We can all agree that bedding is one of the most important elements of upkeep in a worm farm. Adding at least some bedding on a regular basis is essential to keep your red worms happy and productive. Failure to do so can result in all kinds of problems, even death to your worms!
It can’t be emphasized enough, then, how important it is to provide effective bedding to your worms. What kind of bedding can be used in worm farms? We here at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm
know of many bedding materials that work really well. The key is to use a combination of materials to allow your system to operate most efficiently. This is because some materials are inherently better than others and adding several types into your worm bin will make up for certain weaknesses in some of the materials you may have on hand.
So with that, let’s dive into some of the more common types of bedding and discuss what makes good bedding material versus what makes poor bedding material.
Worm Bedding Characteristics
From the moment you set up your worm farm, the most important thing to do is make sure that the right kind of bedding material is used. Good bedding must:
- Be of neutral PH
- Be free of any sharp or abrasive things that can harm the worms’ sensitive skin
- Retain moisture
- Allow oxygen flow
Good bedding can also be eaten by the worms. In fact, up to 50% of a worms diet may consist of its bedding. One material that works extremely well for both bedding and food is brown cardboard. Red worms love to eat brown cardboard
. It should be shredded up into small pieces to allow for better air flow and so that the worms can eat it more easily.
10 Bedding Materials Your Worms Will Love
The key to maintaining a healthy worm bin isn’t choosing just one “best” bedding material, it’s using a variety of materials and adding them to your worm bin often. Most vermicomposters could do a little better at adding new bedding to their worm bins more frequently.
For best results, use a mixture of the following materials in your worm bins to create a good balance. As I said before, some materials have weaknesses that others don’t, and it’s nice to be able to use whatever materials you already have on hand. When the bedding has reached desirable conditions, the worms will thrive and production will soar. Be attentive to this and your red worms will be plum happy.
- Shredded brown cardboard
- Shredded paper (not bleached white office paper)
- Shredded newspaper (not colored)
- Aged compost
- Aged horse or cow manure
- Coco coir
- Peat moss
- Straw and hay
- Fall leaves and other yard waste
- Wood chips
Remember to dampen these materials when you add them. They shouldn’t be sopping wet, just damp. Once every now and then, fluff up the bedding to keep it from compacting and stinking. Also, remember to feed the worms in different places.
Finding worm bedding is easy, and so is adding it to your worm bin. Make sure your worms are happy and productive by giving them the right kind of bedding on a frequent basis.
CC image courtesy of Tofutti Break at Flickr