A week ago I decided I am brave enough to remove all winter fortifications and open up the worm bin to see if any of the wigglers made it through the winter. I have been pessimistic, because I kept an eye on the temperature inside the bin, and there were a couple of days when it dipped below 30F. Well, guess what? A bunch of worms survived!
First I opened the lid and, not surprisingly, found that the contents in the top tray were not decomposed yet, but what I did find were live worms! I was so relieved!
The bottom tray contents were ready for harvest (except for the peanut shells).
The liquid-catching tray had quite a few worms in it, too, and I moved them back to the trays.
Anna helped me to aerate the compressed tray contents to make it a more hospitable environment for the worms.
And we did harvest the vermicompost from the bottom tray.
As always, I was excited to find these tiny baby worms – a good indicator that all is well with the wigglers.
As a part of my worm bin maintenance routine, I sprinkled some BTI granules on top of the tray contents to prevent fly infestations (BTI stands for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis – a bacterium that only infects larvae of insects from the fly family, so it is harmless to bees, frogs, pets and humans).
And I also washed the inside of the lid and rubbed it with neem oil to prevent insects from laying eggs on it (which they do a lot when given the opportunity).
Finally, I added some new organic matter to the top tray (lined with one layer of newspaper to hold the small particles in place). You may notice that this is dehydrated food scraps, and the reason is that I have started using a device known as food cycler (review coming soon) to process my kitchen scraps. I hope the product will be easier for the worms to process.
Now that the worm house is up and running again, I am looking forward to a productive season! I hope not to do anything stupid this time around, but we all know how unlikely that is…