Tuesday, June 09, 2009

In the Heat of the Summer

A new friend of mine on Facebook asked me this question...

I live in Mount Washington, and, unfortunately, have no shade for our house, or yard. I want to have worms to take care of our green waste, but I'm afraid, in the heat of summer, they will die. At its worst, our house averages 95 degrees, even in the kitchen. I'm worried it will kill any red worms I might cultivate. When the weather is favorable, what can I do?

Heather, Here's my advise. First, understand that even in 95 degree weather in the house the ambient temperature of the worm bin will be cooler, as long as you are careful with your bedding and food stock that you do not get any active composting going on.

I would start with a tower compost bin like the Can-O-Worms which you can find on my website. This tower, when all trays are active, will give you a great surface area to feed your worms without the mass of a larger bin that might heat up when food waste is added to the bedding. (Note: you still need to be careful, but with separate trays available for the worms to migrate into, there is less of a chance you will accidently fry your worms.)

Second suggestion, if you want to compost outside, I would first consider proximity to a water source, electricy and the need for you to keep a watchful eye in hot weather. Make sure your bin is out of any prevailing wind, erect an arbor to grow your own shade, set up a misting system to keep the surface of the bin moist without drowning the bin and a small fan to move air over the surface of the bin. The air movement will cool the bin like a cool breeze cools you in the heat of summer.

I hope this helps all of you to worm bin compost no matter what your conditions are.

VermiCulture Northwest