Now I would like to tell you how it went having them outside.
I put them in a plastic raised bed with “almost finished” compost which should have provided enough food for them to eat. Even so, I also put some melon rinds and pumpkin/squash skin into the compost pile once in a while to give them some extra food. They were not in plain soil. They were always in compost that was almost fully composted. The picture is the actual raised bed this spring with some dill planted in it. The leaves have already been pushed to one side.
Outdoor Worm Composting-Insulated with a Layer of Leaves
Throughout the winter, the raised bed housing the worms was covered with a 2-3 inch layer of leaves to keep them insulated. This winter we had several nights where the temperatures went into the teens. When I checked the worms the next day, they were doing fine. They must burrow a little deeper if it is really cold.
Throughout last summer I would check on them and they were always doing great even if it was really hot. I also kept leaves on the top to keep it cooler underneath. If is really hot you could put a layer of newspaper on top and keep it moist. That has a cooling effect on the compost.
I would say that this outdoor worm composting was a successful project. The worms were thriving this spring after living through a hot summer and a cold winter. The compost was rich, dark and crumbly. My son was very impressed with how it looked and wanted some for his garden! This is my solution to “Too Many Worms“. Please see the latest update on tree roots growing into raised bed.
Disclaimer: I live in the Washington Metropolitan Area so the winters are not so cold, but the summers are very hot. I don’t know how red wigglers would do further north where it is colder for a longer period of time.