The worms are snug in their new bin. The tally: 738 worms weighing 9.42 ounces. That includes a lot of baby worms, which is good, because growing worms eat more food than their adult counterparts.
To harvest the compost, we first emptied the bin into piles. Worms automatically move away from light, so they congregate at the center of each pile. Then you can easily sift through the compost until you get to the ball of worms in the center. Okay, maybe not easily—it took three hours for Jason and I to get through it all. It could have been a lot faster, but we were stopping to pick out every one, rather than tossing them into the new bin en masse.
After weighing the worms, we added them to the new bin, already filled with newspaper and food scraps. (Thanks for your contribution, Sharon!) We tore the newspaper into strips this time, rather than putting it through a shredder, in the hopes that the larger pieces will discourage the worms from munching on their bedding. Then we wet down the newspaper so the worms could breathe. (Very important.)
The old compost wasn’t completely broken down yet (and, in fact, had a few pepper sprouts growing in it), so we left a few little worms and some cocoons behind, to finish it up. I feel bad sacrificing them, but I think we’ve rescued more by starting the new bin now.
There was one casualty. Oliver snapped up a particularly adventurous worm before we could stop him. You should have seen him jump when it moved in his mouth!