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seperate container & sorter

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Comment by Stephen Sibley on February 27, 2009 at 2:34pm
This is extremely helpful. I also have seen the large commercial harvesters and wanted to build my own version, and have seen several of these but never understood how the mesh screen stayed in cylindrical form and stayed attached to the plastic barrels....the zip tie is an ingenqous and simple solution to this. I am going to build one immediately!
Comment by Jeffrey J. Schaefer on February 27, 2009 at 3:54pm
I am such a perfectionist it drives me crazy. Fortunately, the job I had, before being layed off, taught me that sometimes it really does work out best if you just jump in and do it. Amazing how it turns out and if there are issues, it is easier to work them out when you have something already in your hand. I've thought about cutting the few zip ties and moving part of the bucket to make it a little bigger, but just haven't gotten around to doing this.
Here's another mistake I made. I asked my father if he would save some of his kitchen scraps for my worms since my wife is working out of town alot and there is only me generating scaps. I've got so many scraps from him now, I have to throw some in my outdoor composting bin. I know those worms are hungry but they don't need this much food. Oh well, once spring comes arounds the earthworms will have a feast.
Comment by DevonWormGuy on February 28, 2009 at 3:27pm
Hi, I use an electric version and have some grea results, I would like to work out how to build a shaker screener like the worm guys, any ideas to any plans to build one, I have been crawling the net for some time looking, its a type of winnower thats all I can find out.
Comment by PJ on March 11, 2009 at 10:41pm
It looks great, simple and smart. I won't need one for a while but I have all these things on hand and the next time I'm haveing a slow day I'll build one. Very cool.
Comment by Robert on March 15, 2009 at 3:54pm
Thanks so much for posting this. Like Stephen, I had seen the commercial harvesters. But, I couldn't get it in my mind as to how I would secure the screen to the bucket halves. Now, I know!! :>) Thanks again!!!!!
Comment by Barry Kopel on August 13, 2009 at 9:30am
What you have built is what i have been looking for. May i ask what size screen you are using? Thanks
Comment by Jeffrey J. Schaefer on August 15, 2009 at 6:45am
This is hardware cloth which is available in 1/8 or 1/4 in. depending on how fine you want it. The most important part of the setup is to make sure when you cut the semi circles in the tote, to have one lower than the other so that the material , castings, move from one end to the other. I also found that by putting some leftover vinyl flooring under the tote and angling it down to a box on the floor when the lager pieces move out of the sorter, fall on the vinyl, and into the box, baby worms stick to the vinyl and I routinely grab them and place in another vermicomposting container to grow. I'll try to take a picture and add it to the site. Good Luck
Comment by Eve on August 15, 2009 at 8:50am
I was just looking at a web sight that sells commercial versions of these sorters. They said as we all know the 1/4" screen was to take out unprocessed large chunks and worms. The 1/8" screen is used after the 1/4" and is to separate the fine castings from the remaining unprocessed food, bedding, baby worms and eggs. They said this remaining compost is hatching mix. Now i know what hatching mix is.
Comment by Susan B on August 15, 2009 at 10:16am
For those of us who have smaller systems, I put mesh on the bottom of a box that was about 8" cubed. I pour some VC in, shake it over my compost contaner, dump what's left in to the new bin and then pour more VC in. It's slower than what's shown here, but lots faster than the pyramid hand sorting method.
Comment by C DuLaney on April 18, 2010 at 6:09pm
Thanks so much, Jeffrey, for posting pics and description of how your made this. I got inspired, after spending hours and hours harvesting my last Rubbermaid bin. Decided hubby wasn't going to build me one - even with my puppydog eyes - so I bit the bullet and made one last night. Your design is really good. I could only find 1/4" hardware cloth in the small town I live in, but think I'd like to have a 2nd harvester with 1/8". I used it today to run my last harvested compost through, to make it more crumbly and to once again pick out any newly seen cocoons or hatchlings. Huge surprise! This is the 3rd time I've gone through the compost with what I thought was a fine-tooth comb, only to find more of both. Once I did that today, I used my vermicompost in a mix with outdoor compost to pot up some tomatoes. (We have moles, and last year our in-the-ground tomatoes were a disaster.)

The upshot is, terrific design and it works. Thanks.

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