Worm Farming 101, Bedding preperation

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To prepare the bedding, take newspaper (one Sunday edition is more than enough at this stage) and shred into strips no wider than 1/4 inch. Length of the strips may vary from the length of an entire page, if you are shreding by hand to six inches long if you are using an electric shredder.

The reason I have found the varying lengths desirable for the different shredding technique is that when hand stripping, the strip tends to curl, adding to the loose packing attributes of the bedding when wet. Machine shredded newsprint is shredded without the curling effect and will pack tighter when wet, making the bedding less accessible to worms migrating through the bedding medium. It has been my experience that machine shredding the newsprint in strips 1/4 wide by three to six inches long allows it to pack more loosely, reducing matting when moistened.

Shred the bedding paper into the worm bin to a depth of approx. six inches.

Add a layer of about two inches of leaves on top of the newsprint.

Add a couple handfulls of composted manure and a handful of sand or sandy soil for diet grit.

Place the bin and dry ingredients where you want it located. in an out of traffic area, away from sunlight is desired, however, easy access from the kitchen is also desirable for ease of scrap disposal. A temperature area of 68 to 74 degrees is optimun. These environmental conditions are generally attainable by placing the bin near the household water heater.

Set the bin in the upturned lid and angle it to allow the drains to function properly.

While wormcast tea production is not our intention at this stage of herd cultivation, moisture overflow is a possibility at all stages.

Add water gradually and mix the contents. You will add about a gallon of water initially. You want to achieve a moisture level of 60 to 75 percent moisture saturation of the bedding. While worms need moisture to survive, they are air breathing life forms and can drown if exposed to too high a moisture content. To high a moisture content can also trigger unwanted migrations.

NOTE* Should the bin contents become too wet, add a handfull of unscented clay kitty litter or peat moss to balance the saturation level. You can also add more bedding mix to banance moisture levels.

When adding balancing materials to a bin already in operation, mix them in , avoiding feed zones if possible.

The bin is now ready for the worms. Add them to the surface of the bedding by pouring the contents of the two bait containers on the surface and let the worms burrow into their new home.

Your herd is now under cultivation.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), March 18, 2002


Jay, about that temperature range-this is Texas where it can get to over 100 degrees in the summer. How is that handled when bringing them into the air conditioned house is out of the question? (grin)

-- Carole (carle@earthlink.net), March 18, 2002.


I have an outdoor containment bin that I keep overstock in that I aerated the sides all the way up and dug a pit in a hill to store it summer and winter. I keep the lid on that one to keep critters away from the worms. The pit maintains a temp range of 48 to 68 degrees depending on the season.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), March 18, 2002.

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