A question from Bernie:
I am interested in vermicomposting, however I live in SW Florida. Is there anything I need to know?
If there is anything special about doing this in Florida, where would I find this information.
This is a good question (and actually a topic I was recently discussing with another reader)! Florida certainly presents some challenges for those wanting to get into worm composting – assuming one is planning to set up a system outside. The climate tends to be VERY hot and VERY humid for a good chunk of the year. The problem with this combination is that it can make it really challenging to keep your system cool enough for the worms. In locations with more of a “dry heat” (Arizona etc), you can take advantage of the benefits of evaporative cooling – but this won’t likely be nearly as effective a strategy for Florida vermicomposters (although I’m sure it can vary from one part of the state to the next).
Aside from the climate, you may also encounter issues with various predators, the scariest among them being the predatory flatworm. I’ve read that these creatures can wipe out an entire worm population in very short order, and there’s next to nothing you can do about it. Keeping your system up off the ground should definitely help to reduce the chance of invasion though.
Two other warm-climate, pain-in-the-butt organisms you’ll likely need to deal with are fire ants and black soldier flies (or more specifically, black soldier fly larvae). Neither of them will likely prevent you from vermicomposting, and perhaps if your goal primarily revolves around processing waste materials, you’ll even come to appreciate the BSFLs – but they can sometimes represent the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for those just trying to have fun with their worm composting efforts.
All that being said, I should mention that there are still plenty of people who are successfully vermicomposting in Florida! RWC friend and contributor, Larry “Garbage Guru” Duke, is a prime example (check out his funny solution for getting rid of fire ants >>HERE<<). Another "Larry" who has done well in Florida is worm industry veteran, Larry Martin (of VermiTechnology Unlimited). One thing that may increase your chances of success is the use one of the tropical composting worms - either the Blue Worm (Perionyx excavatus) or the African Nightcrawler (Eudrilus eugeniae) rather than Red Worms, since they can typically tolerate higher temperatures, and are also faster waste-processors at higher temps.
Anyway – I hope this helps a bit!