If you’re an avid gardener and have ever considered purchasing a compost bin, you may have come across the term “hot compost.” Hot composting is a natural method of decomposition that occurs when microorganisms like bacteria and fungi break down organic matter at high temperatures. During this process, the microorganism-filled compost pile can reach temperatures upwards of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius). This temperature range kills disease-causing pathogens and weeds, but it also poses a threat to your garden’s worms. Read on to learn more about what hot composting is, how it can harm your worms, and how to prevent this from happening if you choose to hot compost in your worm bed.
What is Hot Composting?
Hot composting is the process of using heat to speed the decomposition of organic matter.
Hot composting is a form of composting that uses a pile of waste materials to create compost. This can be done either by using hot, active pile or by adding water and turning it regularly in an enclosed container until it’s ready for use.
What are Worms?
Worms are invertebrates, meaning that they have no backbone. They don’t have eyes or ears, a mouth or nose either. They are segmented worms and soft-bodied creatures that dig through soil to feed on decaying plant matter and live in tunnels underground where it is moist and dark.
Hot composting can kill worms.
Hot composting is the process of creating very hot, aerobic compost piles. These piles are typically made from materials that have been shredded and mixed with other organic matter to speed up their decomposition. Hot composting can be done in two ways: by building a pile over 1 foot high and heating it internally with a thermometer, or by adding heat sources like tires or manure to an existing pile.
The temperature of your hot compost should reach around 160°F for at least three consecutive days to kill worms and other pests that may be present in your kitchen scraps. If the heat source isn’t strong enough or there’s too much moisture in the pile (which can cause it to cool down), then you might not get high enough temperatures needed for killing off all unwanted pests.
In addition to being able to kill some insects, hot compost also helps break down leaves into soil amendment material—especially if you’re using shredded leaves as part of your mix!
How to Make a Hot Compost Pile Without Killing Your Worms
The first thing you need to do is find a place in your yard that’s sunny, but not too hot. Next, choose some organic materials to put in the compost pile. Don’t use any plant matter that has been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Finally, get started making your hot compost pile!
- Make sure it’s at least three feet high – taller if possible. This prevents moisture from getting out too quickly and also keeps dogs and other animals from getting into it and spreading it all over the garden or yard.*
When picking up manure (cow, horse or other animal) check whether there’s any blood on it first because if there is then don’t take the entire pile!
Distribute the compost pile location evenly.
When building your compost pile, you’ll want to make sure that the compost is spread evenly over the entire area. The compost should be at least one foot deep and at least three feet wide and long. If you are using a large tarp or sheet of material to contain your compost, then this can help keep it contained in one place while still allowing for proper drainage and air flow.
When building your compost pile, try to make sure that it’s at least three feet away from the house so that any smells don’t seep into the house through any open windows or doors when it starts decomposing.
Incorporate compost-loving microbes.
Microbes are living organisms that help decompose organic matter. Microbes include bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes (soil-based bacteria). In composting, microbes consume large amounts of organic material in a short period of time. If you have too many microbes in your compost pile, they can cause it to heat up quickly and kill beneficial organisms such as earthworms.
To prevent this from happening, add high-nitrogen materials to your pile after the first few days when temperatures reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. These include grass clippings and fresh manure from horses or cows–but not poultry litter!
Leave space for airflow.
You need to leave space for airflow, and that’s a good thing. If you’re not familiar with the process of composting, it’s important to understand that hot composting worms are an excellent option for your household because they can help turn your waste into nutrient-rich soil.
Hot composting is the best way to get started with this process because it allows you or your family members to safely dispose of food scraps without having them go straight into the garbage can. This means less garbage in landfills and more nutrients in your garden!
Avoid adding extra moisture to the pile.
- Avoid adding extra moisture to the pile.
- Add dry leaves to the pile.
- Add dry grass clippings to the pile.
- Add dry straw to the pile.
- Add dry wood chips to the pile.
Introduce your worms slowly and carefully.
You should introduce your worms slowly and carefully. This will help ensure that they don’t get startled, and it’ll give them time to adjust before the temperature rises.
- Slowly add the worms over several days. If you’ve purchased a small amount of worms, then it should be fine to introduce them all at once. However, if you’re going in with an entire colony from another bin or compost heap (or even just some bags), add them incrementally over several days so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the new environment or each other’s presence.
- Do it at night or in the evening when temperatures are cooler (ideally between 50-60 degrees F). The best times of day for introducing composting worms are evenings and nights—these temperatures are cooler than during day time hours because of heat absorbed into earth while growing plants during daylight hours; this can cause any coldblooded animals like earthworms to become stressed out when exposed directly under bright light sources such as direct sunlight exposure while inside their habitats which could lead them eventually dying off prematurely if exposed long enough!
If worm use isn’t successful, don’t give up on the idea of hot composting altogether.
If you’re having trouble getting it to work, don’t give up on the idea of hot composting entirely. There are still plenty of other ways to compost, including traditional compost bins and vermicomposting (aka using worms), which can be done indoors or out.
We hope this article has answered all your questions about whether hot compost can kill worms, and if so, how to avoid it. If you’re worried about harming your worms by hot composting, there are plenty of ways to work around that issue.