tons of worms in compost pile!

SunshineZone7(7)August 20, 2014

When I turn my pile I see a ton of nice big worms enjoying my pile :) I see this as a good thing but this also means my pile is not hot. So what is better, a hot pile too hot for worms or a cool pile w tons of worms?

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The presence of the earthworms, which need a quite moist environment to live in, is the reason your compost will not get hot. The moisture level is too high for the bacteria that will be generating that heat.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:49AM
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For me, it is a matter of time. A pile that is very hot breaks down faster, and is better at eliminating weed seeds and such. If, like me, speed and time is not the greatest factor, and you try to avoid placing seedy weeds in the pile (I just don't let anything get to the point of producing seeds), then having lots of worms working the pile is a great thing. I almost never have a big pile of "greens" with higher nitrogen so I can build a compost pile all at once, though I do prepare lots of ground leaves saved next to my compost area for cover. A pile is built over time for me, as I bring my kitchen compost out, I cover it with ground leaves, add urine about daily. Once a pile gets to about 4 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide (in a 10 ft. ring of 4 ft. tall fencing), and rests for about a month, I remove the fencing ring, reset it beside the existing pile, and then turn the pile back into the ring, moistening it as necessary with the hose. It may be a year or more before I use that compost in my garden, but it always tends to be loaded with worms, and I think it is a good thing to be spreading those things around my yard. Yeah, I'd like a whole lot more compost, and if I had other sources for lots more greens that wouldn't muck up and slime before I could use them I might do something differently. I refuse to collect the grass clippings in my yard, because leaving the clippings to work themselves into the yard in place is a smarter choice in my opinion. I collect far more leaves from neighbors to grind up and use in my yard than I need just for composting, so I add a whole lot of ground leaf mulch everywhere in my yard. I figure the worms I am adding with the compost to various locations around the yard just find the whole place great for feasting with all the mulch. I just moved into my current home a little over a year ago, and already the mulching and composting has made a huge difference, and neighbors and friends are even noticing. It looks as though my next compost pile will be ready for early spring planting next year, and then I'll have another for maybe late summer.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I'll take the worms every time - besides compost, I get worm poop, and it's all good.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Timing is correct. Generally, my piles start hot and stay that way for a few weeks and 1-2 turns. After they cool off is when the worms appear. I don't think you can keep a pile hot all the way to finished compost. Part --the longest part--of the curing process is cold.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 5:54PM
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That all makes sense, thanks! I figure the worm castings are great and if I can't get my pile hot so be it!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:52AM
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