Harvesting a tray

If you are having problems with an existing wormery, or just need some advice - then ask it here
Post Reply
Lilwriggler
Junior Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Harvesting a tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Fri May 24, 2019 10:43 pm

I’m in the process of adding my next tray, will start putting food in it in the next couple of weeks. My bottom tray weighs a tonne, but it is mostly broken down. There is however still a bit of bedding material not quite rotted off and still quite a few worms, odd ones in the sump too. Should i wait until they have completely vacated that tray before i harvest it? It’s consistency is on the wetter side of crumbly, but i am not generating leachate. The tray above is mostly bedding material and a shallow layer of vermicompost, but it has loads of worms in it so i think they will be happy, may get my new tray going a bit more before i harvest? Would you seive the harvested tray to make sure you dont lose any of the herd?

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by WillyWorm » Sat May 25, 2019 8:26 am

Hi, I would start putting a small amount of food in my top tray a day or so after putting it in position. Use the four corners to ensure you don’t over feed the herd.
I leave my old bottom tray in place for a few months before harvesting and using it. I have four trays in one set up and five trays in another. I harvest the bottom tray once per month and move it to the top position. This means my trays have four or five months to finish and mature before use. This arrangement works well for me.
Given the length of time the worms have to completely finish the tray I find I have very few worms in the bottom tray when I come to harvest it. I just leave those few worms in the castings, they end up in the garden or allotment when I use the compost.
It sounds like things are going really well for you and your herd well done .

Willy

Lilwriggler
Junior Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat May 25, 2019 7:37 pm

Your herd must be processing the food quickly! To be fair my bottom tray must be 6.5 months old ish. I just need that confidence to see enough castings in a tray before i move up. Enjoyed having a cardboard layer on top and now watching them come through it. All the original coir is gone which is also great.

Lilwriggler
Junior Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:59 pm

First harvest completed today, which was satisfying. Just couldn’t decide where i wanted to use it in the garden....... tried to return any eggs i spotted back into the wormery as well as all the bigger worms.... :cool:

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by WillyWorm » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:16 pm

Congrats on getting your first tray finished. I remember it’s a nice feeling and the castings seem almost too good to use.
Now production is underway remember this is the first of many.

Well done
Willy

Smallthings
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Smallthings » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:55 am

Hi - I set out today to harvest my very first tray. I have two upper trays still being worked through but the bottom one is looking good, nice black crumbly compost and no food, paper or coir remains. However once I started I found a good number of tiny baby worms in it and although I managed to sieve through a few spadefuls and harvest that, I felt that to do the whole tray would take me hours because there'd be so many tiny babies to keep picking out, so have put the tray back in place for now still with the compost in. My first question is - any tips for separating out the worms more easily/quickly, especially as they are so very small? Second question is, does it do any harm to leave a full finished tray in place for a long time? I'm thinking that as these babies grow and get hungrier they should move up naturally - perhaps they are all just fairly recent hatchlings! - I'm happy to wait as long as won't cause any problems for the rest of the wormery.
Any advice much appreciated, thanks.

Lilwriggler
Junior Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Lilwriggler » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:21 pm

I think you will all ways have eggs and little ones in there, and willy doesn’t seem to worry about losing a few in the harvesting process. Trying to pick up little worms is a nightmare with clumsy fingers!

Smallthings
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Smallthings » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:58 am

Thanks Smallthings, yes I guess it's inevitable some of the little ones and eggs will end up in the garden. I was thinking I might be able to harvest the tray in two halves, by shining a light on one side and covering up the other, to encourage all the worms over to the dark side (!), leaving the lit-up side free to harvest without them. Then keep doing it with each remaining amount until I have all the worms confined to one small section. Might try that and see if it helps a bit at least!

WillyWorm
Senior Member
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:10 am

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by WillyWorm » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:15 am

Hi, sounds very much as if you have produced some great castings.
I have never produced castings which are free of baby worms or cocoons.
I sometimes put my finished castings into a black bucket in the green house (making sure it remains damp) and scrape off the top layer and use when I want it, because of the light the worms move down in the bucket out of the light.
But in general I use the castings as they come and liberate a few worms to wide world I call my garden.

Willy

Smallthings
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: Harvesting a tray

Post by Smallthings » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:06 pm

Thanks Willy, at the next opportunity I get I will give the harvesting another go, maybe use your bucket idea too, thank you.

Post Reply