Great “food for thought” email from Lori:
I’m just getting through harvesting about 25lbs of worm castings!
(they’ve Been busy!) My question is – I did the “pile” method, scooped
off the top, threw the worms from the bottom, into new bins (actually,
I did NOT throw them! Lol!)….I know there were LOTS of babies & eggs
in the finished, could I not feed them? Maybe keeping a small food
source to the top side – as the babies grow bigger, I could search them
out, and as the eggs hatch, wait on them as well? I feel I should
still be feeding them?
Not sure if this would be worth it, or just leave them to be, with the
compost? Seems so wasteful? Like I don’t wanna throw away?
Wondering what your thoughts are?
You’re definitely NOT alone in wondering how to deal with all those cocoons (and baby worms). As you point out, it seems like such a shame to just leave them in the compost – especially when you consider that, on average, each cocoon produces 3 new Red Worms!
While European Nightcrawler cocoons do tend to be big enough for separation using a 1/8″ screen, unfortunately I don’t know of ANY effective way to separate Red Worm cocoons (at least not within a sane time frame – lol). In all honesty, your feeding/separation idea is the best approach for those who don’t want to lose the young worms and cocoons. With the right “bait” and a lot of patience, this method can work really well. Simply add some nicely aged horse manure and/or some other worm treats like watermelon or canteloup…and wait. Just make sure the food is all in one spot – and is easily accessible for periodic harvesting.
I myself don’t worry too much about any of this since I prefer to employ an integrated composting/gardening approach in my yard.
No matter where I end up adding vermicompost, a safe composting worm habitat is always going to be close by. So, any worms left in the material will have some place to go – vermicomposting trenches/windrows, worm towers etc.
I don’t typically harvest much vermicompost during the winter – but if I do, it’s going to end up sitting some place warm until I can use it anyway.