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Bedding is crucial when you are composting in your apartment or small home. You can use items like coconut coir, clean leaves (not around pesticides and auto exhaust) newspaper, corrugated cardboard as bedding.
Bedding Getting Started
You will first use a mix of bedding items when you set up the bin. This will allow your worms to recreate their natural home in your bin.
When many people get started they wonder if they should just add some garden dirt or potting soil. However, this could be a fatal mistake.
Composting worms live in the top layer of soil and leaf litter. Adding only leaves may make it difficult for worms to find a cozy spot, and only adding paper lacks nutritional value.
I find that it’s best to make 2/3 newspaper and cardboard. The final one-third is comprised of clean leaves, coconut coir, and compost.
Bedding For Maintenance
You will continue to use bedding items as you feed and maintain your bin. Dry bedding like newspaper can absorb excess liquid from food scraps as they decompose.
It is important to use bedding to manage leachate. Leachate is the liquid waste from vermicomposting. If left in the bin to gather in the bin it can kill your worms.
Adding dry newspaper will absorb all of this excess liquid if you do not have drainage holes built into your bin.
Over a few months, you will start to understand how much bedding you must add. Adding a layer of dry shredded material on top of the food layer can even prevent harmful insects from taking over your bin.