Today was worm bed maintenance day, and it occurred to me that I've never really shared any details of the worm bed here on the blog, nor did I have a single good picture. Well, let's just fix that, shall we?
Today's job was to separate out the castings and put them in fresh bedding, as well as assess their general condition. We have a very large wooden bin on legs way in the dark, back corner of the barn. Jerry built it just for this purpose, and it has holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. It gets filled about three-quarters full with shredded paper (I use newspaper and office paper) and then I spread about a shovel full of rabbit manure into that. The whole mess gets lightly moistened so it is just damp, and this makes the paper compress down so it winds up only being about half full. The worms live in here, and slowly turn the paper and kitchen scraps we give them into wonderful, garden-friendly castings (that's the stuff that looks like soil, above).
The way to separate the worms from the castings to pile everything up onto a plastic sheet or other similar surface (I used a split-open feed sack). You want to make a rather tall pile. Shine a bright light on the pile, and the worms will gravitate away from the light, down to the bottom of the pile. Every few minutes, you can take a layer of castings off the top, until finally you reach a point where you're down to mostly worms. At this point you can place the worms into their new bedding.
Mine looked good, and after about two months I appear to have roughly twice as many as I started with. I didn't see very many small worms, nor did I see any eggs, though, which leads me to believe that I'll need to supply them with more food. If there is not enough food and they're forced to compete for it, their population will not grow as quickly.
So there you have it - a fun Sunday with WURMS!