Worms are one of the most beneficial and easiest creatures to raise on a homestead, rural or urban. Not only do they convert all kinds of organic waste into one of the richest natural fertilizers for your garden, they are also a high protein treat for chickens, pigs, fish or other animals.
There are several kinds of worm bins, all easily made yourself at home. The type you want depends on your needs. There are many instances when you might want to take out some worms – for animals, for “seeding” garden patches so that they can aerate and fertilize a spot directly, or for fishing. This is where a worm harvester comes in. You can pick out a few worms by hand whenever you want, but periodically you will need to give them new bedding and take out the rich soil they have created, and a worm harvester makes this task considerably easier and faster. You just pass all of the soil through the harvester, collect the worms and put them back into their home with new bedding.
We have gone through a couple of different designs of worm harvesters, but we find this one to be the sturdiest and quickest.
5 gallon Bucket
19” x 39” piece of ¼” Hardware Cloth
60” of 1” Metal Pipe
39” of 3/8” All thread
5 x 8 feet pieces of 1”x2” Lumber
40” of 2”x4” Lumber
40” x 130” piece of Tarp
2x Broom Handles
Worm Collection Vessel (a 5 gallon bucket works well)
3” Wood Screws
1 ½” Wood Screws
½” Metal to Metal Screws
3/8” Nuts and Washers
Washer to fit the Metal Pole
Drill & Bits (7/16”, 1/8”)
1 ½” Hole saw
These funnels are not absolutely essential, but they do make the harvesting process go a lot more smoothly. One is the bottom, or worm collection funnel, the other is the top, or feeder funnel.
You are now ready to use your new worm harvester. Note that it always speeds up the process if the soil you are putting in is not too moist, but just a bit dry.
Place a 5 gallon bucket under the worm collection funnel. Add your worms and their poop to the feeder funnel, a little at a time, and turn the handle of the bucket cylinder steadily. You want to be turning the cylinder at about 1-2 revolutions per second. Fertilizer will fall through the hardware cloth onto the tarp, worms and uneaten food will collect in the bucket. Dump the fertilizer into a storage container, or directly on your garden. Your worms can go back into a box with fresh bedding.
It’s never been easier to collect your worms!