The weather has slowly been getting warmer, which means it’s the perfect time to prepare for productive composting with worms. You have to start by checking on your worm bin and see what the winter elements did to its condition. You’ll have to take the proper steps to bring it back to productivity. There is no doubt that your worm bin will have organic fertilizer you can collect and use in your garden. You may need to order some new worms or supplies.
Check Your Worm Bin
Ensure not to disturb your outdoor worm bin during freezing weather and low temperatures; it could damage your colony. Find out when the “last frost date” is in your area on Google.
When the weather is no longer freezing, take the lid off your worm bin and gently dig around to see if there are any living worms. No need to panic if you don’t see any wiggling, just dig a bit deeper as the bottom center of your worm bin could have been warm enough. If you still see no living worms, you may see some tiny spheres that look like coffee grounds inside. These are worm eggs, and they will hatch when the warm weather comes. Baby worms will look like tiny brown flecks initially, but they will surely grow into little worms.
If you’re worried about your worms not bouncing back, or you just need a head start with your composting, go ahead and order a bag of worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm! Just add them to the top of the bedding. The new worms will dig into the dirt in no time. They will begin feasting on any uneaten organic material and eventually create quick compost for you to use.
Since the composting process slows down significantly in colder weather, warm weather will speed it up after a cold season. You should be seeing the organic matter begin to break down quickly after it gets warmer. If you still see undigested scraps in your bin while trying to harvest the compost, try again in a few weeks.
Where is the Organic Compost?
Regular “hot” composting results in finished compost, but when composting with worms, you’ll get something much better: worm castings. This is also known as “worm poop” and is a black, organic compost rich in soil-friendly bacteria. While very fluffy and nutritious, worm castings are highly concentrated organic compost that is good for your plants.
A composting bin specifically made for composting with worms is made from trays. Add more trays of bedding to the top for your worms to migrate up to. This makes the bottom trays ready-to-harvest; you just have to remove them and scoop out the worm castings.
The regular, deep composting bins will have the majority of the worm castings on the bottom. Some of these bins have a drawer or hatch at the bottom, while others need to be “turned” to find organic fertilizer. You can try using a screen to separate the worms and sticks from the worm castings. Or, you can do one of these methods to separate worms from the bedding.
How to Use Worm Castings
Worm castings are excellent for making starts. Add them to the soil as a “side dressing.” The secret to a lush lawn is using worm castings, and spraying your plants with worm tea provides plenty of nutrients and helps keep the pests away.
Does Your Worm Bin Need More Bedding?
Since harvesting worm castings can quickly deplete the amount of bedding in your bin, adding more is a sound option. If you feel your worms don’t have enough bedding, pure peat moss, composted leaves, and coconut coir are excellent choices for bedding. See our article on bedding to learn more.
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is the #1 supplier of composting worms and composting supplies in the USA. Our worms are born and bred at our rural Pennsylvania farm. We recommend the Red Wiggler Mix for composting, and European Night Crawlers (Super Reds) for composting, fishing, and soil aeration. We also carry Meal Worms and special worm composting bins.