jwrandolph12
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Champaign, IL

What stage do you use your worm compost?

Hi all! I've seen a number of vermicompost posts, but here's a question: at what stage do you personally use your worm composted material? I'm not talking (particularly) about some ideal end state. I guess I more have in mind, when do you say 'enough's enough' and use it for some end?

I have a stackable worm bin I've been using for a couple years. If I wait a really long time and use exactly the right materials, I can get a final product that is mostly just castings. But I like to add a couple of things to the bin (i.e. shredded leaves) that tend to not get digested just like that, and in general I find I'm pulling the material out when it's all more or less black and uniform and indistinct, but before it reaches that uniform castings stage. I use it for potting soil mixes and other things, so I don't mind the extra organic material that's still there.

What do you think? How do you use it? I'm curious. Thanks!

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rainbowgardener
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I just keep a worm bin in the non-growing season. When it is about time to shut it down, I just quit feeding them (poor babies). At that point they eat up their bedding (fall leaves) and any food leftovers. So by the time I dump them out I have a big layer on the bottom that is mostly pure castings.
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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Last time I harvested, I put the wormbin tray over an old plastic saucer sled and left it uncovered in the sun. A lot of the worms and other denizens slipped out of the drainage holes down to the tray, but they were taking their time about it, so I put my fine compost sifting 1/2" hardware cloth across the top of the saucer sled and started systematically spreading the wormbin tray contents. This hurried up the worms, et. al.

By the time most of the worms were out and sent to the fresh bedding/scraps tray, the material had dried a bit, so I switched to the 1" chicken wire to screen it all, and basicaly put everything that didn't sift out back in the bin.

I also use the pie-feeding method that Cynthia_h described a while ago in my circular wormbin so in the current tray, there are finished or nearly finished vermicompost/casting at the first pie-wedge section and new bedding/fresh scraps at the latest pie-wedge section.

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