How to Harvest Worm Castings


Today’s post is part 1 of 2 in learning what to do with this “black gold.” In this post I’ll share how to harvest worm castings. In the next installment I’ll share how to use worm castings.

It seems like forever ago since I last talked about compost worms without giving them away. ;) I‘ve been long overdue to curl up on the couch (well, actually my desk chair), a latte within reach, and tap away on my keyboard about these amazing little creatures.

If you’re a worm farm newbie maybe you’ve entertained a thought something like this:

“I have a large container in my kitchen FULL of worms and worm pooh. I’ve been TOLD this is a good thing. Of course it is. Why would a container full of manure next to my small children and food prepping area NOT be good?! What have I gotten myself into?”

WHAT is worm castings harvesting?

The whole point of keeping a compost worm bin is to end up with worm castings (or manure) and composted organic matter to use in your garden. While it does, indeed, take longer to get a lot of manure from worms as opposed to large homestead critters, I can think of at least 14 reasons to have compost worms instead of homestead critters.

Harvesting worm castings is the act of separating the worms from the composted bedding and worm castings.

WHEN is the worm bin ready to harvest?

When your worm bin bedding – try saying that 10 times – turns from wet, fluffy, shredded newspaper and cardboard to a slightly slimy and muddy consistency to a nice crumbly dirt-like product you’re ready to harvest the goodies.

As far as how long it takes to get to this point, it depends. I’ve heard people give estimations, but it really depends on the number of worms, the amount of scraps, and how much bedding they have to break down. But, a rule of thumb is always nice to have. I’ve read it takes around three months. (My bin took longer.) Again, it depends on a number of factors.

HOW do you harvest worm castings?

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Giveaway: MORE Compost Worms!!!


Exactly 8 weeks ago, Your Gardening Friend had its very first compost worm giveaway, hosted by The Prairie Homestead. It was so much fun – for me, too :) – that I’ve decided to do another one!

I’m hoping to get back to the Compost Worms 101 series next month. A worm giveaway should tide us over ’til then, right? ;)

The Worm Composting page has all the posts from the Compost Worms 101 series.

One (1) person, randomly chosen by the Rafflecopter, will receive a starter package of my red wiggler worms.

The giveaway is open to all U.S.A. residents (except Hawaii), 18 years or older. Be sure to read the giveaway terms.

Giveaway ends Saturday, May 25th, at 11:59pm (Eastern Time).

The winner will be announced on this post, and contacted by email, shortly after May 25th.

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Giveaway: Compost Worms!!!

With outdoor gardening just around the corner, a compost worm giveaway seems fitting. Like backyard chickens, worm composting is becoming a popular hobby.

If you’ve been following along in the Compost Worm 101 Series, you’ve probably learned that “raising” compost worms is VERY EASY. Worms may not be your thing – it’s definitely not for everyone – but you might be surprised. If you’re not sure about it, read 14 Reasons to Have Compost Worms.

I’ve listed the links to all the previous posts in this series.

14 Reasons to Have

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Cool Facts About Compost Worms

“And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25 Click here to read more.

Today’s worm post is a little different than my regular Compost Worm 101 Series posts.

If you, like me, did not study worms in high school biology, then some of these facts may really surprise you.

Did you know that compost worms … ?

1. Have five (5) hearts

It’s hard to imagine such tiny creatures having more than one heart – let alone FIVE – but they do!

2. Are hermaphrodites

Every compost worm has both male and female reproductive organs. It still requires two worms to create baby worms, but any two random worms can breed.

3. Breathe through their skin

Compost worms use the mucus membrane on their skin, which must be kept moist, to transfer oxygen from the air, through their skin, and into their circulatory system. I talked about this in How to Take Care of Compost Worms.

4. Sometimes make a snap-crackle-pop sound

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How to Take Care of Compost Worms

We’re probably at the halfway mark in the first compost worm series. If you’re new to this site, you can catch up on the series with the below links.

14 Reasons to Have Compost Worms
DIY Compost Worm Bin
How to Acquire Compost Worms
Feeding Compost Worms (What, How, and When)
How to Take Care of Compost Worms

To keep red wigglers and other compost worms alive and healthy, there are only a few things that must be done:

  1. Feed them properly;
  2. Keep their bedding moist;
  3. Ensure good air flow within the bin and bedding;
  4. Keep the bin stored in the right temperature range; and
  5. Keep the inside of the bin dark (i.e., little to no light).

Proper Feeding

Proper feeding was explained in this post.

Moist Bedding

Having a slightly damp, but not too wet, environment is critical to worms’ survival, as critical as us having oxygen.

Worms breathe through their skin. They have a mucus substance on their skin that allows oxygen to pass through their skin and into their circulatory system. Without enough moisture worms will suffocate.

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