Tag Archives: red worms

Worm Bedding-Using Shredded Newspaper

 Worm Bedding Too Wet

Sterlite 10 gallon worm bin

Sterlite 10 gal worm bin

This is about worm bedding-using shredded newspaper. Since I posted about a week ago, about my worm bedding being too wet, I have been transferring some worms to a new bin filled with shredded newspaper.  The moisture situation has stabilized and I haven’t had to add any shredded paper since then.  So there were just too many red worms in there for that size of worm bin.  I would expect that eventually there will be too many worms for the bin because there are a lot of worm egg cocoons in there and the worms are mulitplying all the time.  I have already given away worms because I had too many for my bin.  For the new bin I am using a Sterlite 10 gallon opaque plastic bin that I bought at WalMart.  It cost $3.97.  Another good choice for a worm composting bin is a Rubbermaid 14 gallon container which I recently saw at KMart for $9.97.  So it is possible to start vermicomposting without spending too much.

Using Dry Shredded Newspaper

When I learned to set up a worm bin I was taught to use moistened shredded newspaper-just wet enough so that if you squeeze it no water comes out.  Just like a wrung out sponge.  I found a video on Youtube about making a Rubbermaid worm bin composter.  (The video uses music which gets too loud at the end but basically it has good information.) Dry shredded newspaper is used-this is the first time I have heard this.  It makes sense because if you start with dry shredded newspaper then there is less moisture to start with and it will take a longer time until the worm bin is too wet.  It just keeps that extra beginning moisture out of the bin.  So I decided to experiment with this.

Will the worms die?

Worm Bedding Using Shredded Newspaper

Worms covered with moistened newspaper in dry shredded newspaper

That is my big question.  In the Youtube video she puts in 3 lbs of worms, with the peat moss they arrived in, along with lots of food scraps. So those worms have lots of moist space to move around in and don’t have to venture forth into the dry shredded newspaper.  I didn’t have so many worms to begin with because I was slowly transferring them from another bin.  So I put down a double layer of moistened newspaper, about 12 x 10 inches, to put the worms on with some of their previous bedding and food scraps.  I did this so they wouldn’t fall down into the dry newspaper and get dried up–I’m not sure this would happen but I wanted that protection.  After a week I have checked around in all the dry bedding and I don’t see any worms in it dead or alive which is what I expected.  The dry bedding right under the worms is starting to get moist from the food scraps and the worm poop.  And the moistened newspaper under them is starting to break down so I expect they will start venturing forth into the rest of the bin. One thing to watch out for is that the moistened newspaper covering the worms dries out quickly so you have to spray it almost every day. I also tried this in a much smaller bin and all the dry bedding is damp now so it works out great.

Vermicomposting How Worm Composting Suppresses Disease

 Vermicomposting Video–Cornell University

This is an amazing educational video that discusses all aspects of vermicomposting or worm composting with red wigglers. It also covers how worm composting suppresses disease.  It is very interesting with excellent video shots about how wonderful red worms are and what they actually accomplish.

The video:  Vermicomposting: a Living Soil Amendment from Cornell University covers:

  1. Biology of Vermicomposting
  2. Mating Cycle of Red Worms
  3. Experiments in greenhouses with seedlings and synthetic growing mixes
  4. Detailed explanations of experiments of how worm compost’s microbial activity suppresses disease in seedlings.
  5. Creation of vermicompost at home and on a large scale.

See Cornell University’s website on worm composting research.