Air temperatures have been rising at a steady clip over the last few decades. Particularly in some parts of the world summers seem unbearably hotter, with heat waves becoming more frequent. It’s easy for us humans to turn on the air-conditioner or dive into a cold swimming pool, but what about the worms in our compost worm farm?
Worms don’t like excessive heat, it’s as simple as that. Subpod is designed to be fairly hands free, and being a below-ground compost system it naturally stays cooler than other home composting setups. But in the scorching hot summer months, a bit of extra work is required to protect your worms.
Today we want to talk about some of the steps you can take to help your worms survive hotter temperatures. We might even bust a couple of composting myths in the process!
Here we go…
Worm Farm Cooling Tips
There’s nothing worse than opening up the lid of your Subpod on a hot day and seeing no activity whatsoever. A heat wave can wipe out your entire colony of worms, so you want to have things in place to prevent this happening. It’s all about keeping the worm farm ventilated and retaining the moisture content to help beat the increase in heat.
Keeping the direct sunlight off your Subpod will really help in maintaining cooler temperatures. A permanent structure is ideal, particularly if it’s made of shade cloth, which is very ventilation friendly. But if you don’t have the capacity for that, just stick an umbrella over your worm farm on a hot sunny day.
Mulching the garden bed around your Subpod with a layer of organic material, like hay, is a great practice to get into all year round. In the summer months, the mulch is really effective at keeping moisture in the soil and deflecting away the hot sun's rays. It creates a nice and natural protective layer to your underground ecosystem!
Wet Your Worm Blanket
Take the worm blanket out of your Subpod and dunk it into a bucket of water. Really let it absorb as much water as possible, then place it back into your Subpod. This is an extremely effective means of maintaining stable moisture levels in your compost system. Everyday in the hot months when you’re feeding your worm farm, ensure your worm blanket is wet.
Freeze Your Food Scraps
Everyone loves an ice cream on a hot day… and your worms aren’t any different! Freezing your food scraps before giving them to your worms will help lower temperatures and then provide a tasty treat.
Place a Bottle of Frozen Water in The Subpod
We love this trick, which has really resonated with our Subpod community around the world. Freezing a bottle of water and placing it in your Subpod is like giving your worms a blast of air conditioning. You’ll even find they gravitate to the cool area around the water bottle. Keep the bottles capped, and replace them when the water inside has defrosted.
Add Coconut Coir to Your Subpod
Coconut coir is an awesome organic material that worms love. It holds moisture, but is porous so allows oxygen to pass through. It’ll keep your worms cool, plus they can eat it. Adding some to your Subpod in the summer will have your worm friends doing the happy dance!
Grow Plants Around Your Subpod
Most people will have plants growing around their Subpods, taking advantage of the highly nutritious organic fertiliser the compost system creates. If you don’t, plant some! The shade they provide creates a naturally cooler environment.
Myth Busting Time
Some beginner composters might think that higher temperatures in the summer months will speed up the composting process. We’d like to bust that myth right now - the extra heat actually makes the good microbes pass out. This is because they require more oxygen to perform their normal activities and they’re just not getting it. Similarly, worms become inactive in the hotter temperatures.
Another myth we want to bust is that adding water will cool everything down. Sure, maintaining appropriate moisture levels is necessary. But if you add too much water to your compost system you’re again restricting the amount of oxygen reaching your microorganisms. You’ll end up with a slushy mess instead of a vibrant and healthy organic fertiliser.
Need More Worm Farm Information?
We hope this helps you with some ‘hot’ tips about keeping your worms safe and happy in the summer months! If you have questions, or would like to access a whole lot more information about worm farming and home composting, check out our GrowHub Community. We have loads of information and resources there for anyone interested in Subpod or home composting.
Until next time, keep feeding the soil and keep feeding the world!
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