Why to Vermicompost Through the Winter
Vermicomposting through the winter allows you to maintain a year-round waste management system. Instead of halting composting activities during the colder months, vermicomposting keeps you engaged in diverting kitchen scraps and organic waste from the landfill, reducing waste accumulation and odors in your home.
In the Midwest, where outdoor gardening may be limited during winter, vermicomposting provides an opportunity to support indoor gardening endeavors. The nutrient-rich vermicompost produced can be used to nourish houseplants, vegetable seedlings, or herbs grown indoors, ensuring a steady supply of organic nutrients for your winter gardening activities.
In addition, vermicompost created during winter can be used to prepare garden beds for the upcoming spring. By applying vermicompost to your soil before winter ends, you allow it time to break down further and release its nutrients, giving your garden a head start when the growing season arrives.
How to Vermicompost Through Winter
Set up an indoor vermicomposting system, such as a Worm Factory 360 or Hungry Bin that can accommodate the quantity of organic waste you generate. Ensure the bin is placed in a suitable location, away from extreme temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight.
To maintain suitable temperatures for the worms, consider insulating the vermicomposting bin with materials like straw, shredded paper, or cardboard. This insulation helps protect the worms from cold temperatures and fluctuations, ensuring their survival and ongoing composting activity.
During winter, worms may eat less and compost at a slower rate. Adjust your feeding schedule accordingly to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to excess moisture and potential odor issues. Monitor the moisture levels in the bin and maintain it at a suitable level, ensuring a moist but not waterlogged environment.
Finally, choose composting worms that are well-suited to colder temperatures, such as Eisenia fetida (red wigglers) or Eisenia hortensis (European nightcrawlers). These worms are more tolerant of lower temperatures and can continue to thrive and compost throughout the winter.