PLANNING FOR WINTER

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snowmageddonNovember already yikes!  Not long to go now folks, the cold weather is bound to set in soon and freeze up is imminent.  There are a few things you can do to ensure a healthy indoor worm bin over the next few months.  One reason that bins can stall or slowdown during the winter is temperature, make sure your bin stays warm.  You can place it in the warmest room of your house or rig up a small heating system.  Optimal bin temperature is 78 to 83 degrees farenheit, or 26-30 celsius.  Keep in mind that red wigglers come from tropical climates.  In places where they thrive like India, they can tolerate 45 C easily.  Don’t be surprised if you aren’t finding eggs during winter, temperature is strongly tied to mating, if you want eggs bump up the temp.

Because indoor bins are a “closed” ecosystem, it’s always a good idea to set aside some outdoor compost before it freezes on you.  You can use this “sample” to boost and balance your bins bacterial content half way through the winter.  In a closed system, certain bacteria can “take over” a bin if left on their own with no new input.  By adding a fresh batch of compost after a few months you’ll prevent any stalling of your bin.  If you don’t have any composting outside ask a friend to grab a bucketful to stash away for winter.

Another easy way to give your bin a midwinter boost is to add some natural bedding.  Run around your neighbourhood now collecting up a bag of dried leaves to use in the dark months ahead.  You may want to find some straw or dried grass clippings, this will not only contribute to the bacterial content of your bin but also improve the quality of your castings.  The composted bedding is what make for light and fluffy vermicast.  Bins can also tend to get a little water-logged and bedding will balance the moisture content too.

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