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Worm Bin Bedding: How Important is it? Really?

Worm Bin Bedding

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.

Optimization

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.

Here at RAWkin Worm Farm, we desire to help you see how awesome worm composting is.  We have everything you need to get started.  Take a look at our products today.

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Worm Compost, The New and Improved Organic Miracle Grow

Red Wigglers

Vermicompost is the New and Improved Miracle Grow

It is a soil amendment, better than any chemical fertilizer, farming animal manure or standard, thermophilic compost.  It can reverse the damage done to yards and gardens by chemical fertilizers.  Chemical fertilizers have damaged or destroyed the natural fertility and health of what used to be a living thing.  Vermicompost, also called Worm Compost, can revitalize and restore that life and fertility better and faster than anything else.  It has more NPK than any other compost or manmade fertilizers. Worm Compost has approx. 2-3% nitrogen, 1.55-2.25% phosphorus, and 1.85-2.25% potassium, along with micronutrients, beneficial soil microbes and has been proven to contain “plant growth hormones and enzymes”.  The NPK and micronutrients have availability quality than any other compost and the natural growth hormones and enzymes function as a natural pesticide and herbicide.  It truly is an all-natural “Miracle Grow”.

 

Chemical Fertilizers and the Damage They Have Done

 

In the 1950’s and 60’s, we saw the invention of chemical fertilizers.  It was looked at as an amazing product that stimulated the growth of plants and increased food productivity.  But it decreased the nutritional quality of the food being produced.  These chemical fertilizers started damaging our soil by killing the microorganisms and earthworms that produced the vitality within the soil.  With the decrease of these microorganisms and earthworms, the natural hormones and enzymes diminished in our soil. The result, plants had little to no resistance to pests and diseases.  Again, industries answer was chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.  These chemicals, also damage our soil and are killing the pollinators which so many of our food crops depend on. 

 

Thermophilic Composting the Organic Waste going to the Landfills

 

Today, many believe the answer is the combination of reclaiming the organic wastes that have been going to the landfills through thermophilic composting combined with Organic Farming.  An estimate of 60-70% of the material going to the landfills is organic waste that can be composted.  This would provide plenty of NPK, micro and macro nutrients, and soil microbes.  This compost also helps promote natural resistance to pests and diseases. Composts are aerobically decomposed products of organic wastes such as cattle dung and other herbivore animal droppings. As well as farm and forest wastes and the municipal solid wastes (MSW).  All composts work as a slow release fertilizer, whereas chemical fertilizers release the NPK quickly.

 

Vermicompost vs Thermophilic Compost

 

So which is better, standard (thermophilic) composting, or vermicomposting (worm composting)? 

  • First, let’s look at speed.  Thermophilic composting takes about twice as long as worm composting, aka vermicomposting.
  • Second, vermicompost has a larger and more diverse population of microorganisms. And has plant growth regulators that other composts do not have.  Vermicompost has been proven to have more of all the vitally needed nutrients than other composts. And it provides them to the plants for a longer period of time. 
  • Third, the increase in microbes, organic matter, and other nutrients attracts native worms increasing the future vitality of that soil. 
  • Forth, worm compost has better water holding properties and decreases topsoil loss from water run-off over other composts. 
  • Finally, in growth trials, worm compost has shown an increase in crop production yields over other composts. 

Studies show that vermicompost works even better when it is covered with mulch.  This provides the microbes and earthworms a moist environment promoting an increase in the population of the microbes and earthworms.  Worm Composting is easy, fun, and so beneficial.  With a pound of Red Wigglers, or Compost Worm Mix, a container, and some knowledge you’ll be making a difference.

 

Based on: Earthworms Vermicompost: A Powerful Crop Nutrient over the Conventional Compost & Protective Soil Conditioner against the Destructive Chemical Fertilizers for Food Safety and Security Am-Euras. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 5 (S): 01-55, 2009