Spring worm bin maintenance: they survived winter!

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Hello everyone!

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!

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The bottom tray contents were ready for harvest (except for the peanut shells).

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The liquid-catching tray had quite a few worms in it, too, and I moved them back to the trays.

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You may have noticed the yellow shriveled-looking fragments on the worms. I suspect this is their equivalent of frost bite… So even though they did survive, I have to come up with better frost protection next winter.

Anna helped me to aerate the compressed tray contents to make it a more hospitable environment for the worms.

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And we did harvest the vermicompost from the bottom tray.

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As always, I was excited to find these tiny baby worms – a good indicator that all is well with the wigglers.

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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).

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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).

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This is the lid pre-cleaning.

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.

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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…

4 thoughts on “Spring worm bin maintenance: they survived winter!

  1. Good for the worms! And nice to see how much fun you are having with them! I have never ventured into worms, though I’m excited every time I come across one in my soil. Reading your posts on worms makes me feel I’m missing something!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoy reading my posts about the little wigglers! That said, though, I believe that if you have the space (and it looks like you do), a good-old compost bin is the best solution. It’s low maintenance, and the worms still come, so you get the best of both worlds. I use worms, because it is faster than regular compost, and I can do it vertically in a tower (saving space), but I have to worry about them surviving extreme temperatures. During the summer heat waves, I actually have to put ice packs in there daily to make sure they don’t cook. But in a compost pile, when it gets too hot, the worms simply bury deeper into the soil. Long story short – I don’t think you are missing much 🙂 If you feel like playing with the worms – just dig into the ripe compost, they’ll be there!

      Liked by 1 person

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