A question from Kathy A:
I built a vermbin 48 a couple of years ago, it survives on neglect for the most part. My worms don’t ever get to the fat wiggly size, and I don’t have a huge quantity of them. It’s in my basement, which is cool 55-60 degrees. Suggestions?
As I’ve shown with my “Insurance Bin” experiment, it is not difficult AT ALL to keep a culture of Red Worms going for many months on end with virtually no additional food (and relatively little bedding).
But there is definitely a decent difference between “survive” and “thrive” (as discussed in my “80/20 Vermicomposting” post).
Lower numbers of smaller worms is a tell-tale sign of neglect – but the good news is that it’s a situation easily remedied! Simply add more food and bedding, on a somewhat regular basis.
I recently “rescued” yet another badly neglected (very small) bin of mine by moving a lot of the worms over to a larger bin containing aged manure and various other goodies. Within a few weeks the worms went from tiny, very dark in color, to “normal” or even “big” in size, with bright coloration, striping etc and they are happily breeding away as well.
I haven’t gone overboard with feeding at all – but, for the first time in many months, I am actually paying attention to the system and providing them with some new food periodically. Amazing how big an impact something so simple can have.
Temperature is another factor to watch. The “ideal” temperature range for Red Worms is more like 20-30C (68-86F). But the good news for a system as big as a VB48 is that bulking it up with a fair bit more bedding, and feeding more regularly should help to stimulate more microbial heating, which will bump temps up for sure.
When I had my VB48 down in our (cool) basement, it seemed like I was spending more time trying to keep it cool (sometimes in pretty ridiculous ways) than warm!
Anyway – I hope this helps!