There are 28 species of earthworm native to the UK and of these 3 are particularly suitable for composting. After decades of research and experience, I am utterly convinced that the Tiger Worm (Eisenia Fetida) is the best for the job. They process more waste for their weight and survive in a wider variety of conditions. Dendrobaena or blue nose worms and ‘red worms’ are also good at the job and more widely available (and significantly cheaper) as they are widely used by anglers as bait. But in this British Olympic year as in all others, when it comes to worms we are proud to go for Gold and are content to leave Silver and Bronze to others!
Whichever of the top three composting worms you happen use, they will operate year round, but they will thrive and work best within the temperature range we humans tend to feel comfortable in. So in totally non-scientific terms that’s not too hot and not too cold.
Worms will die if they get too hot or too cold so they need a little help to work to their best. A few simple common sense tips will help keep your wormery working well through our long hot summers (if only!).
1) Firstly, the more established your wormery the more it is naturally protected from the extremes of temperature, as the organic waste and compost acts as an insulator.
2) Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sun and move your wormery into shade.
3) If the compost becomes dry, sprinkle or spray some water over the compost; don’t drench it. Whilst this is an unusual problem, it is a tad more likely in multi tray wormeries than the classic dual chamber models.
4) If you go away on holiday, you don’t have to get family or friends in to look after it. Simply give it an extra feed of kitchen waste and as an additional protection cover the top layer of waste with a piece of sacking, old carpet or moisture mat. Leave the tap open (with a suitable container underneath) and the worms should be fine for several weeks.
5) Remember that the warmer months are the most productive for your wormery so feed less in winter and more in summer and you are on your way to success.
6) If possible, moving your Wormery inside to a shed or garage, outhouse or conservatory, offers several advantages as the temperatures are more stable and so the worms will be more efficient (but please not greenhouses in the summer!).
With a little thought and care, your wormery should work very well through the Great British Summer and cope with our winter months as well.
After all the rain of late I hope we can all now put this to the test and prove the truth of this advice over the next few months. I can’t wait for the tabloid headline – “Phew, what a Scorcher”!!!