What about this idea to keep worms warm in winter?

chrissy752001(z5 Chicago)April 27, 2006

I was thinking, after reading old posts, about ideas to keep worms warm in colder climates during the winter. Right now we only have one bin which is easily kept inside, but what if I wanted to go all out and have alot of bins. What would I do to keep worms warm through a Chicago winter. Then thought how about building a cabinate out of 2x4's and plywood, line it with insulation and then piping in your dryer exhaust air to it?

We do laundry with our family every day. So say if we made it big enough to hold about 5 bins stack was think an hour or 2 a day to get it warmed up from the dryer exhaust would make it nice an toastly in there for the worms.

This is a total hypothetical so not actually planning to do it. But never know it may be something considered later on. Do you all think this would work?

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squeeze(z8 BC)

no - an hour or 2 of warm [not hot] and very humid air wouldn't do more than irritate the worms - any warmth imparted to a free standing small structure would be lost in a really short time, leaving that humidity to rot the structure and frost it up inside - be better to have a heating pade under each bin on a thermostat :)

all that's needed for outdoor worms in winter is a good size bin [not a bunch of small ones] surrounded with some insulating material [bales of hay work well] and covered with a good layer of dry organic material, like hay or leaves - the worms look after themselves fine


Here is a link that might be useful: an outdoor bin

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 6:32PM
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heidi41(z5 Mass)

I was thinking of building a plywood and styrofaom type bin in my barn. The barn is unheated. The chickens have their laying boxes in one part of the barn. Do you think I would still need to box it in with straw bales or hay bales? The chicken waterers DO FREEZE up in the winter, so it still gets mighty cold in that barn. Any suggestions on a barn box for the worms? HEIDI

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 12:17PM
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wfike(8, Atlanta, Ga.)

I found out something in an experiment the other day. I had some already composted manure, leaves, and newspaper that had gone through the heat of composting. The temp. of the bed pretty well stayed anoung the temp outside which was around 60 degrees 50 night and 75 day. I took some fresh horse manure and put it on top of the bed and watered it in good. They next afternoon the bed went to 90 degrees and has been hovering around 85/90 every since then. been that way for 3 weeks now. may be a good way to heat the beds in the cold weather. bed is 4'x 4' by 2' deep and I used 5 gals of manure.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 7:53PM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

It depends on your winter. I've seen large piles of fresh, hot manure eventually cool and freeze in winter. I have read of insulated bins that can work even in the north although I'm unsure of aux. heating.
Basically I'm with Bill on this - the only reliable way is with a heat pad (I use the type used to start seed flats) or heat tape.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 9:17PM
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I can tell you that going all out with lots of bins can probably be accommodated indoors (your garage, or basement, or a combination of all those spaces). With plastic bins, a large amount of worms can be stacked in a pretty small space.

I had 40-18 gallon bins of worms in my garage & storage room last winter with great results.

Stack em up!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 10:06PM
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I do not treat my worms any different in winter. I fill the bin with compostables and the worms and let it fend for itself. The worms that have relocated in the garden over the years(5) are multiplying. Instead of 0 worms per square foot, now 20.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 1:50PM
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Yes. Here in Maine, I EXPECT any redworms that I add in the spring to die in my outdoor compost pile over the winter. No problem because my many indoor bins make lots of worms November through April.

This was a very mild winter here and for the first year in 6, I found some survivors in March. When the bin thawed I found some redworms on the surface that scattered when I opened the lid. Apparently the pile was not completely frozen (it is a black plastic circle about 4' tall by 3' diameter).

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:12AM
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Redworms usually die when soil temps drop to near below about 35-40 degrees F. I don't know how hardy cocoons are (as far as low temps?), but the coocoons can hatch in 5-10 weeks. Possibly this is hatching rate slowed by cool temps (?). If so, then I suppose the cocoons that were laid before coldest period could be dormant and hatch when it warms up (up to 10 weeks later) and be growing in early spring.

What have others found?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:17AM
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