Winter Worm Windrow – 01-16-10

Remote Weather Monitor
Not QUITE as warm as I would like to see!

Some of you may recall that my dad and I attempted to monitor temperatures in our big worm bed (sitting in his backyard) last year using a remote weather station (first written about here: Winter Worm Composting – 12-08-08). Well, it didn’t end up working quite as effectively as we had hoped, so we ended up sticking with our trusty long-stemmed thermometer for temp readings in the bed.

Remote Weather Monitor

Perhaps my dad is stubborn (like me), or simply an optimist, because this year for Christmas he ended up giving me yet another one of these systems to try out (in my own winter windrow)!

I guess I am an optimist too, since I found myself working quickly (by my standards) to get the system up and running in the bed (i.e. it didn’t end up sitting in a closet until next winter – haha). Now that it is up and running, I am even more excited about it – actually seeing a live reading from the bed (as low as it seems to be) is just really cool!

I obviously didn’t just want to toss the monitor in the bed without any sort of protection. Even though it is designed to be weather-proof, somehow I doubt there would EVER be weather conditions that would come close to what you’d find in the middle of an active compost pile! So, I decided to toss it into a sealed ziplock bag full of drink-tray cardboard shreds, which will hopefully help to keep it nice and dry (not to mention clean).

When I took some readings yesterday using my regular compost thermometer, temps seemed to be all over the map. Initially, it looked really dismal, with most of the temps basically down around the 4-6 C (~ 39-43 F) range, but then I suddenly found a zone that had temps up between 25 and 30 C (77-86 F)!! Very odd!

Hopefully things will start to balance themselves out a bit. After turning the rope lights off the other day, I ended up deciding to turn them on once again, at least until things seem to really be back on track!

As you can see in the first picture – the location where my remote temperature sensor is sitting is still pretty cool! I just looked again and temps seem to have risen up to 7.2 C (44.96 F), and it is cloudy today, so it’s at least warmer than when I was taking readings earlier in the week!

Anyway – it should be fun to keep an eye on temps using this remote monitor! Makes me feel like I have my own high-tech composting operation! haha

Previous Winter Worm Windrow Posts
Winter Worm Composting Windrow
Winter Worm Windrow – 12-03-09
Winter Worm Windrow – 12-09-09
Winter Worm Windrow – 01-12-10
Winter Worm Windrow – 01-13-10

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    • mark NZ
    • January 17, 2010

    Have you any info or experience of using Neem oil in a wormery? I’ve found a couple of articles that say Neem is good for ‘earthworms’. I’m wondering if it could be good for removing some of the critters (cockroaches etc) from a wormery without harming the worms?

    • Mike
    • January 17, 2010

    Looks interesting. Maybe you should add some of those desiccant packs that come with electronics to the bag with the remote sensor.

  1. Will those sshreds of cardboard and the air in the ziploc bag not insulate your sensor from the surrounding temperature?

    • Bentley
    • January 19, 2010

    Hi Mark – I have never tried it myself, but MY hunch would be that any potent oil like that would not be great in a worm composting system. Worms are pretty sensitive to oils in general, and the really potent ones (such as the oil in cedar) can actually harm/kill them.

    I’d certainly love to find out more though, if someone has positive experience with this.

    My own approach is to focus more on optimizing for the worms, rather than fighting off the other critters that end up in the bin.

    • Bentley
    • January 19, 2010

    Mike – that’s a great idea, and something that DID come to mind – I guess the question was where to get some. Also, I guess when I think about it, I’m not super-concerned that it be bone dry in there – probably better if it isn’t actually. This thing is designed to sit outside in all sorts of weather, so a little moisture certainly won’t hurt…hopefully.

    • Bentley
    • January 19, 2010

    Catherine – I think the holding bag would certainly delay the temperature reading-changes somewhat, but since there is no heat being generated in the bag there would really only be so long before the contents would equalize with the surrounding environment.
    That’s my thinking anyway!

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