December 16, 2008

The Moment We've All Been Waiting For.....

FINALLY it's the day I give the wigwam its first crank!

Before I get to the good stuff, you need some background and lead up info. First, the pic of the multitude of escapees I talked about in my last post:worm wigwamEEWWW! See what I mean? Soooo gross, even for a worm lover!!!

Next up is a before pic of the area where the long-awaited organic fertilizer would soon be falling. After all this time, I finally got to open the trap door!

The stuff already there must have fizzled down:
harvesting worm wigwam
Newsflash: cranking the wigwam is a lot of work!

The crank moves real easy, that's not the issue.

It's just that only a little falls at a time so I was cranking like a maniac for five straight minutes. In the end, I had a humongous pile of scrumptious vermicomposty worm castings:harvesting worm wigwam
I put the castings in a large plastic bin so they could dry out before being screened (notice all the worm related equipment! I never thought I'd have a whole little workshop for worm poo!):vermicompost
The level inside (where the worms are) fell about five to six inches with that cranking, and I didn't have enough room in the plastic container pictured above for all that dropped, happy day!

Of course, you all know about my penchant for saving small lives and even potential lives. I couldn't leave this post about the first crank without showing the valiant effort to save the extreme bottom dwellers of the wigwam:worm eggs
I rescued about 10-15 worms out of the castings I cranked out. ANOTHER MYTH DEBUNKED- all the worms don't live in the top few inches where the food is. Some live in the very bottom layers and have to be forcefully relocated!

This made me wonder: what if I could tag the worms that I found so the next time I cranked I could see if the same ones were at the bottom again? This would also be helpful in the case of the escapees- I could tell if recent escapees were repeat offenders. Hmmm.....

ANYWAY, stay tuned for information on drying, screening, and packaging. Lilliworm rolls on!


Carl said...

Congratulations! I know you have been waiting for this for a long time and I can only imagine the anticipation that built up.

Mary said...

Woo hoo! Great to see all that lovely vermicompost. Makes it all worth it - doesn't it?

Lilli said...

It IS good to finally see some progress and results, and its exciting to be able to move forward with Lilliworm plans- slowly, of course!

Harley said...

I was wondering when you hand crank the bin does it shake the tray or does something with teeth spin and allow the castings to fall.

Lilli said...

There are two large grates, one stationary and one that moves when you turn the crank. The first grate moving against the second makes the poo fall through.
Great question! When I was putting the wigwam together, I kept wondering the same thing.

Bob Baker said...

The "Poo" coming from our Wigwam is very wet; in fact, the system has a lot of "run-off": I've caught about 5 gallons-worth of tea in the last three months. Am I doing something wrong? Also, lots of egg shells...seems the worms don't "chew" them up as fast, so I run them thru again.

I just wonder how many worms I've lost thru the old worm bins were crawling with the critters.

Lilli said...

Bob- I gave up on the eggshells- mine never went away and I always ended up picking them out. As for the moisture, I don't water mine as much as I used to because I had the water flow through one time and it was way gross and soppy. My worms seem just as happy in semi-moist conditions as they did when it was kinda too wet.

Brian said...

I've been enjoying your blog for several weeks. I keep finding new and interesting things I missed the first time around.

I am thinking about purchasing a Wigwam and have a couple of questions, if you don't mind. I hope you don't think I'm being nosy.

How many pounds of castings did you end up with?

How many lbs of worms did it take to generate?

How long it take since you started?

Lilli said...

Thanks, Brian- and your questions aren't nosy AT ALL:

How many pounds of castings did you end up with? With the first crank, I would say between 10-15 pounds

How many lbs of worms did it take to generate? This is just an estimate, but I would say close to 15 pounds- but they all originated from the one pound I bought back in late July 2007.

How long it take since you started? I started the blog as soon as the first pound arrived in late July 2007. I started reading and planning a few months before that.

Let me know if you'd like any more details :)