Now that the summer season is coming to a close, it’s time to prepare your outdoor vermicomposting bin for fall and winter. Despite the cold weather, you can continue composting and accumulating free natural organic fertilizer. Do you live in a warmer environment? If the temperature rarely drops below 57°F, your composting worms will slow down in wintertime, but they are not likely to die.
For those who live in a colder climate, your worms will probably die should you not take the following preventive actions:
The Easiest Solution – Bring a Vermicomposting Bin Indoors
The best way to protect your worms from the ravages of freezing winter temperatures is to move them indoors. We offer several tray-based composters for both indoor and outdoor composting. Place the bin in a heated garage or basement so your worms can survive the cold. You can also put it in the kitchen or in a closet. In this way, the bin is close enough to add your food scraps rather than going outside in inclement weather. Don’t worry about flies, pests, odor, and mold. This only occurs should you not take care of your worms. Click to read articles about indoor vermicomposting bins.
Should the bin be too heavy to move inside, harvest some of the compost.
If your bin outdoors is too large to bring indoors, adding a smaller one for indoors is another remedy. Gently scoop up some of the bedding and worms. Place them in a smaller vermicomposting bin and bring them inside.
Tried and True – Bury the Vermicomposting Bin in the Ground
The earth is a natural insulator. Should you have a plastic composting bin, such as a tote, bury half the composting bin in a hole dug in the ground. If the bin is full, harvest some of the finished compost. But leave several feet of bedding for your worms to keep them warm. They will migrate downwards to the warmer part of the bin in the ground. Don’t forget to keep feeding them in winter even though they don’t eat as much. Bury the scraps deep into the bedding so your worms won’t have to move far from the warmth to feed.
A Little More Work – Insulate the Vermicomposting Bin
Another option is to surround the bin with insulation. In this way, the heat produced by the composting process gets trapped inside. We recommend foam board, straw or hay bales, or shredded newspaper. Make sure you don’t block the air and drainage holes. Simply by keeping the lid on, you can also retain heat from the composting process.
Instead of having the bin outdoors in the natural elements, it could be moved to the garage or porch for more protection. Some use a heating pad or lamp on the bin, but be sure to use common sense to avoid starting a fire. And don’t place the bin in direct sunlight despite the frigid weather because your worms can still overheat.
The Path of Least Resistance – Do Nothing
Your worms will die if your composter is left outdoors without protection. However, they will probably lay eggs before they perish. Eggs do just fine in freezing temperatures. In springtime, you may see new baby worms. Should that not occur, don’t fret — you can always order from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm live Red Composting Worm Mix, the Kings of Composting. Our live European Night Crawlers are great for composting, terrific for aeration, and handy fishing bait. Check out our composting bins and supplies to meet your every vermicomposting need.
Our worms are 100% American, born and bred at our rural farm in Pennsylvania.