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Bedding Materials for Worm Composting Bins

coconut coir bedding

Coconut Coir for Worm Bedding

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)
  • Non-toxic.
  • 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.

9 comments on “Bedding Materials for Worm Composting Bins

  • Why is printer paper with black ink not ok for the worms? I’ve been giving it to mine for a couple of years and now feel terrible.

    Reply
  • Gerald D Spadt says:

    Probably will not be ordering any more worms…. The order we received last time were not in good shape. The worms that did survive… probably 10 out of the order were very dried out and bunched into little pockets in the bag. The packet that was placed in the box was completely dried out. Soooo Sorry I will need to find another outlet!
    Thanks Gerald Spadt, Santee Ca.

    Reply
    • Hello Gerald;

      Thank you for your comment. We are sorry if your worms did not arrive alive, we do not want you to be discouraged. Unfortunately, this does happen sometimes with live shipments and we will replace them or refund you for them if they arrive alive. All you need to do is contact us at sales@unclejimswormfarm.com and let us know. include a photo of the worms condition if you have one and let us know how you wish to proceed.

      Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

      Reply
  • I read and try to learn about food quantity but I think I need someone to hit me over the head and say it clearly… The top of the bin says to not overfeed my worms. But there isn’t a clear amount for the compost or even the purchases food. It’s aggravating! I think I have 100 worms. I saw to put the purchased food in a line but then I was told on the phone to sprinkle. I think I spread the compost over them and spread it out two days ago so it covered the whole tray. Maybe that was wrong because now he worms are climbing out and are under my blanket instead of down in the bedding. Are they hungry? suffocating? Overfed? Help! I did wrongly put an onion in there. And your illustrating on compost has a picture of an onion now that I’m paranoid about how I’m feeding them. Sorry. I want to do this properly.

    Reply
    • Hello Rose;

      Thank you for your questions. It is normal to be concerned and a bit uncertain when starting out. The worms just need enough food to last 3-4 days or so and then you feed again when it is almost gone. Overfeeding them can cause mold, too much moisture and anaerobic conditions in the bin and they can be most unpleasant sometimes. It is best to start with a few cups of chopped up scraps and spread it over the top. Cover it with your worm blanket or dampened paper or cardboard. the worms will eat away in the darkness. check them in a few days and see how much they ate…add more when that is almost gone.

      The worm food is to be fed 1/4 to 1/2 cup every 4 days or so…too much may mold if they do not eat it fast enough. if it does, mix it in the bedding or scrape it off the top and throw it away. it will not harm the worms.

      Keep the bin moist, so that you can squeeze 2-3 drops of water out of the bin. Keep the temperature between 55-78 degrees the best you can and do not over feed or add things that will harm them. Here is a link of some things you can feed them and some not to…

      https://unclejimswormfarm.com/can-feed-worms/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw5-WRBhCKARIsAAId9Fka5LbAGEO03OtLZqMbamwn-eE6Sdxj0CWF6jnHLwhwzvHrFObx4swaAlRvEALw_wcB

      Please let us know if you have other questions.
      Uncle Jim’s

      Reply
  • David Clark says:

    Regarding:
    Review by Gerald:

    “Hello Gerald;

    Thank you for your comment. We are sorry if your worms did not arrive alive, we do not want you to be discouraged. Unfortunately, this does happen sometimes with live shipments and we will replace them or refund you for them if they arrive alive. All you need to do is contact us at sales@unclejimswormfarm.com and let us know. include a photo of the worms condition if you have one and let us know how you wish to proceed.”

    >My worms also arrived dead, dead, dead upon arrival. I sent you detailed pictures and detailed instructions on how I tried to revive them as per your shipping pamphlet.I sent you several emails, and you never responded.I was never offered any kind of replacement, as you offered Gerald.<

    Please advise.
    David Clark

    Reply

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