Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Homegrown Worm Harvester

One thing that any vermiculturist worth his weight in worms needs is a good worm harvester. Unfortunately for the upstart vermiculture operation, they are pretty cost prohibitive. A few months ago I came across some plans on the Internet for a handmade one using 1/4" hardware cloth and a five gallon bucket cut in two and with the end cut out. So like any industrious market farmer I got on the job and threw one together in a couple of hours, it worked pretty decent except for the fact that I had no way to turn it other than setting it up on some cinder blocks on one end a little taller than the bucket that held the other end, pretty labor intensive and slow. This weekend while planing my 2008 crops I decided that I seriously have had enough and need a quicker way to harvest my best fertilizer, so I decided to improve on the design. The trammel (harvester) itself was easy enough, replace the bucket with a large trash can, add a 1/2" piece of hardware cloth, followed by a 1/4" on the outside (using zip ties and a drill to attach it to the trashcan). Next came the fact that I needed this thing to roll easily by hand and to be on a platform at an angle, luckily I had an old 2 x 4 and deck board table that came out of the same greenhouse that is now the worm house, so I just disassembled it, cut it down to size and drilled some angled holes with a paddle bit, cut a couple of 2 x 2 boards to fit into the ends of the trash can, screwed them in, drilled a couple more holes in those, added a piece of greenhouse purlin through the stand and harvester, a couple of deckboards to the bottom and one side of the stand for stability and Koetter keys to hold the pipe and harvester in place. Voila, custom built, easy rotating worm harvester. A similar worm harvester this size bought from the Internet would cost roughly $1,000 that I don't have, I've got roughly $35 in this one and it works just as well as those shiny stainless steel things that the industry uses. I should have a pretty good stockpile of vermicompost from my 20 something large worm bins by the end of this month and a second harvest come March of next year, all ready to go to the fields for the 2008 crops. Next year I plan on adding on to the worm house which is currently 12 x 20 ' I plan on adding another 20 to 30 feet to the house with some new cattle panel tables.

3 comments: said...

Thank you for sharing this story. What a great harvester! Where did you get the plans?

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

It looks like you've got two different collection bins: one for the stuff that falls through the 1/4" mesh (presumably the finished worm castings) and one to collect things that are...I dunno...falling out the BOTTOM of the trashcan? Is that correct? Or just an illusion?