Composting with worms requires a worm bin and bedding. The bedding is placed into the worm bin, so the worms have a comfortable place to live. The worms will also gradually eat the bedding, in addition to food scraps you feed them. Which materials can you use for worm bedding? You may find that combining two or three types of materials makes the best worm bin bedding.
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm has pre-made worm bedding that you can buy. You can buy coconut coir and add your own worm bedding from materials found in your home. The good news is that there are multiple different beddings to choose from.
Bedding material should imitate a worm’s natural environment. To do this, the bedding should be:
- Smooth and gentle (absolutely nothing that could cut their delicate skin!).
- Porous enough to allow airflow (worms breathe through their skin).
- Neutral pH balance of 7.
- Moist (but not too moist — more like a wrung-out sponge)
- Made of only materials that the worms can eventually eat.
Worm Bedding Materials
You might find many crazy ideas on the Internet about worm bedding. Uncle Jim’s advised beddings for your vermicomposting container are:
Fall Leaves are excellent for bedding as long as they have been composted before use.
Brown Corrugated Cardboard is easy to find at home. Most stores offer it free-of-charge if you ask. Your worms will like this type of bedding in the bin. Simply shred it or tear it into small pieces.
Shredded Newspaper is an excellent component in your worm bedding. Make sure it is natural and black-ink only. Run it through a home or office shredding machine. Avoid white office paper and printer paper, and newspapers with colored ink, junk mail, and envelopes that plastic windows – these will hurt your worms.
Straw and Hay can be very easy to find, depending on your location. You can find it, seasonally, at farms, nurseries, gardening supply stores, big-box hardware stores, and farm supply stores. These are a great addition to your worms’ bedding when used with other materials.
Aged Manure from Livestock or Horses as long as it is not fresh. You should leave the manure outside for several months to a year before utilizing it as bedding for your worms. Ensure that the animals creating this manure were not just recently wormed, as this wormicide will probably kill your composting worms.
Coconut Coir is made from coconut husks. It is pressed into bricks. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers coconut coir in several sizes. You can likewise locate these in your neighborhood gardening shop. Just add water to the coconut coir brick, mix with your hands, and add it to your worm bin. This material is sustainable; it also provides for excellent air movement and drainage.
Peat Moss is very easy to locate in your gardening supply store. Make sure that peat moss is the only ingredient. Do not utilize it if the product packaging specifies chemicals or added ingredients.
Pre-existing Aged Garden Compost is popular. Those who already have a steady supply of garden compost can use it as bedding for their worms.
When to Use Bedding
You will need bedding when you first start composting with worms. Add moist bedding to the composting bin. Then, put your live composting worms on top of the bedding. The worms will dig their way down.
You may need bedding to dry out a wet worm bin. You might also need it after harvesting the fertilizer from the worm bin. And, you may need fresh bedding when moving some of the worms to another location, such as indoors during the winter.
Providing your worms with top-quality bedding will keep your composting worms happy and give you plenty of fertilizer. New to composting? Check out our composting bins — which can be ordered with live composting worms. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is the #1 supplier of composting worms and materials in the United States. Be sure to learn more about our live worms, composting supplies, and blog.