Worm Bin Bedding, No Better Place to Lay
I have read many times “you cannot have too much Worm Bin Bedding.” But until I started studying it I don’t think I ever realized just how awesome it really is. Bedding, if it is the correct or best kind, provides so many benefits to the worm bin system. It can increase oxygenation, freedom of movement, manageability, and overall efficiency. It, also, can decrease some of the problems that pop up which are mentioned below and helps to eliminate offensive odors.
Oxygenation and Moisture
The best worm bin bedding is coarse enough that it provides lots of little air pockets. This provides a much more oxygenated system. Worms need oxygen just like we do. They can survive on a small amount but thrive when more is present. Worms breathe through their skin, which requires moisture. So to take advantage of this increased oxygenation it must also be a material that absorbs moisture well. Good bedding helps provide the needed moisture but also helps prevent excess moisture.
Freedom of Movement
The coarse nature of the bedding also provides great freedom of movement for the worms. I admit that I am not really sure how great of an advantage that is. Some minor advantages, I suppose, would be being able to get to the food sources they have easier. Also, to more easily get away from problem area’s, such as areas heating up, or too acidic. Potentially, ease of movement could promote more reproduction since the worms will possibly encounter each other more often.
Manageability of the System
When you have plenty of good bedding the system becomes much easier to manage. Plenty of good bedding functions as a balancing mechanism. If you feed too much or too little bedding helps compensate for both. Bedding acts as a food source if the worms are fed too little. And it gives the worms a safe zone to go to if you feed too much and cause an area to become sour. Because worm bin bedding is a carbon source, it absorbs unpleasant odors that may develop.
The worm composting system is basically optimized by adding plenty of good bedding. By accomplishing all the things mentioned already, increased aeration, increased movement, good moisture absorption, and buffering of the ph the worm composting system becomes very efficient. It creates an environment that the worms thrive in. The result is faster processing of the waste products as well as the bedding. Reproduction rate of the worms will increase. The worms will grow faster, possibly even bigger as long as they are not too crowded. Good bedding also provides extra carbon which makes for a more aesthetic casting because it’s less “muddy” and more like pellets. And all this makes worm composting easier and more fun.
Some of those great beddings are Peat Moss, shredded paper, aged manure, regular compost, and my two favorites, cut up cardboard and shredded leaves. Cut up cardboard is one of the best and some say that it increases reproduction. Leaves are great nutrient rich bedding but not as good at absorbing moisture. The best bedding of all is really a mix of several.
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