Questions About Earthworm BeddingHere's a question I get regularly about worm composting bedding or worm farm bedding: "What materials can I use for my worm bedding?" Bedding is one of the most critical aspects of a successfully worm farm as well as the most misunderstood. More worms are killed because of mistakes made with bedding than most any other component in raising earthworms.
In my "Worm Farm Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Earthworms", I spend a lot of time explaining correct worm bedding. The most important criteria to consider for earthworm bedding are:
- Worm bedding materials
- Worm bedding moisture level
- Worm bedding ph level
- Worm bedding temperature
- Worm bedding depth
- Worm bedding age
Avoid Common Worm Bedding MistakesThe correct mix of different worm bedding materials is very important. For instance, one of my new worm farmers called. He was using 100% peat moss as bedding for his worm growing beds. If he had continued using this mix of worm bedding, the result would have been disastrous. Why?
Peat moss, when used exclusively, must be changed out every 14 days or a very unhealthy bedding condition will result. This unhealthy condition sickens the worms and they will eventually die or crawl away.
After a couple of weeks, peat moss becomes coated and sticky, worms develop protein poisoning and become unable to digest their food. Protein poisoning is the most common reason for worm die-off and must be avoided at all costs.
Solution? Combine peat moss, in a 50/50 ratio, with:
- Aged horse/cow manure
- Shredded paper
- Aged saw dust
Don't Put All Your Worms Into One BeddingYou've heard the phrase "Don't put all your eggs into one basket." Well, use this same horse sense advice when trying out a new mix of worm bedding. When in doubt about whether your bedding is good for your worms, take a small amount of worms and put into some of the bedding mixture. Check these worms in a few days to see how they are doing. If they look happy and are not crawling, balling up, or crowding into the corners, the worm bedding is good to use. If they are sick or dead, you know what to do.
If you see any signs of distress, discard the bedding and try to figure out what is wrong with it. This way, you won't be risking all your worms.
Worm Bedding Tip:
It's o.k. to use peat moss for short term "holding" or for shipping. Just remember: don't leave the worms in the bedding for too long and change it out every two weeks.
Find details on how to prepare healthy worm bedding in "Worm Farm Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide To Raising Earthworms".
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