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Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful!

Yet bin temps are so delightful!
The worms have no place to go!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
🙂

Time for a winter composting update! We were hit with a mega snow storm this weekend (starting on Saturday night) and have a LOT of new snow on the ground. I’m happy to report that conditions in the bin have actually been improving, in spite of all this winter weather! I guess my ‘slow release heating’ strategy is starting to pay-off (if you watched the video you may recall that I chose not to add any water when I filled my bin with organic matter this fall – I wanted the materials to gradually moisten and warm up rather than causing thermophilic conditions in the bin right away).

As I mentioned in my last winter composting post, bin temps have been a wee bit on the low side @ 10-12C (~50-54F) in the warmest parts of the bin. Today the middle of the bin is close to 20C (68F) – almost TOO warm for my liking! While I certainly want the bin to be cozy for the worms, and some decomposition to occur, I would rather keep the temperatures closer to 15C (59F) if at all possible. Hopefully the current warm temps will serve to warm up the rest of the bin somewhat – I noticed that other regions are still quite cool (only a few degrees above freezing around the outer edges).

I added a nice thick layer of aged straw (collected from my tomato garden in November) today as well, which should definitely help insulate the composting mass from above where it needs it the most (I didn’t put any insulation on my lid). As I was adding it I saw a mouse scurry out – it moved too quickly for me to determine its final destination, but I’m pretty sure it is still in the bin. I had at least one in the bin last year as well, but I tried not to get too worked up over it. Worse case scenario, they eat some of the food waste and add some of their own fertilizer to the bin. Some people seem to think they will eat worms, but I find this somewhat doubtful. Guess we’ll see how the worm population looks in a couple months!

The image above shows the view from behind the composter. As you can see I have a wee bit of snow piled up (on the other side of the fence). There is actually a stack of unused pieces of insulation underneath the snow as well! Overkill? Perhaps.
😉

All in all, given the performance of the unit thus far (and we’ve definitely had a decent amount of real winter weather), I’d say things are looking good all winter long! Sure, the coldest days are still ahead, but I’m still very optimistic!

Stay tuned! Many more updates to come!
8)

[tags]winter composting, worm composting, vermicomposting, worm bin, composter, compost bin, thermohpilic composting, red worms, red wigglers[/tags]

Written by Compost Guy on December 17th, 2007 with no comments.
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