Vermicomposting, worm bin, composting with worms community and forums

Just thought I would share with the group how I make worm bedding.

Take about the equivalent of a Sunday paper and place in a 5 gallon bucket and fill half way with water. I like to let the paper soak for 24 hours, but you can soak for an hour or so. Just takes longer to process

Go to the hardware store and look in the drywall section for a mud mixer. You might find a mixer in the paint department. I bought mine at lowes, (item # 245756 Spiral Mud Mixer KOBALT brand about $14.00 and has a lifetime guarantee). This is my second one. A weld broke on one of the wings of the first one I bought, so the guarantee is nice.

Take the mixer and place in the bucket and let 'er rip. I like to alternate between forward and reverse to break the paper up. If it starts to bog down, add more water.

In a few minutes, the paper should be well broken up. Now when you are the hardware store you should also pick some window replacement screen. The length is not that important, but it should be at least 4 feet wide.

Dump the contents of the bucket onto the window screen, this is two buckets full. You could let it sit for 3 days and enough water would drain out to make it usable, but there is a quick way to get the water out.

Stand on one side of the window screen and grab the other side and lift and pull it towards you, this will roll the paper to the edge of the screen.

Now, roll up the paper in the window screen. Like a, well you know, a funny cigarette.

Proceed to walk on the paper to force the excess water out of it.

Try to force as much water out of it as possible. you can even roll it up like a wheel and stand on it to force more water out.

When you have forced as much water out of paper as you can, unroll from the window screen. doing it on the grass will not only water your lawn, if you look at the bedding on the top right you will notice that it has picked up some dirt particles. Good grit for the worms.

Break up some of the paper and fill the bucket about half way, you are now going to use the mixer to really shatter the paper. The drill MUST be set on reverse for this process to work.

The more power the drill has, the better job it will do.

If you can only get the top few inches procesed, dump it off and keep going.

The completed bedding.

You should only be able to squeeze a drop or two of water out of the bedding. If it is too wet, let it sit in the sun for a day or so to evaporate the excess water. You could also add some peat moss, coir, or crushed leaves to help soak up excess moisture. I like to add a few handfulls of peat moss, because it will color the grey paper brown.

This is how much bedding I made with the two 5 gallon buckets. It took about 20 minutes from Start to finish.

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Comment by roberta Gregson on October 4, 2010 at 8:42am
Wow great way to shred newspaper and get it ready for worms. I will try this next. Now, not having a shredder/chipper, what is the easiest way to do cardboard? It took forever to cut it up with a box cutter. I know you all have a much easier way to do this.
Comment by Andrew from California on October 4, 2010 at 10:45am
"Now, roll up the paper in the window screen. Like a, well you know, a funny cigarette."

LOL! I won't ask if you tried to light one up. Great job on the 'how-to', Stan. That looks like a heavy-duty drill you're using. What type/power drill would you need to make this work?

Roberta: I soak cardboard in water for a day or more. It then becomes very easy to wring the water out and tear into chunks by hand. It takes me ~10 min. to tear up 10 gal. worth of damp CB. I could take more time to tear them into smaller chunks, but my worms don't seem to care what size the pieces are. The long soak really softens the CB to the point the worms can eat it immediately. It also stays damp for a very long time.
Comment by Andrew from California on October 4, 2010 at 10:49am
"I have 7 large wood bins 2ft wide 8ft long"

Stan, are the worms in these bins from your original pound of EFs from 2008 or did you get more to stock them?
Comment by Stan McCall on October 5, 2010 at 12:33am

The drill I am using is made By Skill and is 7 amp, purchaced at Lowes for about 50 bucks. I had a cheap black and decker Drill which was Quite old when I started making bedding, It lasted about a year before I finally burned it up. I first started with a smaller paint mixer and the black and decker handled that fine, I could just process less paper at a time.

My only red worm purchase has been 1 pound of EF's. I do have 1 bed of euros for fishing.

The subject of my next blog post will be on worm propagation


when I was using a smaller paint mixer, I tried breaking up cardboard and it didn't work so well. The inner corrugated sheet of paper would break up nicely, but the outer sheets would get clogged in the blades. I will give it a try with the larger Mud mixer and more powerful drill.
Comment by Todd H on October 5, 2010 at 3:58am
let us know how the cb works out for ya
I'm going to try this with shredded office paper
great idea
this is why I love this forum
Comment by Andrew from California on October 9, 2010 at 10:06am
"My only red worm purchase has been 1 pound of EF's. I do have 1 bed of euros for fishing...The subject of my next blog post will be on worm propagation."

Stan, that should be an interesting blog post. Some of us daydream about achieving worm propagation on the "doubling every 3 month" scale. In 24 months (the 2 yrs. you've had worms), the progression goes like: 1 > 2 > 4 > 8 > 16 > 32 > 64 > 128 > 256 lbs. If you have 6 bins x 16 ft² each = 96 ft², they can house 96 to maybe 288 lbs. (3 lbs./ft²) of worms. Even if you "only" have 128 lbs., that would be a huge success in my book.


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