The humidity inside the compost container is a crucial factor for the proper functioning of the composting system. Especially when making composting at home in small containers, there are some factors that influence the whole process that must be taken into account. If these conditions are not monitored, the internal environment with its micro-organisms will suffer, as will our precious earthworms.
Before discussing the influence that humidity has on the process, it is essential to make some background on the factors that determine the conditions within the worm compost ecosystem.
The pH inside our compost must be between the values of 4 and 8. Good aeration is also essential and can be obtained by turning the compost from time to time. Aeration ensures oxidation and oxygenation reactions in the process. Temperature is another indicator of biological equilibrium and reflects the efficiency of the process. Temperature directly affects worms reproduction rate limiting it, and because if excessively high it can sanction their death.
WHY THE LEVEL OF MOISTURE ARE SO IMPORTANT
In composting, water is essential for the activity and life of microorganisms that are necessary for the degradation of organic matter. Earthworms, for their part, breathe through their skin and need adequate levels of humidity.
If the environment becomes too dry, worms may have a hard time surviving. Therefore the habitat within the compost must provide adequate water retention and absorption. With the exception of temperature, no other factor determines earthworm death as quickly as lack of moisture.
Gardeners can conveniently test their moisture, light, and pH levels with the handy ActiveAir 3-Way Meter. Moisture readings register on a scale of 0 (dry) to 10 (moist), light readings range from 0 (low light) to 2000 (very strong light), and pH readings between pH 0 (acidic) and pH 10 (basic) are represente
There are simple soil moisture and pH measuring devices on the market, but it is not essential for a small home system to have one. To make sure the humidity level is adequate, just take a handful of substrate and squeeze it. The substrate should in fact be moist and never dry, without dripping excessively.
If we realize that the humidity is not optimal, we can rebalance it through some simple measures.
Adding and mixing dry, absorbent material such as sawdust or small bark fragments will help reduce moisture. A good general practice is to let the organic waste dry as much as possible before adding to the compost, and cut it into small portions.