kweb
Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:20 pm
Location: Canada, Saskatoon- 3b

minimum ambient temp?

Hello,

Would anyone know the minimun ambient and interal temperature that a worm compost is sustainable at?

Living is central Canada it gets very cold in winter. Way to cold to keep a worm bin outside so i brought mine in for the winter. In about a month it turned into a breeding ground for a couple types of insects.

When it neared -5 i would leave it outside for a couple hours and turned the waste a bunch, adding more brown product.

I would like to leave it outside year round and i have even heard in some places a large compost pile can warm a greenhouse into the winter months.

I hope to be building its capacity from 30L tote to 55gal barrel.

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: minimum ambient temp?

I built (and perhaps over-built) a covered bermed into a hillside two-bin compost box outdoors in the Monadnock region of NH-USA. The interior size of each bin was four foot by four foot, and six feet tall, under the roof.

i was able to keep colony of composting worms alive by the monthly addition of a lawn bag of leaves and 24 gallon barrel of goat manure, per bin. This kept the center of each bin at about 70°F. i also continued to add my daily servings of kitchen scraps.

Without a monthly service of manure and leaves, the piles cooled and froze.

You probably want to research "Hotbeds" for using manure-compost to warm a space.

Here is hoping you have good luck!
Think like a tree
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kweb
Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:20 pm
Location: Canada, Saskatoon- 3b

Re: minimum ambient temp?

Thanks tomc. Good info.

Living where i do, manure should be easy enough to get. I have family just a few minutes outside the city but they have horses. Do you think that with suffice?

Im not looking to heat a space, just keep my worm bin going through the winter in my cold garage.

I havent measured the temp yet but its about -4 at night and they are doing fine. If it was -40, probably not so good for them.

tomc
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Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: minimum ambient temp?

Mine was sheltered but outside. I don't think there is anything you can do to keep a plastic bin or 55 gallon barrel from freezing. They just are not big enough.

But yes, horse manure would work in leu of goat manure.

In absolute terms anything much colder than 40°F or hotter than 85°F was lethal to my composting worms.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

kweb
Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:20 pm
Location: Canada, Saskatoon- 3b

Re: minimum ambient temp?

Thanks tomc,
I kinda figured that they wouldn't last in that cold. I may try do a test trial with an insulated bin this winter.
A year ago when a friend gave a small container of worms and dirt I didn't think much of it but now I probably have 20lbs of worms or more and I need to find a better solution.
So using a small handful as test subjects isn't a big deal as long as I don't get soft and can't bring myself to such careless acts as freezing worms...

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