Well, spring has finally, consistently “sprung”. It’s still unseasonably cool…but I’ll take what I can get!
Joking aside, it’s actually fantastic weather for composting worms. My outdoor systems are loaded with them! One such system is the “Vermi-Fertilization” bin I left in my raised bed garden over the winter.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect this spring given how cold and long the winter was this year – and how little I did to protect the worms in this system (absolutely nothing). Checking on the bin early in the spring and finding the material rock-hard-frozen did nothing to instill more confidence in me.
Once it finally had thawed, I decided to do a pretty serious excavation – digging out most of the material and putting in another bin – to see if I could find any worms. Amazingly, the system was loaded with them. And these were definitely not just new hatchlings (although there were plenty of them) – there were loads of big adults as well.
I was amazed how quickly/easily I was able to clean out the bin. One of the “disadvantages” of this sort of approach (vs simply adding worm castings to your garden) is that you will need to clean out the bin each season for best results. I figured it would be a really laborious process – especially lifting the bin out of the hole – but it ended up being a piece of cake. The fact that the container can be removed certainly offers some advantages over a typical pit or trench.
Since cleaning the system out I have simply been using it as a Red Worm holding bin (filling it with worm-rich material and then removing as needed for harvesting). It seems to work very well in this capacity as well – keeps moisture in, warms up more quickly than other beds, and keeps the worms semi-contained. I think it even drew in more Red Worms that had moved out into the raised bed.
When I get the garden going, I’ll be sure to once again get it up and running as a vermi-fertilization system, though!