Worm Tower Questions

Worm Composting...

“I have a question please. I have made a worm tower, where you bury half of the pipe/bucket in the ground. The bottom half has many holes and I feed the tube (pipe/bucket) and have a cover on it to keep out critters. My question is this: does the lid need holes for air or will they do fine in the ground? Also, does this need to be out of the sun as does a worm bin? I figure since they burrow down under ground they will be cool enough. I’m not sure. Mahalo (thanks)” ~ LuLu

Hi Lulu,

These are good questions!

We should probably start by making sure everyone knows what a ‘Worm Tower’ is.

Here is a link to an excellent video on YouTube, which explains this concept very well.

Basically, the Worm Tower is a very simple vermicomposting system that consists of a plastic tube buried partially in the ground. The lower zone has holes which allow the worms (and other organisms to move in and out), and a make-shift lid placed over top to (presumably) keep out rain.

What really interesting is that this concept actually closely parallels an idea I’ve had in the back of my mind for an easy-to-make outdoor vermicomposting system. Rather than using a simple tube (which I actually think is a really cool idea), I’ve been planning to bury a plastic garbage can (with lots of holes drilled in the sides and bottom) and use it in a similar manner.

Getting back to your questions…

In all honesty, I don’t think you would need holes in the lid.

For one thing, the lid shown in the video doesn’t really look like it’s providing an air-tight seal anyway, plus there seems to be a decent volume of air sitting in the tube above the composting mass – air that will be refreshed every time the lid is removed. That being said, my suggestion would actually be to drill a set of holes in the sides of the tube just above ground level.

This way there is no risk of rain pouring in, but it should provide a lot of extra air flow inside the system.

I think one of the really great things about a system like this is the fact that it is buried down in the ground.

If your tube is white, or at least light colored, and you’ve added some extra air holes, I suspect it would be totally fine in the sun – especially if it is buried fairly deep. The soil 2-3 feet down should be a lot cooler/warmer (depending on time of year) than ambient temperatures.

In other words, this type of system could potentially work really well in areas that experience extreme temperatures (although it would likely be better adapted for a hot summer than a really cold winter).

Anyway, Lulu – I hope this helps a little!

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