Posts Tagged ‘red worms’

5 Fascinating facts about Red Wigglers

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

There are a lot of things that you might not know about when it comes to vermicomposting worms, particularly about red wiggler worms. Now, these slimy creatures aren’t just your typical compost critters. You’ll be surprised at how much strange yet fascinating things these worms can live by on, on a daily basis.

Composting worms can still function without them having the usual body parts
Compost worms are born without bearing any of the usual body parts, so it’s not just the red wiggler kind. Worms have no eyes, ears, lungs, nor any teeth for chewing. So you might be wondering as to how they function without these vital parts. Well, worms are able to adapt to their surroundings. They may not have the pair of eyes nor ears for sensing the things around them. But they do rely on the vibrations and bright lights that come their way. As for the lungs, their skin has been its substitute. Worms breathe through their moist skin. So keeping them under extreme conditions (surroundings that are too wet or too dry) may actually lead them to experience health complications. Aside from all of these, worms aren’t also born with any teeth. But you’ll know how they go about their food intake on the next topic.
Worms don’t usually fed on food scraps
It all makes sense since composting worms don’t have any teeth in them. But of course, how do they feed themselves, right? Well, here’s where the good bacteria and fungi comes into the picture. The microbes and the fungi that are present in the worm composting system are the ones that are working into breaking down the organic scraps.
In a usual worm bin setup, composting worms are essentially provided with an organic bedding and organic food source. But the ones that feed off of these are actually the microorganisms contained inside the worm bin. That’s why it’s also important that the worms keep the bin contents aerated, so that these microbes get a steady oxygen fix. So, the next time you buy worms, make sure to remember this interesting fact.
Worms are invertebrates
Just imagine a red wiggler worm that has no bones in its body. But you can see how able-bodied these soil creatures can still be, especially when it comes to wiggling and crawling their way on the surface. But even if they have no bones, their body still requires some calcium flowing into their system. You can provide red wigglers with calcium rich organics, like eggshells for example (should be the crushed type).
Red wiggler worms aren’t called surface dwellers for nothing
Don’t expect your worms to burrow no more than 18 inches deeper. They’re simply not accustomed to that depth since they’re born as surface dwellers. Only earthworms such as garden worms can burrow at much lower ranges. Now, red wiggler worms are Epigeic. They are the kind of worms that only thrive when placed on soil surfaces. So note of this fact when you do decide to manage your own worm farm of red wiggler worms.
Pests inside the worm composter are more of a human disturbance than to red wigglers
Vermicomposting worms can be made into fish baits or as live food for birds, moles, raccoons, lizards, and other animals. But when they’re securely contained inside the bin, nothing can harm them (except for extreme and unhealthy conditions of course). Even if mites, black soldier flies or ants are found inside the worm composter, you can be assured that these won’t harm nor feed on your compost worms. They will be more of a disturbance to humans, since these can contribute to spoiling the contents of the bin, or even overpowering the worm population.

There are a lot of things that you might not know about when it comes to vermicomposting worms, particularly about red wiggler worms. Now, these slimy creatures aren’t just your typical compost critters. You’ll be surprised at how much strange yet fascinating things these worms can live by on, on a daily basis.

Composting worms can still function without them having the usual body parts

Compost worms are born without bearing any of the usual body parts, so it’s not just the red wiggler kind. Worms have no eyes, ears, lungs, nor any teeth for chewing. So you might be wondering as to how they function without these vital parts. Well, worms are able to adapt to their surroundings. They may not have the pair of eyes nor ears for sensing the things around them. But they do rely on the vibrations and bright lights that come their way. As for the lungs, their skin has been its substitute. Worms breathe through their moist skin. So keeping them under extreme conditions (surroundings that are too wet or too dry) may actually lead them to experience health complications. Aside from all of these, worms aren’t also born with any teeth. But you’ll know how they go about their food intake on the next topic.

Worms don’t usually fed on food scraps

It all makes sense since composting worms don’t have any teeth in them. But of course, how do they feed themselves, right? Well, here’s where the good bacteria and fungi comes into the picture. The microbes and the fungi that are present in the worm composting system are the ones that are working into breaking down the organic scraps.

In a usual worm bin setup, composting worms are essentially provided with an organic bedding and organic food source. But the ones that feed off of these are actually the microorganisms contained inside the worm bin. That’s why it’s also important that the worms keep the bin contents aerated, so that these microbes get a steady oxygen fix. So, the next time you buy worms, make sure to remember this interesting fact.

Worms are invertebrates

Just imagine a red wiggler worm that has no bones in its body. But you can see how able-bodied these soil creatures can still be, especially when it comes to wiggling and crawling their way on the surface. But even if they have no bones, their body still requires some calcium flowing into their system. You can provide red wigglers with calcium rich organics, like eggshells for example (should be the crushed type).

Red wiggler worms aren’t called surface dwellers for nothing

Don’t expect your worms to burrow no more than 18 inches deeper. They’re simply not accustomed to that depth since they’re born as surface dwellers. Only earthworms such as garden worms can burrow at much lower ranges. Now, red wiggler worms are Epigeic. They are the kind of worms that only thrive when placed on soil surfaces. So note of this fact when you do decide to manage your own worm farm of red wiggler worms.

Pests inside the worm composter are more of a human disturbance than to red wigglers

Vermicomposting worms can be made into fish baits or as live food for birds, moles, raccoons, lizards, and other animals. But when they’re securely contained inside the bin, nothing can harm them (except for extreme and unhealthy conditions of course). Even if mites, black soldier flies or ants are found inside the worm composter, you can be assured that these won’t harm nor feed on your compost worms. They will be more of a disturbance to humans, since these can contribute to spoiling the contents of the bin, or even overpowering the worm population.

Got the Can’t Compost in the City Blues? Time for a New Song…

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

You are a new-age, eco-minded urban type who takes the time to recycle, to bring cloth bags along to shop. You ride your bike around town to avoid clogging up the ozone layer and use real plates and cloth napkins in lieu of paper. Despite all your great effort – you feel like you aren’t completely green, and despite what Kermit the Frog sang, it really IS easy being green, even in the city.

With all community effort being turned towards composting in the city (www.growNY.com among others) now is the time to take your eco-lifestyle to the next level with a few indoor-composting tips for space or yard-challenged city dwellers.

Buy a Bin
Get one that will fit in a pantry or cupboard and is about two foot high.  Drill holes in the base for drainage. Set it up on top of a dish drainer or plastic tray to catch the excess and you’re ready to add your organic materials. (Check out indoor compost bins)

Worms are Your Friends
The first step to indoor composting is understanding that to be successful, you must compost with worms. Red worms, to be exact, are the key to indoor composting.  This doesn’t mean that you have to go out in your yard with a flashlight and find them. Red wrigglers are grown for composters and can be found here. This hearty breed of worm loves warm temperatures and thrives in indoor bins.

Layer it Up

Fill the bottom twelve inches or so of your bin with damp leaves, sawdust, non-toxic newspaper, glass clipping or shredded leaves.   Make sure these materials are damp with no dry spots – this helps the worms stay moist and healthy.  Add your worms (link to red wrigglers page) at a rate of about 500 worms for every cubic foot of worm bin space. It sounds like a lot of wriggly little guys, but they’ll get along well.

Feed the Tenants

What you out in your worm bin is key to the health of your worms and the quality of your compost. Your kitchen scraps like coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable leavings and grains are a great source for your worms. Do not use meat scraps or bones, garlic or dairy products. Your worms won’t like garlic either, so avoid it in your bin. Throw in a handful of soil during each feeding as a special treat.

Watch and Wait

Within about five months, give or take, you’ll see the bottom your bin fill with rich, loamy soil that you can use to feed your plants, trees, garden and lawn. You need to nothing more than harvest this and continue feeding those hungry little worms.  As with any other “pet”. Keeping an eye on the condition of your worms is necessary. They should breed quickly and thrive in their new home. If you are concerned about the lifespan of condition of your new “room mates”, contact us.

Live Worms Familiarization

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Knowing that there are a lot of available live worms or live earthworms is something good. You know that you are being provided with the kind of information that will help you with your organic composting or profit-making needs. Earthworms especially the nightcrawler or red worm type can be sold to commercial breeders (their castings can also be sold separately), dealers (those who sell to aquariums and laboratories), and to fishermen (can be used as bait for fish). Not only that, you also get a chance to provide exotic pets (especially if you have some birds, reptiles, and amphibians for pets) with some live worm feed.

Earthworms, whether you use them as live fishing worms or live bait worms can be obtained from people who owns fish. They are also likely to have a bunch of these if they’re into fishing for a living (it will also be a good to idea to look for fish clubs or well-known fish shops in close proximity to your area). Other than that, you can also get a hold of these worms through specialty stores (you may check gardening and worm composting stores online that offer live worm cultures like GardenWorms.com). But if you want to get them inexpensively and right away (you’ll no longer need to buy out for a new batch of worms every time you run out of stock), then you can always opt into breeding and raising your own worms.

Now, if you do decide to raise and breed your own red wiggler worms or European nightcrawlers, then you should know the following interesting information about earthworms in general:

  • Whether you use these earthworm types as live bait, live worm food, or for composting, you should know that they  are born without any eyes, ears, and lungs. But despite of not having all the other essential organs, earthworms are able to live by sensing the vibrations on the ground, and sense light from their surroundings. They might not have lungs, but they are able to breathe through their moist skin (thus their need to always be kept in moist environments, to keep them from drying out).
  • Earthworms, whether you buy worms or breed them on your own, will always need some essentials to be able to thrive comfortably. They will always have the need for food to eat, the right kind of temperature to be in (room temperature is the ideal one), some moisture (especially in the bin they are living in), and air to breathe (oxygen is an essential to a worms health).
  • These cold-blooded composting worms (there are a lot of live worms for sale in this type of selection) such as red worms and nightcrawlers are able to produce high-quality worm castings out of all the previously fed decomposing organic materials. Castings from worms can be instantly used as an organic fertilizer for your plants and soil.
  • Worms are also hermaphrodites, but they will still still need another worm (should be the same kind as them) to be able to mate and reproduce.

Other than these live worms being rich in nutrients, it also happens to be nature’s little helpers, so you can no longer ask for anything more as they’re very versatile.

Uncle Jim’s recommends the Live Worms

We have several good worm packages to choose from. All of our live worms and other worm products are very much sealed securely and safely shipped to you. Get to choose from our 11 products, and experience worm composting fulfillment in just a matter of time! Order your selection/s today!

To know more about the product, check the Live Worms here.

Using Can-O-Worms and Red Worms for Vermicomposting

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

can-o-worms for vermicomposting

If you’re a recycling enthusiast, then the Can-O-Worms stacking unit is the best composting system for you, especially if you’re into using Red Worms for Composting. The can-o-worms composting unit has an odorless approach to recycling, and is very user-friendly. The results that you may get from composting your daily organic wastes will definitely help you enrich your garden; and also help you in minimizing landfill accumulation. It can be simply placed inside your home (for indoor houseplants), or anywhere in your backyard. It’s that accessible and convenient to have around.

How to Set-up the CAN-O-WORMS

You can start by putting you worm bin together right away. Make sure that food is made available (inside the bin) before the worms arrive (you can buy red worms from any local bait shop or from us!). But aside from that, prepare your bedding materials for your worm bin. You can use coconut coir for the bedding, with some warm water to help moisten it.

So, going back to the your can-o-worms, you may now proceed to fixing the five legs into the holes of the collector tray (lightly hit the tray down to fasten the legs to it). Now, screw in the spigot from the outer part of the bin (this tap drain feature on the bottom tray will help in collecting the worm tea).

After that, set-up the base tray with a layer of newspaper (about 4 pieces), while covering the holes. Now, put in some of your water soaked coconut coir, and then squeeze these so that the excess water will be removed. Make sure that the bedding for your worms (used for organic composting) should be moist, and not soaking wet. Anyway, when you’re done with the bedding materials, you may now mix in some soil, and two handfuls of organic waste (you may put kitchen scraps and garden wastes on top of the coir). Next, envelop it with some presoaked newspaper again (about 4 inches thick). As soon as you get a hold of your worms, you may immediately place them on the surface, just underneath the layer of newspapers.

What to do next

Of course, you were only able to arrange the first tray, so when do we add the remaining ones? When the first tray has finally been filled up with worm castings (when the height of the bin contents have reached two inches on top of the trays inner ribs), then you may place another tray. You can put in about an inch worth of worm farm compost into the new tray. But do make sure that the first tray still comes into contact with the base of the second tray. The second tray should then be topped off with a new batch of wet newspaper (should be damp). Also, you can only start harvesting the worm castings as soon as the third tray gets full. You may then empty the bottom tray, and then place it on top as the new upper tray.

You also have to keep the can-o-worms and red worms for composting well-maintained at all times. Your red worms will surely travel back down if the temperature in its environment gets too watery, or if it gets too hot. So, one of the things that you can do is to clean the collector tray probably once a month.

GardenWorms.com recommends the Can-O-Worms  (Free Shipping)

Our Can-O-Worms will help you harvest your worm casts in an instant. Not only that, it’s user-friendly and is ideal for use, especially for first time composters and kids. It also has a handy tap, for where to collect and dispense that valuable ‘Worm Tea’. It also comes complete with a collector tray, five push-fit legs, a plastic drainage tap, and more!

To know more about the product, check the Can-O-Worms here.

Selling your Vermicomposting worms

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
If you’re planning on putting up a business out of vermicomposting worms, then now’s the time to do it. You can always breed, sell and make a profit out of red worms, at anytime you want. It’s simple as you won’t have to spend too much on start-up costs. You can always grow your worms and resell them to commercial growers; as well as sell to fishermen who like to make worms for fish bait. You’ll never have to worry about finding your niche in the market, as you’ll definitely never run out of customers too.
To get started on your money-making venture, you must first prepare the following things: red wiggler worms, earthworm bedding, soil, organic waste (worm feed supply), shredded newspaper, plywood, plastic sheeting, and containers. After you’ve gathered all of these materials, you may now proceed with your project.
Start by preparing your worm bedding first. You can either create the bedding or buy it. Either way, your worms will also be able to create more of this when they starting eating and feeding on it. Make sure that your worm bedding is always 12 inches high, as this will be beneficial for your compost pals. Also take note on the material that you’ll be using for your worm bin. If you’re going to use wood, try not purchase anything that’s been treated already. The same goes for plastic containers. The paint and stain (and other chemicals involved) may leak inside your bin; and this will definitely be toxic to your red wigglers. Going back, you should finish your bedding by filling it up with shredded newspaper and some garden soil.
After making your worm bedding, buy yourself at a local bait store, two pounds worth of standard red composting worms. Every two pounds of worms that you buy should be equivalent to a pound’s worth of organic waste in your home (2 pounds of worms = 1 pound of kitchen scraps), as this will serve as feeds for you worms. Your worms will feed on anything just as long as it’s organic. Never feed them meat-based products, dairy products, eggs, or oily foods, as these may harm their diet.
You may also start harvesting on your worm composting pals probably after a month. You can do this by pulling out the worms from the soil (remove about 4 inches of your topsoil first), and by placing them on a piece of plywood, and then eventually transfer them to a clean container. Do the same process until there’s no soil left, and make sure to cover your worm harvest with some plastic sheets, especially when the sun is still up. Also, wear your gloves when harvesting for worms.
You can definitely start selling your worms after this. But start by computing your start-up expense first; and then decide what your profit margin will start at. Afterwards, prepare the price for your worms. There are always sure buyers for your vermicomposting worms, you just always have to know where to find them.
Make a profit out of worm selling, as it’s always been a good investment. And should you want to improve more on how to raise healthy earthworms effectively, or just simply interested on learning about an earthworm’s life cycle, you may visit the Gardenworms.com/blog for more tips on vermicomposting worms.

If you’re planning on putting up a business out of vermicomposting worms, then now’s the time to do it. You can always breed, sell and make a profit out of red worms, at anytime you want. It’s simple as you won’t have to spend too much on start-up costs. You can always grow your worms and resell them to commercial growers; as well as sell to fishermen who like to make worms for fish bait. You’ll never have to worry about finding your niche in the market, as you’ll definitely never run out of customers too.

To get started on your money-making venture, you must first prepare the following things: red wiggler worms, earthworm bedding, soil, organic waste (worm feed supply), shredded newspaper, plywood, plastic sheeting, and containers. After you’ve gathered all of these materials, you may now proceed with your project.

Start by preparing your worm bedding first. You can either create the bedding or buy it. Either way, your worms will also be able to create more of this when they starting eating and feeding on it. Make sure that your worm bedding is always 12 inches high, as this will be beneficial for your compost pals. Also take note on the material that you’ll be using for your worm bin. If you’re going to use wood, try not purchase anything that’s been treated already. The same goes for plastic containers. The paint and stain (and other chemicals involved) may leak inside your bin; and this will definitely be toxic to your red worms. Going back, you should finish your bedding by filling it up with shredded newspaper and some garden soil.

After making your worm bedding, buy yourself at a local bait store, two pounds worth of standard red composting worms. Every two pounds of worms that you buy should be equivalent to a pound’s worth of organic waste in your home (2 pounds of worms = 1 pound of kitchen scraps), as this will serve as feeds for you worms. Your worms will feed on anything just as long as it’s organic. Never feed them meat-based products, dairy products, eggs, or oily foods, as these may harm their diet.

You may also start harvesting on your worm composting pals probably after a month. You can do this by pulling out the worms from the soil (remove about 4 inches of your topsoil first), and by placing them on a piece of plywood, and then eventually transfer them to a clean container. Do the same process until there’s no soil left, and make sure to cover your worm harvest with some plastic sheets, especially when the sun is still up. Also, wear your gloves when harvesting for worms.

You can definitely start selling your worms after this. But start by computing your start-up expense first; and then decide what your profit margin will start at. Afterwards, prepare the price for your worms. There are always sure buyers for your vermicomposting worms, you just always have to know where to find them.

Make a profit out of worm selling, as it’s always been a good investment. And should you want to improve more on how to raise healthy earthworms effectively, or just simply interested on learning about an earthworm’s life cycle, you may visit other blog posts for more tips on vermicomposting worms.

Red Wiggler Worm Facts

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

To help you understand worm composting, here are Red Wiggler worm facts to introduce you to your composting worms.

Red Wiggler Physical Attributes

Red worms are hermaphrodite.  Having two sex organs, you can already breed them even if you only have two worms on hand.  Breeding for them is better under a temperature of 15-20 degree Celsius.

Also, red worms cannot see.  You may be wondering how they can detect light as they are afraid of it.  Well, Red Wiggler worms have light sensor which makes it easy for them to sense when they are exposed into such.  However, they can live with red light.

You also have to know that this kind of composting worm does not have teeth.  This is the very reason why you have to cut their food into pieces and why you have to shred their bedding.  It would be hard on their part to feed on big and organic materials.

Another truth about Red Wiggler worms is that they breathe through their skin that is why their environment should always be moist.  Air is also important because they are still aerobic organisms.

Red Wiggler and their Needs

Red worms can make worm composting effective as long as their needs are all met.  As said, they do not thrive on too hot or too cold areas.  Thus, a temperature of 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit should always be maintained.  The acidity level on the other hand should be kept at 6.0-6.5 as too much acidity may kill the worms.

As with foods, Red Wiggler worms can eat half or as much as their body weight.  You can give them a little lesser than what they need but never overfed them. Red Wiggler worm fact shows that a pound of worms can process an estimated amount of ¼-1/2 lb. wastes every day.

Buy Red Wigglers here!

How to Raise Red Worms Effectively

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

many red worms in dirtYou do not want to make a mess when you raise your Red Worms, do you?  So to make things easier for you, you should then be geared with all the knowledge that you need in order to effectively increase the number of your worms (which by the way can be used as fishing baits and composting worms).

First thing that you have to consider is the worm bin.  You can buy commercial worm bins or you can do it on your own.  It is important that you drill holes in the lid, at the bottom and at the side of the container to allow air inside.  Also, see to it that the container that you’ll use is not transparent.  When it comes to bedding, have your newspapers and magazines cut into strips then soak them into water.  It’s your responsibility to maintain the acidity level (6.5 PH) inside the bin and a temperature of 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Red Worms neither love to dwell in dry nor soggy places.

The Red Worms’ diet is as important as their home.  If one is defective, you may not have the best result.  You actually won’t encounter much problem with their foods.  Red Worms are heavy feeders of organic materials so even your kitchen scraps, grass cuttings, coffee grounds and tea bags will do.  Just make sure that you do not feed them with dairy products, fish, meat, fresh manure and bones.  Acidic fruits like citrus are also not good.

If you give them grass clippings, see to it that those were not previously sprayed with chemicals. With kitchen scraps, avoid giving them oily foods.

There it goes: the home, acidity level, temperature and the diet thing.  If all are carefully executed and maintained, you are sure to have healthy Red Worms!

Using Red Wiggler Worms as Bait

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Red Wigglers worm seem to be so delicious for the fishes.  Though a bit smaller as compared to European Night Crawlers, Red Wiggler worms are as irresistible as the former because of its physical attributes.  You just have to learn the right technique and the right procedure in using Red Wiggler Worms as baits in order for you to catch your target fish.

Red Wiggler Worms as BaitThe most common mistake of those who go for fishing is the unequal size of their hook and their worm.  Fishes are also wise; they can easily detect whether someone is after them or not.  To deceive them, you have to make sure that your hook and your Red Wiggler worm is of the same size.  This will give the fish the notion that what’s in front is just a food.  This will further give you a better chance to get what you want because if you have a bigger worm and a smaller hook, what may happen is that the fish will only nibble on the worm until it eventually dies.  Remember that fishes do not like dead baits.

When ready, slowly sink the hook in the water.  Do not worry about your bait because Red Wiggler worms do not easily die once they are already in the hook and submerged into water. When you feel that the fish is already there, do not immediately raise the hook.  Allow more time for the fish to play with your worm.  You don’t also have to worry about your worm sliding from the hook because the Red Worm’s skin will keep its body from falling.  And when you feel that it has already bitten the bait, go and do what you have to do.

There are times when the fish, even while you’re already pulling the rod up will try to run away from you.  Well, that’s normal.  Do the process again and again.  Fishes are also not good on handling temptations so the more you lure them with your baits, the more that you get the chance of catching them.

Red Wiggler Worms for Garden

Monday, March 29th, 2010

red wiggler worms for your gardenYour garden wouldn’t look any better without organic fertilizer.  Aside from being chemical free, organic fertilizer also provides plants with nutrients that are really good for your family’s health.  Talking about organic, one way to have it as by vermicomposting through the use of Red Wiggler worms.

Red wiggler worms are very famous as composting worms.  The fact that they are voracious eaters of organic materials is already something.  They can consume as much as their body weight which means that the more they consume, the more wastes are converted to dark and nutrient-rich byproduct.  Red worms are also not choosy when it comes to food.  You can make them happy even with just your kitchen scraps and grass cuttings.  Just be careful in giving them foods that are with oil, insecticides or pesticides because it will surely lead to your worms’ death.  Also, be careful with your worm bin’s location because they only prefer moist environment.  A temperature of 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit would be perfect.

Another advantage that Red worms have is their ability to dig deeper into the soil.  They can burrow up to inches deep which makes the soil even more fertile.  It also improves the aeration of the soil.  When they have already produced their castings, the more that you can admire the characteristics of Red Wiggler worms.  Their waste is your benefit.  When those castings will be applied in your garden, your plants are sure to get the right nutrients.  In case you want the nutrients to be made available immediately, you can make a compost tea out of the castings and spray it directly to your plants.  This will help your plants’ water and nutrient holding capacity strengthened.  An organic fertilizer will also ensure that leeching is reduced so you will be worry free if you maximize the product of Red Wiggler worms.

So if you are really after a garden that is 100% healthy, raise Red Wiggler worms, do vermicomposting and enjoy the unlimited benefits of your vermicompost. The time and effort that you will invest will all come back to you abundantly.

Fall Composting / Ideas / Prepwork

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Keep Jack Frost Away from your Compost Pile

Fall composting

Fall is coming will come to a  swift end and preparation for winter will begin soon enough!. The squirrels are foraging, deer are nesting and composters are wondering how to keep their piles warm in the coming winter months. Composting is the easiest way to dispose of materials that most landfills no longer accept, while creating rich, nutrient-rich compost to use on your lawn and garden in the spring and summer months. (LEARN HOW TO WINTER-PREP YOUR GARDEN IN THE ARTICLE BELOW.)

Fall CompostingAs you rake your leaves, pine needles and dried grasses, keep in mind that these materials are essential to maintain a consistent temperature in your compost pile. They build the “heat” that allows the breakdown process to continue even in the cold months of winter. If your pile is not in need of new “browns” yet, keep these leaves and grasses in a tarp-covered bin so they stay dry until you’re ready to use them.  Keeping the temperature between 140 and 160 degrees F is crucial to successfully maintaining a compost pile.

Add to these browns layers of organic food and yard scraps, which keep the nitrogen count in your compost high. These materials, like coffee grinds, vegetable leftovers, mown grass or even egg shells break down fairly quickly and add moisture to your compost.

In the winter, maintain your compost pile as you do in the warm seasons, using layers of these brown and green materials, monitoring the temperature and moisture levels and keeping it turned occasionally to increase air circulation.

If it sounds unappealing to have to schlep out to the compost pile in the dead of winter, there are three steps that can help you in your efforts of green living.

First, you could cover your pile with an extra layer of tarp and weigh down the corners to keep the temperature maintained and the moisture controlled.  If you live in colder climates and the extra tarp is not enough, using wood to build a case for your bin to insulate it from the winter winds.

The winter cold slows down the composting process. Make sure your pile is still breaking down its contents by keeping the content pieces smaller. Using a cutting board for leftovers and paper scraps lessons the work your compost pile has to do on its own. Last but not least, if you have ea location in your yard that allows for more sun that where your bin currently sits, moving it into steady access of the suns warming rays, even in winter, can help maintain your proper temperature.

Great – so you’re pile is set to handle the weather, there’s still the little matter of having to brave the cold and wind yourself for the sake of a compost heap. This can sound daunting even to the most devoted of eco-friendly people. Make your season a little easier on yourself by keeping a bucket or small bin in your slop room or garage. As you gather compost materials, layer them in this container until you have enough to carry out to the bin. Keep your layers thicker with small shreds of paper to lessen the risk of strong odors between emptying.

Check out our blog and website for more details on the benefits of composting.