How to Stop Worms Dying
by Tony McCarthy
Stop Worms Dying
The most common cause of Compost Worms dying is inescapable heat. Managing a Worm Farm means you have become a ‘farmer of worms’ and live creatures contained in an unnatural environment require care.
Direct summer sun rays are a death sentence for compost worms. Temperatures exceeding 38 degrees celcius is a critical phase requiring a daily flow of moisture and oxygen. If no options exist to deal with this then a simple solution is to empty the contents on to the ground until the heat wave passes. This action breaks open the contents bringing in life saving oxygen. The worms will retreat to the base of the pile to convalesce giving you time to reestablish the mix with fresh natural compost.
Other Forms of Heat
Fresh grass clippings or fresh animal manures are a great medium during the winter cold and applied correctly enhance the vigour and breeding go worms. However in each case one needs to apply this material in a sectional row or rows to allow worms to migrate too or retreat from when needed. Covering a worm farm entirely with a single element doesn’t give the worms a chance to perform or in some cases survive.
A bottomless Compost Bin works well in the sense that it stands approximately one metre high with a bulk of composted material. The open drainage element and volume of material provide an escape route to lower levels for worms.
Plastic Tray Worm Farms
A tiered tray system easily available at large retail stores requires ongoing handling of used compost to be in contact with an above tray. The difficulty is that the compost continuously settles causing a gap between trays. This gap prevents any migration of worms to upper trays. Liquid pooling below the installed tap festers over time and any worms falling into to this base meet an unpleasant death only to become stuck within the working of the base tray tap. Oxygen flow is barely available and any scope of surviving a period of extreme summer temperatures is minimal.
Few worm farms incorporate a sufficient flow of oxygen. An efficient system known as ‘Flow through’ is recommended as the base in these systems is often an open grid the same area size as the unit itself. Even when full of compost the action of bacteria breaking down organic waste at the top of the pile causes heat and this intern causes a difference in pressure. Air is then drawn up through the pile. A passive system of food, moisture and oxygen are three key elements in providing a healthy system of worms farming, it allows worms to retreat from harsh temperatures and sets up an efficient clean system enabling worms to popualte to maximum numbers.
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