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Effective Worm Composting in the Winter


Winter Worm Composting Tips

Composting worms is best during the warm seasons of the year when the temperature is pleasant and warm, perfect for the health and growth of your red wriggler worms. The warmer temperatures assure you of a lesser risk as compared to the colder temperatures because warm temperatures can easily be remedied by the addition of moisture-adding ingredients into the compost bin.

On the other hand, the colder temperature of the winter season exposes your compost worms to the disadvantage of extremely cold conditions which is worm bin inactivity. W

hen this happens, you lose a valuable source of natural fertilizer for your organic gardening activities! That is why it is very important to protect your worms from the winter cold.

So is there a way for you to keep your red worms warm and working even though snow flakes are falling? Yes, there are ways to keep your worms warm and your worm composting system working through the cold season.

Can Compost Worms Survive in the Winter?

Worm composting is all about keeping the conditions inside the bin pleasant for your worms to function effectively. Your worms want the atmosphere inside the bin to be agreeable and warm and not biting and cold if they are to work and compost.

That is why one of the keys to composting worms throughout the winter is keeping them warm inside their bins; to do that you have to create a considerable amount of microbial heat. You also have to insulate the compost bin system for the purpose of retaining as much heat as possible.


Tips for Worm Composting In Winter

Filling your bin damp newspapers above the bedding and dry ones at the top will provide the bin with warmth and insulation.

Avoid putting kitchen scraps like banana peels since it will be hard for the microbes to break down because of the cold temperature. Add lots of blended foods so that your worms can easing eat them. Avoid opening the bin too often as this will expose it to freezing temperatures. This will avoid loss of heat that you are trying to preserve and build up for your bin.

Another good idea is to bury half of your bin in the ground. As we all know, the temperature under the ground is warmer compared to the temperature above. This way, the sides of your bin will be kept warm enough for your worms. Just make sure that you line your bin with plastics to make it waterproof.

If these insulation techniques are not enough, you can insulate your bin by burying the top with fallen leaves. This will maintain its warm temperature but provide room for air circulation through the holes of your bin.

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Keep Your Worms Warm During Winter

However there is a difference between sustaining the lives of your worms throughout the winter and effectively composting worms throughout the winter. Your worms are very tough creatures. They do not die easily of cold weather unless they freeze to death. Therefore keeping them alive during cold times is not really a pressing concern.

What would be a pressing concern is their ability to work and compost efficiently. Effective worm composting during the winter requires that heat is produced for the compost bin environment. If done right, you could be composting worms in your winter parka and thick mittens before you know it.

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Dallas the Worm Man on June 25, 2012:

Great article.

It's important to remember that we are talking about ground temperature, not outdoor temperature. The ground temperature can't go below freezing or above 90*F - these are death points for worms.

Check my blog out at

keeping your worms warm on February 05, 2010:

worms assully need 60-80 digrees in fanrenheit to keep worn if not they will die. so that what it is.

June on November 08, 2009:

This is going to be my first year composting in the snow. I have a tumbling composter half full of active compost and a decent amount of red worms. They're happy now, but this winter we will have 1-2 feet of snow. The only way I can figure to protect the worms is by adding a lot of manure and straw. I probably will not rotate the tumbler every day. Insulating will be a problem with a tumbler. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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