We started Vermi-composting with Red Wigglers several years ago.
There is something of a learning curve:
How much water to add to the shredded paper to get the right consistency;
how much food to give them so they have enough,
but not too much so it doesn’t draw bugs or get smelly;
how many holes to put in the bottom of the top bin
so the excess moisture can go through to the bottom bin.
But the biggest question
is how to get the worms out of the compost when it is ready to be used.

Red Wiggler Worms

Originally, we did it by hand—
pulling each worm out of the fresh compost.

That took a lot of time. So, we put holes in black plastic and put the worms and the compost on top of the black plastic, which was on top of the new bedding and fresh food. The idea is that the worms go down to the new bedding and food.

It worked.

As we have continued to use new techniques we have discovered ways to improve on the worm operation and make their life easier.
Using rabbit or alpaca poop is great for the worms.
They quickly tear it apart and turn those little pellets into fresh compost.
By adding the manure, it helps the worms to make the compost faster.
Putting them in a dark part of the basement keeps the temperature more constant and comfortable without drawing flies or other insects.
Wire baskets make it easier for the worms to get out of the compost and down into the fresh bedding and food.

Basket to sort Red-Wigglers from Compost

Next week I will go to a workshop in Little Rock, Arkansas at the SSawg (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) Conference to learn from Will Allen of Growing Power in Wisconsin how he does Vermi-composting.

Can’t wait to hear what he has to say.