RSS Feed

#129 - Worm Bin Temperature Control

I have been having a very hard time in controlling the temperature of my Hungry Bin worm bin in the Hawaii afternoon heat. The location where I have the worm bin stays in the shade until the later afternoon as the sun starts to dip down in the west, then it is in direct sunlight unfortunately at the hottest part of the day.

 

It has been in the low to mid 90s outdoors lately and inside the bin it has gotten as high as 97 degrees. Luckily the worms are able to go deeper in the Hungry Bin to escape the heat, but that is not ideal for them as unlike regular earthworms, compost worms do not burrow deep into the soil, they like to stay in the top couple inches.

 

Because of the higher moisture level inside the bin for the worms, when the heat rises it basically turns the bin into a sauna which worms do not like at all.

 

For the past few days I have been adding a 2-liter soda bottle that I keep filled with water sitting in the freezer on top of the soil. The ice block helps a little bit and I have seen several worms congregate closer to the bottle so they are liking the lower temperature that it provides.

 

Today when the temperature started to rise I added a second frozen bottle to the top of the bin to see if that helps. The temperature stayed much cooler in the bin in the heat of the day and the worms seemed much more active and appreciative of their cooler environment. There were a lot more of the worms visible up in the moist shredded cardboard bedding instead of being below it in the compost trying to stay cooler.

 

I gave them some cantaloupe yesterday which they should enjoy, but because it was so hot they were not very active at all and did not appear to even touch the cantaloupe when I checked it this morning.

 

I have decided to install a rollup sun shade that I can drop down behind the bin to block the sun in the afternoons and keep it from directly hitting the back side of the Hungry Bin. I will have to fight my Homeowner's Association over this as they apparently have rules for everything and do not like sun shades at all.

 

I opted for an outdoor manual cordless sun shade from Coolaroo that I purchased at Lowes. I wanted to find something that would be a closer match to the color of my house, but apparently no one makes pink sunshades as a stock color so I settled on a "Pebble" color which is about the closest match I could find. It was either this or what they called "Almond" which was actually a darker brown and not the color of any almond I have ever seen. The actual color of my house is "Navajo Desert" but it looks a lot like a faded out Pepto-Bismol to me. It happens to be about the same ugly color as Tripler Army Medical Center and because of that and my flagpole, some of my friends refer to my house as "Baby Tripler".

This sun shade blocks 95% of the ultraviolet l