What problems do wormeries face in autumn?
Wetter and cooler weather could cause big problems for your wormery if you don’t take any measures to protect it from the elements. The biggest problems that wormeries face during the autumn months is the risk of your worms getting drowned or it is becoming too cold for them to effectively work. Autumn is the season in which temperatures drop and the rain doesn’t stop, this could lead to rain entering your wormery, especially if it is left outside without any shelter. So, it is vital that you keep an eye out to check how soggy your compost and waste is getting.
Another big problem wormery owners face is when the temperature drops as the worms struggle to cope with the cold. Worms work best in a constant temperature which isn’t too hot or too cold, ideally between 15 - 25oC. Therefore, during the autumn times, keeping your wormery outside is not advised.
What should you do?
The best way to ensure that rain doesn’t get into your wormery is by keeping it inside, perhaps in your shed or garage. This will mean that it is away from any direct rainfall and that your worms do not drown. However, if the wormery does seem to be too wet, the best way to resolve this is by adding products that could soak up the moisture in it. A great way of doing this is by putting plenty of shredded paper and cardboard in the wormery, which will absorb the moisture within the wormery and will also provide your worms with more oxygen to breathe. You can also put in pelletised worm ‘treats’, these will rapidly absorb the excess moisture, causing it to swell up and these can then be processed by the worms. The coir moisture mats are also great to absorb the wetness within your wormery but also have other great benefits. They encourage your worms to the top of your wormery, help prevent fly infestation and will eventually breakdown and be eaten by the worms to provide nutrient-rich vermicompost.
Keeping your worms in a shed or garage also protects them from the cold, but if the temperature starts to drop heavily, you should consider covering it with a carpet or a rug. This will keep the wormery darker and warmer, allowing them to work better. During the cold, the worms will work much slower and therefore, it is vital that the wormery is kept warm to allow for the worms to work as efficiently as possible.
As the worms work slower during the autumn and winter months, it is also essential that the worms are not overfed. This is because the worms won’t be able to break down all the food that is being put into the wormery and this will mean that the food will start to rot instead. This will create a very acidic environment and could potentially kill off all your worms. If there is food in your wormery that is rotting, you must take it out as soon as possible. An acidic wormery can be resolved by adding a handful of lime mix which will balance the pH level in your wormery, making it hospitable for the worms.
Looking after and maintaining your wormery during the autumn and winter months could give you a big advantage when the spring season rapidly approaches. Remember the key points to maintain and protect your wormery this autumn:
- Keep your wormery inside, in your shed or garage.
- Protect it from rainfall and always check to see if there is any excess moisture
- If the temperature drops heavily, keep the wormery warm using a rug or blankets
- Do not overfeed the worms, this causes acidity in the wormery.
- Use lime mix to balance out the acidity in the wormery.
All the items mentioned are included in the Complete Wormery Accessory Kit, which also includes information guides and a tap.