Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Harvesting Vermicompost

Curiosity finally got the better of me (yet again).  I know my worm bin 1 is not quite finished (about 60% processed), but I just had to experience harvesting worm castings.  So, I borrowed one of the unused trays from worm bin 3.  I had two reasons for buying those trays: 1) I wanted to try a flow-through bin; and 2) I wanted a sifter.  I figured, the holes at the bottom of this tray are small enough.  It might get a few unprocessed materials, but hey, as long as it's largely vermicompost, I'll be happy.

And so I started getting chunks of material from my pail and pouring them into the tray.  I shook the tray gently and true enough, material fell through the little holes.  Whatever didn't go through the sifter, I just put aside and placed back in the bin afterwards.  I did this about 4-5 times.   I wasn't really trying to finish the contents of the bin, after all.   I just wanted to get enough worm castings to fertilize one lucky plant.  As you can see from the picture, it wasn't really much.

Now the process itself wasn't really as smooth as I described.  In the course of my shaking, I naturally put in a good number of worms in the sifter.  I bet they got dizzy with the process!   As you can see from the picture, there's a couple of those wrigglers on the tray.  If you look close, you'll also see that the worms can easily fit into the holes.  And that's exactly what happened.  The worms (big and small) went down with the castings.  Argh.  So I had to use my trusty new portable garden fork to pick them up (about 20 or so) and put them back in the bin (still dizzy).

And that's that.  After a ton of sweat (it was really hot and humid), it was time to put the castings in a pot.  Which plant was the lucky recipient?  It was this small Spearmint.  Why?  It's the only Spearmint in my garden and it has been stunted for months!  I'm happy it has survived all this time, but I'd like to propagate this too.  And just to add to the odds, the mother plant (this was given to me as a cutting) died already.  I also can't find Spearmint in any seedling garden.

Well let's see how effective the worm poo is and if it can help my little Spearmint defy the odds. Watch out for that update!

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