“Hi Ken and Duncan, My worm bin is getting pretty full and I need to harvest some casts. Is it OK to spread my casts in my garden bed right now. I live in Virginia and we are in the middle of winter here. How does the cold affect the microorganisms? Will freezing temperatures make my worm casts inert? Thanks for your help.” ~ Cynthia Holt
With spring coming, we can get quite impatient on starting our gardening fun!
However you are right that temperature does affect the benefits of wormcast.
One of the great benefits of wormcast are the microbes within.
Other benefits includes the organic matter, humic acid and structure. But it is the microbes which can help provide longer term benefits as it grows and proliferates into the surrounding soil.
It is these microbes which helps create the building blocks of soil, unlock nutrients into soluble form for plants and to provide a food source for other critters in the soil eco-system.
By using worm cast in cold temperatures, it removes the benefits of the microbes because they will die or proliferate very slowly. So if you have small amounts of worm cast it would be a waste not being able to unlock its full potential.
However it seems that you have a large amount of wormcast you want to get rid of, which is quite lucky for you!
Although you may want to harvest your cast and place them in a container or bag until the temperatures gets warmer, it may not be entirely bad to use some now to slowly prepare for spring.
The full potential may not be unlocked, but the organic content will be added.
This can also help prepare the soil with its structure.
The benefits of this is that as the temperature gets warmer, the natural micro-organism in the soil will start getting active again and will have some food source available to immediately work on.
You can start spreading some cast in small quantities first, and as temperatures slowly recover, increase your quantities to your usual amounts.
Then look forward to a beautiful garden in spring and summer!