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Reader Question: Moving Worm Bins Outdoors

By June 30, 2013

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One of my readers from Wisconsin asks:

"I've been vermicomposting since last fall, and I'm wondering if I can move the bin outside now that it's warm out. I am getting tired of having it in the kitchen."

There's no reason you can't move the worm bin outside. There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to do that:

  1. Be sure to move the bin into a shaded area. If you put it in an area where the hot summer sun beats down on it all day, the intense heat will kill your worms.
  2. You may need to monitor the moisture levels in the bin more closely. The heat can make it dry out faster, and if it's in an area where it will catch the water when it rains, it could get too wet.
  3. Other wildlife can be a problem. If you have a rodent problem in your area, they can try to get into the bin.

Since you're undoubtedly monitoring your bin anyway, since it's in your kitchen, the monitoring shouldn't be a problem for you. The wildlife may be another issue. I have tons of squirrels in my neighborhood, and I can't even tell you how many times I caught them trying to claw their way into the worm bin. You know best what type of wildlife you'll be dealing with, so I'll have to leave that part up to you!

Thanks for the great question!

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July 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm
(1) Gideon Aggenbag says:

I would like to share with you and your reader from Wisconson what I have done to keep my worms out of doors I live in Eastern Cape, South Africa):

I boxed 4 vibracrete slabs on a very slight downhill, with one corner at lowest point. This is to allow me to fix the covering mentioned below so that rain water can run down diagonally. Then I put half a slab upright in the middle. This gets my worms to trek round and round after the food and moisture. I cover them with 2nd hand underfelt and wet it every one or two days – depending on the weather. Over the vibracrete slabs I have hard black plastic sheets (very much like thick cardboard), which I weight down with a few bricks. Depending on the temperature, I cover the plastic sheets with shading and also put some more DRY underfelt over the wet ones, to insulate and retain moisture.

The covering plastic sheets, of course, should overlap each other in the middle so the rain water can keep on traveling downhill.

July 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm
(2) Gideon Aggenbag says:

Continued from previous comment:

To harvest the compost, I start from “behind” (in relation to the direction of the worms’ movement). I stop giving water and food where I want to harvest, in order for them to go after the food and moisture. This also gives the eggs time to hatch. I expose the area where I want to harvest more and more to the sunlight by folding the underfelt away from that part of the compost, and loosening the compost with a little hand fork. After a time (even the following day) in bright sunlight, I lightly scrape away the loosened vermi compost and loosen the next few inches.

I found after a few months, though, that tree roots were coming up from underneath into the vermi compost. So I remounted my structure, this time on thick industrial plastic. At the same time I lengthened my “boxed worm bin” by another length of vibracrete slab (and, of course, also the centre piece!!).

My worms are seemingly very happy and accumalating, and I very seldom find any of them outside their abode.

Hope this is of some use to someone.

July 9, 2013 at 7:49 am
(3) commonweeder says:

I live in the upper elevations of Massachusetts and I move my vermicompost bin out of the guest room for the good weather. I put it in the shade on the north side of the house. I do have to watch the moisture levels – in or out of the house. I haven’t had a problem with wildlife, but I do have a neighbor who found a bear sauntering away after eating all his worms.

July 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm
(4) Tim Hatcher says:

I started a worm bin in the spring, it was doing so well that as I had a bin containing rotting leaves I put them at the bottom. They are doing great work there!

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