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Uncle Jims Worm Blog

Red Worms, Worms, Worm Composting, Composters & VermiCulture

haunted vermicomposting worm binHalloween is right around the corner! If you are using worms to make compost, you have a haunted house in your midst. Here are some creepy facts about vermicomposting worms:

red wiggler wormIf you live in Florida or another warm location, you may not need to worry about your worms over the winter. But your worms will start to die off if temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They do best when the air temperature is above 57 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are unsure what temperatures your worms are experiencing, you can use a compost thermometer. Take the temperature in several spots to get a clear indication of the situation.

If you know the cold weather won’t last long, you might just add a little insulation around your worms. For example, you could add some old blankets, old carpets, old socks, dryer lint, hay bales, insulation foam, or bubble wrap - whatever you have at hand. But the worms still need some air and moisture, so make sure to leave some gaps in your insulation.

If you live in an area where frosts are a regular occurrence or where you regularly get snow, you have these choices:

warm winter wormAre you wondering what to do with your worms in the winter? The answer depends on where you live and your goals for your worm farm.

 Farming is no longer the situation where a child takes over the family farm that’s been in the family for years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that between 2012 to 2022 there will be a 19% decline in the employment of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers.

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Gardeners and lawn enthusiasts know that late summer and early fall are a great time to give their plants an extra boost before winter begins. Your worms have been busy all summer breaking down kitchen and garden scraps. Now is a great time to dig in and harvest some "black gold."

The bottom level of your worm bin has seen the most compost is dark and nutrient-richworm action, so that's the place to begin. If the material at that level looks like topsoil and has very few worms, then it's ready to be used. (If you still see some eggshells or other hard materials, that's ok, you can pick them out.) Depending on how busy your worms have been, what you are seeing may be vermicompost or it may be straight worm castings:

coconut coir and shredded newspaper worm beddingBedding is an essential part of your worm bin and often the key to your worms’ health and happiness. You will need to add bedding when you start a new vermicomposting bin, pile or trench. Fresh bedding can help if something has gone awry in your worm bin (see “Sick Worms”). If you need to harvest a lot of worm castings, you have the option of adding bedding to your worm bin. Bedding allows the worms a fresh environment, proper moisture, and room to breathe and move. Worms also eat bedding, so it has to be safe material. Here we’ll discuss some materials for worm bedding and how you should use them.

 Just how fascinating are earthworms? Well, Charles Darwin studied earthworms for 40 years. Even more interesting is the fact that when he published his findings in the book The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations of their Habits, it actually sold more copies than when On the Origin of Species was first released.

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Do you know everything about your wiggly friends in the bin or garden? With their simple life underground, worms can remain mysterious creatures! Let's open a can of worms and answer some popular questions about the life of a worm.

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Worms don’t need much to stay healthy and happy, but occasionally bad things happen. Just like humans, worms respond to changes in their environment. Sometimes the conditions in your worm bin may have become unintentionally harmful to your worms. What do you do if your worms appear to be sick or dying? Fortunately, there are some simple measures to take.

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