Bedding is so important for your worms. It’s where they hang out when they’re not eating. Or they’re eating their bedding. It provides a safe place for them to hide if the conditions in your worm farm are less than favourable.
So what do you put in the bin for your worms to live in? The following list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start. Regardless of what is used for bedding, it should always be prepared. Typically this means soaking it in water for (about) twenty-four hours before putting it on the farm and then leaving the bedding for a couple of days to settle down. If you can add a bit of bedding from another farm, it will kickstart the microbe population.
- Leaves collected and kept dry. For new worm beds, soak the leaves in non-chlorinated water for a few hours then pour off the excess water. Dried leaves are both eaten by the worms and decompose naturally. This also serves as a pest guard when adding food. And they add a fresh, forest floor smell to the bins.
- Shredded brown cardboard. Be careful of using “shiny” cardboard as it can contain chemicals to make it shiny. Corrugated cardboard works very well. You can either shred it or tear boxes up into small scraps. About 10-15cm square is fine.
- Used office paper, pieces of cardboard, shredded newspaper. Paper is an interesting one. Inks used on paper used to be potentially harmful to worms. More often than not, the inks are soy based and fine for worms.
- Coconut Coir. Most store bought farms ship with a block of coir and worms are commonly sold in peat. Coconut Coir usually has to be soaked in water for a while so it expands. Ideally, non-chlorinated water is best, but using tap water and leaving it to sit so that the chlorine evaporates is fine too.
- Used coffee grounds. Coffee plus worms? High-speed vermiculture, anyone? Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen and are a great food source if properly balanced with carbon like dried grass clippings.
- Torn up egg carton. Seriously, worms can’t get enough of this. Making a bed entirely of torn up egg-carton and feeding it a cup of kitchen scraps each week and you’ll have some very happy worms!
Don’t forget that variety is the spice of life; even for worms. While all the bedding listed above is awesome bedding by itself, mixing up bedding ingredients makes your happy worms even happier!
Is there anything that you use that your worms just love? Let me know in the comments below!
The Gentleman Vermiculturist can be found on Facebook and Instagram as well as other social media. He talks incessantly about worms.