Worm Bedding Material

The five best types of  materials to be used as worm bedding material are as follows:

1. Loam or black topsoil available from garden centers makes particularly good worm bedding material for your worms.

2. Worm bedding material can also be shredded newspaper which have been soaked and drained to soften the edges.

The newspaper should be damp and not soaking wet when you place it in your “worm’s home” as worm bedding material. Since the worms will eat this too, avoid colored inks and glossy paper.

3. Other worm bedding material could be a mixture of sawdust, peat moss, shredded leaves and ordinary soil (all of these should be moist, of course).

By the way, peat moss, although a great soil additive, should be used with restraint only because our bogs where peat moss is gathered are getting depleted. Bogs  need to be given time to replenish.

Instead, for your worm bedding material,  try using soil which is cheap and easy to use. If you live in an apartment, you have to buy soil anyway, so why not enrich it with vermicompost?

If you use trays, moist paper is sufficient as worm bedding material.

If you use a deeper container, fill the worm bin with about a foot of soft bedding, about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Since you have provided air holes all around and underneath the bin itself, you can add a lid on the bin to help maintain the correct moisture level.

I use a window box to hold the worms, soil, and food,  tip another window box over it, and  make sure there is plenty of air circulation space where the two window boxes meet in the middle  by skewing the top one a bit.  If the top one is larger than the bottom one, then obviously no skewing is needed.  This “bin” is kept in a  cool corner of my apartment where the sun can not reach it. My worms seem to like it and have never tried to escape.

Click on the thumbnail for better view of my soil as worm bedding material.  Notice the containers under the bottom box to catch drippings when I add water to moisten the drying soil.

At firstUsing soil as my worm bedding material I had only about a 1/2 dozen worms and I had split up my container into two areas where I had added soil. When the  time for harvesting the compost was right,  I was hoping to entice the worms with food to the other end so that I would not have to sort out the worms.

Here’s what it looked like back in the fall of 2007.  Click here for the  full story on how I got hooked on using vermicompost for my plants.

Now I fill the whole window box with soil as my worm bedding material because I have so many more worms.  I spread the food on top or work the food into the soil to avoid having to deal with fruit flies.  Notice how the top box extends farther out than the bottom one because it is a larger window box, so the worms get plenty of air circulation Homemade worm composting bin raised about 1 inch from floor to  slide in containerswhich in turn allows for anearobic composting i.e. no smell.

For drainage, I raise the container holding the worm and mulch about 1 inch from the floor and slide plastic containers (Or whatever you have around) to catch the drippings. I never overwater  . . .  just add enough when the soil gets drier so the worms are kept happy.

(Please note:
I never use water just out of the tap because here in the city the water from the tap contains chlorine and fluoride; instead I will fill containers about 1 day ahead . . . enough to water all my plants, and I leave the water sit, uncovered, so that the chlorine can escape from the water.

Also, if you have a house, you can gather rainwater in barrels and use that for the worms if needed.

(Thank you, Irvine, for reminding me about using barrels.  When I had my house, I had 3 rain barrels, and I loved using the rainwater on my gardens too.  I can’t do that here at the apartment, so I had forgotten that other people have the space to do that.)

Again, you may want to read about my experience with worms when I first started making vermicompost a few years ago by going to http://PlantsAndGardeningTips.com/worm-castings-how-well-does-it-work/.

If you look at the side panel, you will see links to articles on what types of worms you can use and what food you might give them…now that you have an idea what can be used as worm bedding material.

Happy composting!

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