Harvesting a worm bin

A suitable worm bin to work with is usually made of untreated wood or various styles of plastic. Wood bins create a different consistency of vermicompost than plastic bins and harvesting methods will vary from each other. Tip: your vermicompost is brown and ready to harvest when you don't recognize what feed stock you provided the worms.

Sideways Separation: (works best with wooden bins): Feed and water one side of your worm bin for 2 weeks or more prior to harvesting, this should encourage worm migration to that side. Repeat this process in the future after filling the voided space with fresh bedding and food encouraging the worms to migrate to the empty space.

Light Separation: (works well for all bins): Empty entire bin onto a large tarp under sunlight or artificial light  and wait 5 minutes. The worms are very sensitive to light and will move down in the pile. Next scrape the upper layer of vermicompost off, pulling out any worms or unfinished organic matter and set aside. Continue waiting for worms to move down and scraping until you reach the bottom of the pile. You can get through this process faster by originally dividing contents into several piles. Replenish the worm bin with fresh bedding, worms, organic matter, new or old.

Stackable/Flow-Through Separation: (works well for all bin types, requiring 2 + bins): This set up begins in one bin as the worms and organic matter fill to the top, place your 2nd (empty) bin on top of it making sure if fits snugly. You will begin to feed your new empty bin as you did your first bin. If your screen or holes in upper bin are in contact with vermicompost in lower bin the worms will move up to the new bin and start over. After several months you can remove the bottom bin and harvest the compost, ideally there will be fewer worms and no recognizable organic feed stock left.

No Fuss Separation: (works well for all bins): Take a garden hand tool and dig in, carefully. Pull out any worms or organic matter that you recognize until you have a handful of beautiful brown soil and take to your plant or seeds.


*Information compiled after years of hands on research at Worm Endings Unlimited