25 February 2009


Got a question about location and temperature from a friend. She wants a worm bin; her husband/significant other most emphatically does not want a worm bin; she's decided to get a worm bin anyway. (Ah, this feels familiar.)

The question is: where to hide it? I suggested her huge pantry, envying that she has one (I don't). Apparently, the husband/worm deny-er goes in there too -- who knew? So she's thinking laundry room, which is in her basement.

My bin is in my laundry room, which is in my basement, but we've got different situations. My basement is an English walk-out, meaning it's only a bit underground, part of a split-level house, and the laundry room has the boiler, which keeps things mostly toasty.

Her house is a regular 2-story house with a deep basement that gets chilly. She's not sure exactly -- but possibly around 50-60 degrees. Time to head to The Book.

The Book = Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof. She's the Worm Woman extraordinaire who first wrote her book in 1982 and has since been offering succor and support to budding vermiculturists around the world. Pretty much everything you need to know to get started is in The Book.

Back to The Book: Mary writes in The Book that redworms will live most comfortably -- and eat most rapidly -- in temps between 59-77 degrees F, although they can handle as low as 50 degrees F. Good news for my friend!

Mary also points out that temps above 85 degrees F may fry the worms. OK, she doesn't say fry, but the visual image scared you off testing the higher limit, right? Don't fry worms. No one will want to come to your house.

If you're not sure what the temp is in a particular location, you can buy a little doohickey from the hardware store. This one has a little sensor, a digital readout in either F or C degrees, and other options that I've never explored. It's pretty accurate, within a few degrees. (For example, I don't keep my house in the winter at 71. Really, I don't. I keep it at 67 during the day when I'm the only one here. The reason that the doohickey is showing a slightly higher temp may be due to the fact that I've got a fire roaring in the living room. Or it's just a few degrees off. Whatever you want to believe.)

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