Rotline Question: "What should I do with my worms while on a trip?"
Answer: Depending on the length of your trip, you will likely not need to do anything at all. Even a new population of worms only needs to be monitored every few days to assess how much food was eaten, moisture levels, and whether they need more food. If you're planning to go out of town for the holidays this year, regardless of how long your trip may be, consider following these steps prior to embarking on your adventure:
1. Make sure they have a good amount of bedding at a proper moisture amount. Instead of throwing lots of kitchen scraps into your worm bin to make up for your absence, which could disrupt the pH of your bin or even smother your worms, make sure you leave your worms an adequate amount of moist bedding-- at least a six-inch layer. Worms can live off bedding material such as shredded paper, coffee grounds, or dried leaves, for a month or longer! Of course, you can still add kitchen scraps before you head off, giving them about twice what you’d normally feed your worms weekly.
2. Ensure your bin is in a shaded area. Worms do best at temperatures between 55°F - 79°F. Temperatures above 85°F can be lethal.
3. If you are leaving during the wintertime, consider insulating your bin with a blanket or soil, or bring the bin inside in case of cold snaps. While worms do better in colder temperatures than hot, temperatures below 32°F can devastate your worm population.
4. If you’ll be gone over a month, consider recruiting a “worm-sitter” to visit and add some food scraps after a few weeks. You can even prep some kitchen scraps in a bag or container in the freezer for easy feeding; frozen scraps can be added straight to the bin. Just make sure your sitter knows to cover the kitchen scraps with bedding so you aren’t greeted by flies upon your return!
When you return from your trip, provide your worms with some fresh kitchen scraps and they’ll be happy to see you!
Written by Certified Master Composter Melody Plan