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applestar
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Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

...I really thought I was too late. I had left my can-o-worms vermicomposter out there all this time without even really looking inside except to snag a few worms from time to time to put in the Winter Indoor Garden containers. When temps started to fall below freezing, I covered it with double-layer of garden fleece.

Now, later this week, we are going to see low 20's, possibly even teens °F for the first time, and I knew I had to save them some how. Either dump them all out and let them find shelter on their own or bring them all in. But I wasnt going to be surprised if they had all frozen and died already.

Today, I opted to "at least collect one small container full" --- but when I rummaged around the top tray I found all of them clustered in the outer shells of the luffah that I had just recently processed (I had an inkling they would love those :wink: ). There were tons of babies and even amber-colored beads (worm "eggs") scattered among the rich vermicast.

I went back for more containers, even an empty milk carton, and scooped out the lot, from the top two trays (mostly vermicast but very wet) as well as the bottom drip tray which was also full of vermicast and muck. Probably from last night's rain.

As luck would have it, the delay in cleaning out the can-o-worms resulted in the cold effectively clearing out all of the ants that had moved in. I only saw few rollie-pollies, which I tossed out onto the grass, and maybe 4 black soldier fly larvae or pupae.

I may yet decide to bring in the can-o-worms -- I left the trays on the ground so any worms I might have missed will have a chance to leave and burrow into the ground underneath -- but last winter the worms did just fine in a medium tub, which takes up much less space in the crowded garage. For now, I put the worms in my 3x2gal bucket DIY vermicomposter and two small plastic trays of moistened coir and the milk carton.

Once I get the bottom two buckets of vermicast and coir and old potting mix sorted out, I can hopefully re-distribute the worms properly. I had already prepped the top bucket by filling it with kitchen scraps, so hopefully they will move into the food bucket on their own.

I'm thinking I need to make some improvements to this old bucket system -- maybe drill more holes in them....
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webmaster
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

You lucked out! :)

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Allyn
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

I want to say something thoughtful and on-point.....but I can't think of anything. So Yay for saving the worms! :)
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(I want a worm farm. :( )

imafan26
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

Good job. I lost my worms, I need to get a better drain for my bin and a better cover, too many roaches and lizards go in and it was hard to drain.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

@Webmaster, @Allyn, @imafan -- thank you :()

Allyn -- I've had those moments, too -- I appreciate the cheer :wink:

...Hmm... imafan might be pointing out a downside of vermicomposting in a warmer climate, though I've often thought "how cool !" whenever someone posts about lizards in their garden. Don't get them here. And, KNOCK ON WOOD, have not seen any roaches in any of my (vermi)compost piles or bins.

When it gets cold, mice find their way into the garage, so I guess I might have to be on the lookout (well actually our kitties will 8) )

...imafan -- can-o-worms is well-designed, but the worms had managed to make their way down to the drip tray level as I mentioned. It had become/been difficult to drain, with worms often coming out of the tap until I couldn't close the spigot anymore and I had it permanently open with a quart soup cup underneath -- and I would fish out the (nearly drowned) worms to put back in the top tray. The drain well and tap was clogged with casting and worms and each of the (five?) drip tray overflow/aerating tower and screen were buttressed with wormcasting. I suspect that worms that were little enough had been escaping via the aerating screen holes. ...of course (in my case) none of these would have been/become an issue if I had been regularly maintaining the vermicomposter by harvesting the castings and adding fresh bedding and food. :oops:
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ID jit
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

Good job saving the worms! Thanks for the introduction to garden fleece too. Never new it existed.

Left my lazy worm farm in the compost pile which had cooled until we had several very good frosts. I assumed they would all migrate out the holes in the bottom and down into the compost pile.

Now I have a 5 gallon bucket with extra small and tiny worms in the basement to check in on and I have little to no idea of what I am doing with them. They are not trying to escape, so I guess conditions can't be too bad.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

You all are encouraging me... Haven't done a worm bin for a few years. I used to have one in the winter in Cincinnati, in the (heated, finished) basement, just so I wouldn't have to trek out through the snow and ice to the outdoor compost pile as often with the scrap bucket.

I don't have that need here, but worm compost and the leachate is really good stuff for the garden. AND it would grow more worms. For some reason this property does not have hardly any earthworms. I added aged manure to all the garden beds, I keep compost piles sitting on ground. I even earlier this year bought 1500 worms and scattered them through garden beds and compost piles. They promptly disappeared and I have still hardly seen any ... I of course don't use any poisons. I really doubt the people who lived here before did, since there was nothing here but a very neglected weedy lawn. You could wonder about the horse manure, except that there weren't any worms before I started bringing it in, either. I really miss the earthworms. The kind of cold composting I do really depends on them. Composting (almost) without earthworms is much slower, the browns never do break down as well, and the quantity of compost produced is less. My pile has BSF larvae and some pillbugs to take up some of the slack, but just not the same.

This may be the wrong time to start a worm bin though. Don't have much garage space for it, once I set up the seed starting there. I could do it in the garden shed, but the shed is flimsy and un-insulated and wouldn't be much protection -- and I have lately noticed a lot of mouse turds in there.... Dunno, I'm still thinking about it. But this has been a good reminder that it would be a good thing to do.
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applestar
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Re: Yay! Saved (brought in) my wormy-worms for the winter

Haha, I was looking around to see if there is an appropriate thread for this post and found THIS one. :lol:

Well, I’m doing it again. I have been so busy that all I could do with my can-o-worms was to move it onto a sheltered corner of the SE-facing brick patio and cover it with 4x-folded heavy garden fleece, tied on with a bale twine I found lying around.

Yesterday, I FINALLY found the time to go out and rummage around in the trays — top Two were completely empty of leaves, etc. I stuffed in there, and the wormyworms were almost all dug into the bottom tray full of very wet castings with some remaining squash and avocado rinds and other slower decomposing stuff. I still didn’t have time to somehow dry out and screen the castings to completely retrieve the worms. There was quite a bit of segmented BSF larvae or pupae in there which I’m not sure I want to bring into the garage and also a fully grown centipede which I evicted into the patio-side foundation bed.

I put the “rescued” worms in my 2 gal bucket worm tower set up with moistened kraft paper and scrap copy paper as bedding in the middle bucket and veg scraps in the top bucket. Some of them were happily coupling in the can-o-worms despite the cold air temp enough to chill my bare hands. I think they were rather disgruntled by the disturbance, but hopefully will appreciate the revamped honeymoon suite in the garage. :>
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