Winter Worm Windrow – 12-09-09

Winter Worm Windrow Under Snow
Finally looking like a real winter worm composting extravaganza!

Figured I might as well include a winter windrow update along with the winter cat litter bed update I just posted. As mentioned, a big winter storm has hit our region and things are finally starting to look pretty wintry out there!

Things have been a little crazy as of late (those on the newsletter list will know why), so unfortunately I haven’t done quite as much work with this bed as I had hoped to do by now – and this neglect is starting to show.

Last time I reported that temperatures in the bed seemed to be right in the range I wanted to see (20 C / 68 F), but clearly there has been a temperature drop since then!

I actually did manage to get over to my dad’s place last week and we started bringing over some of the rotten straw bales from the old winter worm composting bed. We even added the material to the windrow – but I am starting to realize that the bed really needs a fair amount more material.

I’m still very optimistic though. My dad and I also brought over a LOT of wet coffee grounds that had been sitting in open containers out in his yard (reminds me, I really need to write a post about the worms we found in this stuff!). As I’ve written before, coffee grounds seem to be an excellent material for generating heat, so I’m hopeful that adding a bunch of it will help to get things back in the range I want to see.

I also have my jumbo food scrap bags which are still getting filled with food. My plan is to fill three of them, then bring them inside to warm up before adding the material to the bed. Hoping to also get a hold of some more straw bales (new and rotten), so that should really help in terms of keeping everything nicely insulated.

Stay tuned!

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Winter Cat Litter Composting – 12-09-09


  1. It looks really cold there. You are in Canada right? I am in South Carolina and the coldest yet night this season was about just below freezing. I still worry about my outdoor bins. I don’t think I could deal with those cold temps. Guess I am spoiled. I love your website. I have been following it for a while now. Thanks for all the interesting post. I am trying to follow suit and do the same kind of thing because of the limited new and original info available. I am still learning HTML though.
    Thanks bunches,

    • Bentley
    • December 11, 2009

    I am indeed in Canada – but Southern Ontario, so one of the warmer parts of the country (not saying much – haha).
    As I’ve been writing recently in the newsletter, cold weather worm composting simply depends on insulation and warmth. If you are going to have temperatures below freezing and you only have smallish “bins” sitting outside, it might not be a bad idea to either bring them in or find some way to insulate them.
    If they are larger it should be easier to keep them from freezing.

  2. Hi Bentley, just a recommendation…molasses (or other sugar product) can really get those micro-organisms revved up and help generate heat in a compost pile. So, if anybody is doing holiday baking and finds a year old jar of molasses, maple syrup, clumped sugar source, last years fruit cake,
    etc….those would be a great addition in a small area of an outdoor bin or regular compost pile. In a worm bin, I wouldn’t place it in a large section, as it may generate enough heat to cause a problem…but should be ok to try out in a limited section. Many organic gardeners (me included) use dry or horticultural liquid molasses to keep micro-organisms up in the garden.
    If anybody tries this, I would love to hear…Texas usually doesn’t get too cold, but if I see it might get down into the teens at some point, I am adding horse manure and molasses in a section of my outdoor bin (then covering with leaves and hay and black cloth).

    • Bentley
    • December 16, 2009

    That is a fantastic idea, Heather. Truth be told – I need all the help I can get at this point. Just haven’t have the time to nurture my windrow, and the cold has been taking a toll. Almost thinking about trying out something with those strings of rope lights I wrote about (in the recent worm bin heating post).
    I do indeed have lots of molasses – and even have a bottle of bokashi microbes (which contains molasses as well), so I am definitely going to give that a shot (along with adding a BUNCH more material warmed up inside the house). Fingers crossed i can get things back on track! Would hate to be derailed before I even get started here!
    Thanks again

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