According to the 2019 Farmer’s Almanac, we’re in for a doozy of a winter! If you live in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing, you’re probably enjoying the break from the heat. However, winter is well on its way — and our cold-weather preparations have begun!
One of the questions we get asked every year is, “How do I prepare my Garden Tower 2® System for winter?” More importantly, if you’re a vermicomposter, how do you keep your worms alive through the colder months?
In this blog, we’ll go through the process of winterizing both your tower and your worms, so you’re prepared for an excellent growing season in the spring.
How to winterize the Garden Tower 2® Vertical Growing System
- Turn the drawer. The compost drawer can be a tricky component during winter. When it rains or snows, the drawer can fill with water. Ice expands when it freezes, and if pushed to its limits, the drawer could crack! To avoid this, take out the drawer, empty it, and place it back in upside-down. This way, water can’t collect in the drawer.
- Cover up. As the weather turns colder, a layer of insulation can help your crops last longer. You can cover your tower with a tarp or clear trash bag to seal in those last bits of warmth. In milder climates, this will keep the plants in your tower from freezing completely, giving them the best chance of regrowth during the spring.
- Get moving. If you have space, you can move your entire Garden Tower 2® System indoors. With ample lighting, like an indoor LED light kit, you can even continue your growing season year-round! To make moving easier, don’t water your tower for about a week. This will make it much lighter to move. (If you don’t have them already, you can also put your tower on rolling casters for easy transportation!)
How to prepare worms for winter
- Find a winter home. Did you know Red Wigglers can survive in near-freezing temperatures? Worms are surprisingly hardy creatures, especially when 8 inches of soil help insulate their compost tube. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you can temporarily relocate your worms to a cozier winter home. You can easily line a medium-sized rubber bin with browns, put holes in the lid, and keep your worms in a garage or any other dark place that won’t freeze. To do this, remove the compost from the tube and transfer all of it to the bin or tub lined with lots of browns. Add some kitchen scraps, cover with straw or more browns, then place the lid with holes back on top. The scraps give your worms something to munch on over the winter, while the straw and mulch act as extra insulation to get them through the harshest temperatures of the season.
- Install insulation. In the same way that a clear plastic trash bag seals heat in for your tower, it also seals heat in for your worms. If you live in an area with mild winters, your worms will be happy all winter long with just this extra layer of insulation. For best results, move the entire tower closer to a building. Over winter, buildings hold heat better than outdoor structures, and they may transfer some of that heat to your tower — and your worms!
Happy and Healthy Gardening!!