Winter is heading our way and now is the time to start thinking about winterizing your outdoor composting worms.
Red Wigglers are a hearty breed. They are fairly tolerant to colder temperatures, but they have their limits. (European Night Crawlers) can be bit more cold hardy. If you live in an area of the country that gets cool in the winter, read these tips for protecting your worm friends:
- Before the temperature drops below 57 degrees Fahrenheit. At 57 degrees, worms start to feel the cold. Decide in advance what you are going to do because you may need some additional Items to keep them warm (read on).
- Use a composter thermometer. If the bin gets too hot or too cold, you can take action before things go wrong.
- Don't depend on natural heat. Worms will seek out warm spots in the composter. The process of decomposition generates some heat, but you can't depend on this through a cold winter. So be prepared to:
- Insulate. (Outdoor) Lay hay bales around the composter. Bed down the composter with hay, straw or cow manure for insulation. (Indoor unheated area) or you can put wet newspaper in the bedding, and add dry newspaper on top of that.
- Move the composter to shelter. If your composter is movable, we recommend you move it into a garage or basement.
- Feed pre-chewed food. The worm’s slowdown in the cold. Make your worms' job easier by providing smaller amounts of scraps at a time. Cut the food scraps into small pieces, or I know this sound’s crazy, but freeze your scraps then thaw; this breaks the food down faster.
- Partially bury your plastic bin. You can bury the bottom half of your bin in the ground to keep in the heat. (Non-plastic bins let in too much moisture.)
- Keep the lid on and don't open it more than needed.
If your worms become too chilly, don't have an anxiety attack. They will recover when the weather warms up. They tend to lay eggs before they perish. These eggs survive being frozen solid for up to one year! However, composting will defiantly slow down and you may need to order more worms in the spring.
Don't want to venture out to the compost bin in the winter? There is always an indoor bin like the Worm Factory 360 for convenience and warmth in the kitchen or basement. For all your composting needs checkout Rainbow worms