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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Separating the Worms from Worm Castings or Vermicompost

Q. How do I separate the worms from my compost? I bought a thousand worms from a worm farm online. They have multiplied into the zillions but I don’t want to give them to my neighbors when I give away the compost. Is there an easy way to separate worms from compost?

A. I am not sure how you are vermicomposting but if your compost with the worms is deep enough, the worms will be mostly in the top 4 to 6 inches of the compost. The casting should be at the bottom.

I had a chance to meet the vermiculture king in Zimbabwe, Eric 'WormMan' Harrison, on a trip to Zimbabwe. His book on farming in Zimbabwe before the Mugabe regime, JAMBANJA The true life story of a Zimbabwean farmer  is worth reading. A true pioneering farmer in Zimbabwe's history. He also authored a book on vermiculture. He passed on March 26, 2012.
            So by scraping off the top layer and returning it to new compost for vermicomposting you should retrieve most of them. Also, if you can screen the compost with 1/4 inch wire mesh this should get the remainder.

            . If some of the compost does not fit through the wire mesh return this also to your vermicomposting bin for further processing. You will give some "starts" away. That is inevitable. You will recover most of them

            Worms like to feed on compost rather than kitchen scraps so vermicomposting can be a two-step process; first compost and then transfer the compost to the vermicomposting bin for further refining.

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