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Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:53 PM

Everything I've read about worm composting says that the worms don't like it under 40 degrees

It's been getting down into the mid 30s at night.

It seems to me like the dirt itself would retain heat and keep the worms warm enough.

What do y'all think?

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:01 PM

1. The compost should be generating heat.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 07:08 AM

2. The worms that are in the ground, (night crawler types) usually go deeper as temps drop...

and the types that people have in boxes, (like me) need some form of heat if outside. They will perish if the surrounding temps get near freezing. I have a small heater in my shed with the worm box, and I don't harvest the casting before winter, as that becomes a sort of insulator for them. I have had my worm batch for five years now, and temperature extremes are always a threat.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 10:51 AM

3. They can dig down 2' or more to avoid the cold. Worm composting works best in the house, like under

 

the kitchen sink or in the basement. They're amazingly efficient. I've got outdoor compost bins and I toss a lot of worms in with the mix. They break it down very quickly and the bins are a thick black plastic so they actually stay pretty warm even in the coldest weather. I'm not sure what you have them in, but if there's a clear path to the natural soil under it they will just dig down and come back up in the spring.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 12:12 PM

4. bout to put mine back outside, tho.

 

i have had them under the sink, and had infestations of ants and right now, fruit flies.
getting a little frustrated with the whole enterprise. i had them outside all summer, then brought them back in just in time to fight fruit flies all over my xmas cookies. yumm.

the ones i have put in my outdoor compost wintered over fine.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 04:47 PM

5. DO NOT put the worms outside!!!! Solutions below...

 

Ants: Follow their path (which is sort of obvious by their coming and going) and put down boric acid around the entry way. That will knock them out in about two weeks.

Fruit Flies - use an empty soda can or bottle and fill it about 1/4 full of vinegar with a little fruit juice. Also put up pull-out fly paper hanging traps. Between the two, you'll be good in about a week. They breed VERY quickly (like a day or two for a brood). Get that going immediately

If you put the worms outside, they'll probably die. It's too late in the season to put them out even in an open-bottom container. You have to do that by the end of October so they have time to burrow down for the winter. Under the sink is the best way to raise them.

Don't worry about cats - they aren't interested unless the things are crawling on the floor. They'll kill them, but won't eat them. If you DO have cats, keep the boric acid out of their reach. It won't hurt them in the long run, but it will make them bloated, cough up hair balls, and probably get the screaming shits.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 04:51 PM

6. i have a sheltered spot. and ants- diatomescious (sp?) earth

 

is amazing in its ant repelling powers.

it is actually warm here still, which is why it is a problem. i had tried the bottle/trap thing, but haven't had too much luck.
fly strips, tho, i can try.

i had many winter over last year, tho. and it is supposed to be mild.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 05:05 PM

7. Not so much with ants. That's more for slugs.

 

It's just a highly abrasive sand-like substance that rips them open. Slugs die. Ants will just go around it or over it. Same with roaches. Boric acid is taken back to the nest and causes them to explode from the inside (gross, I know, but true). It kills the entire nest, including the queen. DE is a mixed bag. It will take care of nasty things but will also kill earth worms. I won't use it.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 11:21 PM

8. i wiped out my aphid problems on my fruit trees with the stuff.

 

tied a small cord around the tree branches, then covered it with the stuff. although they sent out soldiers to try to cross it, the ants were gone in days, and therefore the aphids.
shit is magic.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 10:45 AM

9. Plant pennyroyal around the base of the tree. Ants hate the shit.

 

It's also an EXCELLENT mosquito/black fly repellent - just snap off a two inch branch and rub it on your arms and face. It's not as gross as the shit in commercial chemical stuff and doesn't make your nose burn like citronella can. I've gotten rid of entire ant nests just by crushing a few branches and distributing them around the mound. It really freaks the fuckers out! Fun to watch. It doesn't kill them, but inspires them to go elsewhere. They can't stand it.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 01:45 PM

10. I keep mine in the laundry room.

I tried the garage, but found they don't like it too hot OR too cold. If they get outside of their comfort zone they are not productive. Mine have never outright died, but they don't digest the refuse in a timely manner.

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