At the beginning of the winter I thought I’d sacrifice a few worms in hopes of furthering the cause of science. No, I lie. It just seemed fun and interesting.
A handful of worms, a buried cold frame, a bucket of water, an aquarium heater and some bedding.
The heated water held the soil temperature pretty well for a couple of months. Temperatures next to the bucket pushed 80 with outside temps in the 20s. I didn’t want to open the frame too often for fear of cooling things off. But yesterday the weather warmed to a balmy 37 degrees, and I popped the lid.
The first thing I saw was a nice fat vole racing across the surface, disappearing into the litter. Most likely engorged with worms. And there were some worms..about five nice ones drowned at the bottom of the water bucket. I poked around in the bedding a little, but didn’t see anything else. The temperature?
It didn’t really surprise me that much. Nature is brutally honest. More insulation next time, maybe cover the cold frame with a hoop house. Definitely some hardware mesh underneath.
That’s the killer about garden experiments; you generally get one shot a year.
I think red wigglers can sometimes survive temperatures that low, but it ain’t likely. I’m not giving up hope yet though. Some experienced wormers say that when worms sense they’re about to meet their demise, they get in some last-minute whoopee (great plan) and the eggs hatch when things warm up.
We’ll see. I’m not sorry that I tried.