Make your worm farm the coolest one in the neighbourhood! After twenty years of running a worm farm at home I can honestly say it is one of the easiest ways to compost your kitchen scraps. The worms are very good at looking after themselves, even if left to their own devices for several weeks at a time they will happily survive and then thrive once you are back to feed them again. However, I did have one incident early in my vermiculture career many years ago where I lost all my worms in a single day when the mercury tipped over the 40 degrees C (104 F) mark on a blistering summer’s afternoon.
Unfortunately, the worm farm was in direct sunlight that day and as the worm farm is black in colour, it absorbed the maximum amount of heat and it got way too hot for the poor worms inside. Sadly, I had to start again and bring in a whole new population of worms.
Having learnt a lesson from my one and only disaster as a worm farmer, I can suggest the following precautions to help your worms keep their cool.
1. Keep your worm farm in a shady spot in the garden. Under a deciduous tree is good because when the tree loses its leaves in winter the worm farm will benefit from a bit of direct sunlight to warm it up a little during the cooler months.
2. Keep it in an indoor spot that does not get too hot in summer , or too cold in winter. A garage , garden shed or laundry can all provide a good home.
3. If you have advanced warning of a heat wave, drape some hessian (or similar absorbent material) over the worm farm and keep it moist. As moisture evaporates from the hessian it will cool the worm farm in a similar way to that great Australian invention for kitchens in electricity deficient parts of the outback, the ‘Coolgardie safe’.
4. Paint your worm farm a light colour so it reflects more heat. This can be a fun project for the kids as they can use their imagination to create their own unique worm farm.