Hi! Thanks so much for such an informative site and my apologies if my
query has been posed before. I have an old wine crate with a sliding
lid and have decided to use it for a 1/4# of worms. I just laid
bedding (shredded newspaper, cardboard and some leaves) and some
vegetable waste into it in anticipation of my worms’ arrival in about
2 weeks. My concern is: I live in Texas where it gets (obviously) very
hot in the summer. I plan to keep my worms outside in an area that is
shaded all the time, but it is still going to be SO HOT, even in the
shade, for the next several months. Will my worms be okay?
Thanks again for your time!
Interesting question! Let me start by saying that you would definitely have at least one good thing going for you, based on the system you’ve described. When vermicomposting outdoors during hot weather it’s a really good idea to use something at least semi-breathable. A plastic bin outdoors in Texas heat would be a death sentence for most worms I suspect.
Wooden bins are great because they allow for moisture release, which results in an evaporative cooling effect. The trade-off, however, is that you can end up losing a lot of moisture quite quickly. This brings us to the potential downside of your approach. I’m not 100% sure of the dimensions of this box of yours, but when I think of “wine crate” I picture something relatively small. I have a sneaking suspicion you may have a heck of a time trying to keep everything moist inside – even with it sitting in the shade.
Something that might help is partial burial in the ground (may help you keep things cooler as well). Perhaps having a rotation of frozen water bottles (with small perforations for slow moisture release) would be another way to make this work. One last suggestion would be to line the inside of the box with corrugated cardboard or some other breathable material so as to at least provide an extra layer of protection (while still allowing moisture release)
Bottom-line – I definitely think it may be do-able, Sarah, but you may have your work cut out for you!
By the way, you may also want to check this other “Reader Questions” post related to vermicomposting in hot/arid regions:
Vermicomposting in Arid Regions
Hope this helps!