Here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we often hear the question “Where should I put my worm bin?” Your bin’s location in or outside your home can make a huge difference to your worms’ health and happiness. By adjusting the placement of your bin based on your climate, season, and other home conditions, you can ensure that your worms will love where they live!
Many people prefer to keep their red wiggler worm bins outdoors in the yard or in the vicinity of the house. This usually provides more space and moves any unwanted odor or mess away from your living space. But outdoor temperatures and conditions can be highly variable and unpredictable. Just follow these few guidelines when choosing where to place your bin outdoors.
Convenience. It’s common sense, but you’ll want your worm bin to be placed somewhere that’s convenient for you to check on regularly! This should be a part of your yard, shed, or patio that has plenty of accessible space for feeding, care, and cleanup. Your regular checkup is the most important consideration. However, your worm bin should be a distance from the home to avoid attracting pests indoors.
Access to Water & Air. Remember that worms need dechlorinated water and that the bin may become dry faster when it’s placed outdoors in warmer months. For this reason, it’s important to place the bin close to your safe water, with adequate drainage and air holes. If you’ve got your bin in a closed shed or barn outside, you want to make sure there is enough airflow to the bin as well.
Maintaining Temperature & Light. The main concern for worms outdoors is temperature. Remember that worms like the cool darkness of the soil, so your bin should, ideally, be in a shady spot with the lid kept closed during daylight hours. Aim for 55-70ºF in the bin, which you can check using a probe thermometer. Maintaining temperature may require moving or insulating the bin seasonally (see below).
Winter Moving. It is ideal to move your worm bin into shelter for the winter, either inside the home or into a shed or barn. If you have a large heavy bin, harvest the compost from your bin to make it lighter before moving. If you choose to keep your bin where it is outside, you will want to insulate your bin by covering all sides of it with hay bales or Styrofoam. If you have a plastic bin, you may also partially bury it by placing the bottom half of the bin in the ground for warmth.
To avoid moving, many people keep their bins inside the home year-round. This allows for optimal convenience and more regulated climate. Some love putting their bin right in the kitchen where they can add food scraps right away! Wherever you place the bin indoors, here are a few additional tips:
Avoid Appliances. If in the kitchen or basement, don’t place your bin next to a refrigerator or other running appliance that might create extra heat, noise, and vibration. Though you may not notice it, your worms will be sensitive to this.
Basement. A basement can be the ideal place for worms since it is naturally cool and dark. Just consider that even in a heated house, the basement could grow too cold in the winter. The bin is likely often out of your sight, but don’t let that mean you check up on it less frequently.
Adequate Airflow. Your house may get a little stuffy for the worms. Try the bin in a screened porch or a room that you know can get plenty of airflow through windows and doors.
Need to stock your worm bin? Uncle Jim produces hearty red wiggler composting worms!