Keeping your worms cool in Summer

Ice packs to keep worms cool.
Ice packs help a lot

The heat is here in Australia, so don’t forget your composting companions. Worms can suffer a lot in the heat and we need to take a little extra care of them.

Leave the top open a couple of centimeters to allow hot air to escape.

Of course, the first thing to do is to make sure that your worm farm is in the shade. Always leave the tap open to allow excess liquid to escape. Liquids can retain heat within the farm.

Saying that, its good to add some cool water every day, morning and evening. Not enough to flood the farm, just to help cool.

Ice packs are great for cooling a worm farm. Your worms will congregate around them. I’ve found that placing the ice packs in the middle of the farm works better than placing them on the uppermost layer. That way, the worms congregate in the middle and bottom trays and the top tray provides an insulating layer until your worms are ready to return to it and start feeding again.

Even better is to freeze your vegetable scraps. They thaw and cool the worm farm. Better still, when you freeze the vegetable scraps, the water in their cells expands, bursting the cell walls which makes it easier for microbes and worms to get to the good stuff.

Also, if you have a tower type worm farm, make sure that there is something in the bottom layer so that the worms can climb up should the tap become clogged and liquid accumulate. I’ve lost a batch of worms that way. Their instinct is to dive down in the heat and they can become trapped in the built up liquid and drown. Cleaning up a mass of drowned worms is not pleasant.

One other thing you can do is to cover the worm farm with a coarse fabric such as hessian or sack cloth. Keep dampening this throughout the day. and as breezes blow, evaporation will cool the worm farm in the same way that an evaporative cooler cools the air.

Try not to use plastic sheets to cover the farm as the heat and humidity in the worm farm can build up over a day and cause some problems. If you must use plastic, make sure there are some holes in the sheet near the top of the worm farm to allow hot air to escape.

Keep them happy and they will breed well in the warm weather and reward you with a lot of extra love in return.

Crack open the lid a little to let hot air out.
Keep the lid open a couple of centimeters

I’ve added a dripper to each worm farm so that they get watered whenever the garden does. A variable dripper is best or use the lowest flow dripper that you have and you can reduce the flow to the perfect rate with an inline tap. The lowest fixed flow I can find is 2 litres per hour which is still too much.

A tap like this allows you to turn the dripper off completely. The idea is not to flood the worm farm but to keep a steady drip of cool moisture.

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