First four to six inches include worms in vermicomposting

Question: How do I separate the worms from my compost? I bought 1,000 worms from a worm farm online. They have multiplied into the zillions, but I don’t want to give them to my neighbors when I give away the compost. Is there an easy way to separate worms from compost?

I am not sure how you are vermicomposting, but if your compost with the worms is deep enough, the worms will be mostly in the top 4 to 6 inches of the compost. The casting should be at the bottom.

So, by scraping off the top layer and returning it to new compost for vermicomposting, you should retrieve most of them. Also, if you can screen the compost with a quarter-inch wire mesh, this should get the remainder.

If some of the compost does not fit through the wire mesh, return this also to your vermicomposting bin for further processing. You will give some “starts” away. That is inevitable. You will recover most of them.

Worms like to feed on compost rather than kitchen scraps, so vermicomposting can be a two-step process; first compost and then transfer the compost to the vermicomposting bin for further refining.

Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at Visit his blog at For more advice, see Thursday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.