I decided to check on the winter vermicomposting windrow today. We’ve been having some pretty cold weather as of late, and I’ve been a little worried about the heap cooling off too much. Normally, when the bed is nice and warm I can see obvious snow melting zones up on top. It did look as though there was SOME melting (so I knew we weren’t in serious trouble by any means), but I had a sneaking suspicion that temps might be lower than I want them to be at this time of year.
Well, as it turns out, I didn’t have anything to worry about – looks at though much of the bed is up in the 20 C (68 F) range!
The one thing I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that I have a REALLY thick layer of insulation (leaves and hay) at the moment (added even more leaves today) – so that’s probably why there isn’t as much heat making it up to the tarp zone.
I didn’t add any actual food materials today, but I did start up a big scrap-holder using one of my big plastic garbage cans. Some of you may remember the “Jumbo Food Scrap Holder” bags I made last year. This is a similar idea but I’ve opted to use a larger container this time around.
The first thing I did was add some cardboard down in the bottom as a means of soaking up excess moisture that drips down from the rotting food waste. Next I added some leafy yard waste material. Then I simply added alternating layers of food wastes (a lot of it has been sitting down in my chest freezer for awhile) and yard waste.
The bin is sitting just outside my back door and I will continue to add materials until it is completely full. At that point I will bring it in and let it sit for at least a few days down in my basement. Depending on how much settling of material occurs, I may then continue to add room temperature wastes until it is jammed full.
The idea here is that I’ll be able to avoid opening up the tarp all the time (releasing valuable heat), plus I’ll be able to add a big warm mass of wastes all at once which should really help to stimulate additional heating in the bed.