How to make worm bedding is the topic of discussion today. There is about as many ways to make worm bedding as there are worms. There are some better than others in our opinion. Worms like to live in a relatively moist environment so having materials in the beds that absorb high amounts of moister if perfect. Monitoring the moister level is important as the worm bedding is one of the most important aspects of keeping a healthy worm population.
Main Purpose of Worm Bedding
Worms are actually very hungry little creatures as that is about all they do other than procreate. You’re bedding shouldn’t have chemicals or sharp objects and should be able to be kept in the dark. The worm bedding is actually the food source for the worms. Now keep in mind, the better the material the worms eat, the better the worm castings are when the worms complete their mission. If you choose to use waste as part of the worms diet, which is fine, choose vegetables that are not to high in citric acid or sugar.
Best Bedding Materials
There is a list of good products one could use to make the worm bedding from. Remember something that absorbs water is an absolute must. Everything from mulch to cardboard is used. Mixing several of these ingredients will help balance out the bedding. Here is a short list of materials most commonly used in worm beds.
- Fall leaves or other yard waste
- Corrugated cardboard (not the shoe box type)
- Aged compost
- Aged cow or horse manure
- Wood chips
- Peat moss
- straw or hay (not green)
- Brown cardboard (make sure this is cut into small strips)
- Newspaper (shredded not colored)
- Cardboard egg cartons (they do love these)
- Coco coir or coco fiber board
- Cold Manure (rabbit or chicken manure)
Many people would say to start using your kitchen waste, I am here to tell you that your first attempt at a worm farm you may want to skip the rotting vegetables or fruit. If the worm bed gets too acidic or molds the worms will try to escape and leave the environment. This leads to a lot of frustration and costly as starter worms are not the cheapest thing to buy. I would also stay away from the hot manure such as cows or horse manure as if they do haven’t been aired properly and conditioned they do can build too much heat for the worms and/or have chemicals from feeds that might not play well.
I would rely mostly on paper (make sure it is not coated paper) and cardboard. Corrugated cardboard works great for worms as it holds water good and has little tunnels the worms can get into if they do need a change from the environment for a bit. They also love to lay their cocoons in the tunnels and the cardboard is a great source of feed for the new baby worms.
Another reason to stay away from manure at first as the manure can contain other insects and stuff that won’t play well with your worms. If you choose Coco coir, as many people do, make sure you wash the coco coir well to rinse the high salt content out of it. Another thing is coco coir does not have any good microbes living in it and you would naturally need some waste to get it going good. In my opinion not the best for first time worm bed makers.
I personally recommend about a 50/50 mixture of peat moss (I like black) cardboard and shredded paper. I like to take the cardboard egg cartons to lay out on the top of the bed to provide shade and keep the light off the worms. The egg cartons also a great item for holding water. None of these ingredients here will give off a bad Oder if you plan on keeping them inside. In colder climates the worm beds need to stay between 50 and 80 degrees. See the article on How To Build A Worm Farm to get a closer look at an overall design. In my opinion, this is how you make worm bedding.
Add Bedding to The Worm Bin
Now that you know what you want to use for your worm bed you can add it to the worm bin. The worm bedding should be kept close to an 80% moisture level. When adding the water make sure the cardboard or paper does not make huge clunky globs. We do not want paper mache type stuff in our worm bed. The bedding must be relatively fluffed so the worms can move freely about the bed. You can never add too much bedding. The worms will make their way through the bedding turning into worm castings or vermicompost in relatively quick time.
Some would call it cheating, but using a bit of vermicompost to start your first bin will help your chances of success. It is much easier to keep a worm farm going than starting from new bedding.
After time you get more comfortable and start seeing how fast the worms do their thing you can start adding a few food items. The really like melons, eggshells, and banana peels. I boil my egg shells before giving them to the worms to make sure there is no salmonella present.
Increase Your Knowledge
In my opinion always be a skeptic if you feel something may pose a threat to your worm population. There are tons of information on this site and always a comment section if you need a question answered, I am always here. There is no dumb question and I wouldn’t want you to wake up to a bin of dead, gross smelling worms in your bin. If the environment gets to rough for them, they do are also quite the escape artist!
I have been studying worms nor for many years and freely give the lessons I learned here in these articles. Different worms in a different environment can and probably will need slightly different care or have a great organic food source readily available.
If you have thoughts or would like to share your own ideas, please use the comment section below. I always try my best to answer each post within 12 to 24 hours.