paper towels I put under there. I keep transferring them back into the bin. I find less worms, and less liquid, under the bin each day.
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Half a bin of worm castings... success! You're keeping those worms happy Anitra.
Wow, you're keeping busy tending those worms, Anitra. I'm impressed!
It's very therapeutic, Droopy. :) Among other things, wormcastings may be good for arthritis! I spent at least an hour yesterday sifting through castings by hand, picking out worms and eggs. This morning my hands didn't hurt. My knuckles seem less swollen, although that is a purely subjective judgment and not scientific measurement.
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