I accidentally hot composted in one of my big basement bins. I had been trying the scoot-all-the-old-stuff-to-one-side method of harvesting and then put new food on the other. But with the garden producing like mad, I ended up having layers of wet food and bedding that got super hot.
Well, I took out most of it, but left what looked almost completely mush, and hoped the worms were OK. That was about a week ago. Since then the bin has been cooler, but the worms really haven't recovered. They hadn't moved into the new food, or been very active. They looked flabby, and sticky and... icky.
I wondered if the excess of food had made the bin acidic. I don't have a ph probe, but I do have a soil kit that tests samples, so I took three samples. They came out all in various, but widely ranging, acidic levels. The test is not very precise, you just match the color the sample turns to the color chart enclosed, and the approximations were 2.0, 4.0 and 6.0.
I had some Espoma brand garden lime (dolomite) for my tomato plants, and even though it is pelletized, it says it is the same type that is sometime recommended for worm bins. So, I added about a 3 tablespoons to a cup of water and stirred it up, then poured it over a small section of the bin.
About an hour later, I checked the bin, and lifted up the bedding under where I had poured the dolomite water. I could feel something squirming under my fingers through my gloves. When I looked, it appeared that every worm in the bin was in a ball right where I had poured the dolomite water.
So, I got Hubby to help me heft the bin outside, and mixed up 1/2 cup of dolomite to about 1/2 gallon of rain water, and poured it over the bin. Every visible worm immediately stopped moving and when prodded did not react at all.
I thought I had killed the whole batch!!
I then doused the whole bin with another gallon of plain rain water (all I had left) and the worms wiggled and looked fine right away. After most of the runoff had stopped, I checked the Ph in three samples again and got 7.0, 7.0, and 6.0.
The worms are looking much more vigorous, and have moved into the mushy food.
So, that was my adventure with garden lime.