Vermicompost: Wrangle Your Wigglers

Separate your red wiggler worms from fresh compost easier with this simple vermicomposting tip.

| June/July 2014

  • Earthworm in the Garden
    Manage your vermicompost in the most efficient way possible by following this reader-submitted tip.
    Photo by Fotolia/Vinicius Tupinamba

  • Earthworm in the Garden

I vermicompost with red wiggler worms. They turn out wonderful compost in a fraction of the time it would take compost to decompose without their help. Separating the worms from the final product is tedious, however. The typical method involves forming the compost into several small, cone-shaped piles, placing a light above the piles, letting the worms burrow deeper into their pile, scraping off the top layer of compost, then repeating and repeating until you have enough filtered compost.

My solution to this task is to divide the bin with a permeable partition, such as quarter-inch, woven-wire mesh stapled to a wooden frame. I let one side of the bin compost almost completely. I then begin putting fresh material, such as kitchen scraps, on the other side. Most of the worms migrate to the “fresh” side within a matter of days, while a few remain in the composted side to complete the job — and to ultimately end up back in the garden!

Brand Phillips
Honolulu, Hawaii

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