Worm Farm Reviews

What Makes the Best Worm Bedding?

Worm bedding is an important part of starting and maintaining your worm farm. Learn about what materials make the best worm bedding so you can give your worms a nice home in which to recycle your organic waste.

Reading time: 3 mins

worm bedding

Just like us, worms need a nice safe place to call home and to take a break from all the hard work of turning our green waste into plant food.

But what material makes the best worm bedding? Here are a few hot tips. 

RELATED: What do worms eat?

What Is Worm Bedding?

Worm bedding refers to the material which acts as a habitat for worms to live in within a worm farm. It essentially acts as the foundation for your vermicompost pile and is one of the most important features of a productive worm bin.  

Not only does good bedding mean a safe space for the worms to live in, but bedding can also account for a sizable chunk of a worm’s diet, so it really does pay to make sure that it is good quality.

 Good worm bedding should absorb and hold moisture, allow oxygen to flow through, and keep out bright sunlight from the other layers of your worm farm.

worm bedding

Bedding material should also have a neutral pH, be relatively smooth and free of hard edges, and offer both carbon and some nitrogen as nutrients. 

Using a mixture of different materials means you can cover varying conditions in your bin. Mixing materials means there is always somewhere available that has the correct moisture level and temperature. This also means that you can have a mix of nutrients available and encourage other beneficial microorganisms to grow in your bin. 

What Materials Make the Best Worm Bedding?

worm bedding

Organic material free from chemical treatment is the best material for worm bedding. Chemicals like bleached paper, colored ink, wood treatments, glue, and garden herbicides need to be kept out of your worm bedding. 

Wood shavings from a joinery workshop or manure from animals that haven’t been wormed are great worm bedding. Grass clippings from your lawn and leaf litter taken from your garden are also good to use.

You can also use torn newspapers, cardboard boxes, and egg cartons by cutting them up into small pieces. 

If you’re happy to pay for bedding materials, then coir blocks and straw garden mulch are both good worm bedding materials.

Coconut coir makes for an excellent bedding material. View on Amazon

Peat moss is also a good product for worm bedding but is not the best choice environmentally, so try to avoid it if possible.

You can also use composts and manures for worm bedding with high organic matter but be careful about introducing any nasties into your worm farm.

The best worm bedding should be soft and smooth, be able to absorb moisture, allow good airflow, and offer good insulation to your worms.  

How Do You Make Worm Bedding? 

worm bedding

If you’re using cardboard or paper waste from your home or work for your worm bedding, be sure to tear it up into small pieces. Soaking it in water before adding it in can help too.

Mixing recycled material with other organic matter like manure or garden waste means you will have a good variety of conditions and nutrients available for your worms. 

Using firm bulky material mixed with smaller material will mean large air pockets will form in your bedding. This allows for airflow and roomier sections in your bedding and less chance it will matt together.

You can also help keep your worm bedding in good condition by lifting and turning it weekly to stop it from matting and maintaining these air pockets. Using a compost aerator can make this process much easier, or if you don’t mind getting dirty, just use your hands.

Another common practice is to use worm bedding to separate their area from the food zone so that your worms can feed in the dark. Because worms prefer the dark, keeping their food zones out of sunlight means they can eat in peace and be more productive.

Using a single material for your worm bedding can mean that you’re only getting one type of moisture level and temperature. If either of these moves into an un-friendly range for your worms, then they’ll struggle to be productive.

In Summary

worm bedding

Worm bedding is incredibly important to your vermiculture setup. A good worm bedding will provide a suitable habitat for your worms to live in and supply the nutrients needed for optimum production.    

Good worm bedding should have good moisture retention, allow oxygen to flow, keep sunlight out, keep temperature levels stable, and offer a high carbon to nitrogen nutrient ratio. 

Using a mixture of materials rather than just a single type means you can cover all the bases for different conditions that might come up in your bin.

You can use different organic materials for bedding materials, like cardboard and paper from your home, garden green waste, or manure. You can also buy materials like coir blocks, peat moss, and straw to add to your bedding material.  

Just be sure that anything you use as bedding material is chemical and pesticide-free. 

Remember though, that great vermiculture setups start with good worm bedding. By following these few tips, you should be well on your way to raising happy and productive worms. Happy worm farming!

RELATED: Worm farming for beginners

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