Wanted: Bedding

equinoxequinoxMay 31, 2014

For most the greens are easier to source than the browns. Are there any sources of browns out there for our indoor in our kitchen bins? Some medicine bottles still use real cotton. I think that is a brown. I just used to to fill in the holes in the top screening that a mouse a chewed in it a while back. This should keep the fruit flies more in than out until they too compost. So what are your secret source ideas of browns for indoor bins?

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Just the daily newspaper, computer paper, magazines (recycled paper) that our community center distributes, just now using cardboard, egg cartons (either from our own use or from Freecycle), paper towel and tp rolls.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Tp and paper towel rolls, egg cartons, newspaper. All stuff from the shredder. Anything like envelope windows that the worms don't want, I just fish out and toss when I harvest. I work in a call center, and our "help desk" actually set up a new trash bin just for coffee cup holders, trays and such. It's one of the blue ones with the recycle emblem on one side. I collect once a week. :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Once you have a bin, your only other monetary investment should be a paper shredder. When you visit the grocery store, grab the empty boxes off of the shelves. These tend to be thin, so they shred easily. They make excellent bedding.

This post was edited by sbryce on Sun, Jun 1, 14 at 18:13

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 8:58PM
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In addition to using the same stuff everyone else posted, I also add used paper towels and napkins, and coffee filters. If you leave cardboard out in the rain, it is very easy to tear up and doesn't need to be soaked :D

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:58PM
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Mostly shredded newsprint , sometimes coffee filters and used towels., sometimes lint wads from the dryer, very little cardboard here.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:14PM
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On Mondays and Fridays, I tell myself to check out the local hardware store and grocery store. That's when they fill the shelves after/for the week end rush. Which means lots of corr. cardboard. So much so that I can be choosy, which ones will compost faster. Don't take the North Am. ones if you have a choice. They are of superior quality and take longer to break down.
I use them to line the walls of my bins, replace them once wet. They will be full with MO and easy to rip.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 4:33PM
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The only apparent upside of my son leaving college to be a barista is the plethora of cardboard cup sleeves that are delivered to my home. Between those, egg cartons and toilet paper tubes, we are set!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:43AM
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I hate spending money on my worms, but I have been using a LOT of straw. $7 at the local feed store for a bale of rice straw. It makes wonderful mulch for your garden also.
If I had an indoor bin and a garden, I would get a bale and add handfuls each feeding. A bale should last a long time, depending on if you mulch with it. Straw works great and provides great bed structure. Just a thought.

Happy wormin'

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 11:35PM
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Pete: doesn't straw take a long time to break down?
I don't think I can get rice straw here and the straw that's offered just said "s t r a w". Should I be concerned getting weed seeds with it?
I agree re. bed structure. Will give good aeration.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:16AM
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Otis, straw breaks down like any other bedding. The trick is to not form and bury a mat. Also, unless you have a wet bin, it helps to age or dampen the straw first. I open a bale and lay the flakes out in the garden. When needed, a little is taken from the bottom of the flake and is usually damp.
I use whole flakes as a topper on some of my beds to hold in moisture. The flakes are removed at feeding time and then replaced on top. Some always falls off and is buried. Other beds get a light sprinkle of straw as a topper at feeding time, which becomes buried under the next feeding.
RE: seeds. I started using regular straw before discovering the availability of rice straw. I got straw sprouts in the garden where I mulched, but not many and they were easy to pull. However I do not get grassy sprouts from my castings, and I've used lots of spent hay and horse manure, along with straw. I believe small grass seeds break down in a damp wormbed and get consumed. Not true with pumpkin seeds! :D

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:10AM
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Thanks Pete. I saw my neighbour got 2 bales of straw.Think I'm going over and beg for a hand-full to try.
I keep wondering about pumpkin seeds. The shells probably have some kind of toxin. Not even mites like them and that's why they're in the bin forever.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:10PM
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If you have an Aldi near you, they don't have grocery bags, so you pack your groceries in empty cardboard boxes you pull from the shelves. Its a wierd setup, but kinda cool once you get used to it. $7 for a straw bale seems kinda pricey. Have you guys checked the farm and garden section on craigslist? In my area a lot of farmers sell small bales for about $3-5.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:12AM
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Dryer lint assuming you are using natural fabrics.

Used cotton clothes such as old jeans and towels.

So far, my co-workers have been very generous to me. They save all the cardboard boxes they have at home and without forgetting bring it back to me.

I know few people at the local grocery store who save corrugated card board boxes for me when asked.

If you have Filipino or Thai oriented grocery store around the area, they usually have coconut shredder in the back. People purchase coconut at the store, take it to the backside to get shredded coconut. You can get coconut coir for free from these stores. I know at least three stores in bay area which do this.

Currently my biggest problem is too many sources, and not enough worms.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Both scrap paper and cardboard are so abundant at my work that I could keep many bins happy, as far as bedding is concerned. Are we supposed to keep bedding at about a 50/50 volume with the rest? Or more?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:11PM
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There is an ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio that you will never precisely accomplish. That is OK. 50/50 by volume? Sure. Why not. Eventually, you will get a feel for it. It is as much an art as it is a science.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 12:26AM
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Does anybody use boxes with slick print on the outside like cereal boxes or TV boxes? I have avoided it because I think I read that it was bad, but I'm curious if anybody has used them for worm bedding successfully.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:35AM
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I have gotten in the mode of using coco coir which I like to mix in my potted plants as a mix and also as worm bedding mix. I usually get the bale at my local hydroponics store , worms way , probably the most expense for me for worms. But I happen to prefer it over say peat. I also get coffee grounds free from starbucks.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:39AM
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The consensus on slick surfaced cardboard is that there is stuff on the surface that you really don't want in the bin. Not everyone agrees.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Previously I had tried to keep paper towel tubes whole to provide air into the bin. They were too hard to store that way and would not fit enough into the bin to keep up with the supply. Today they were all flattened and run through what may be a 10 sheet shredder. The results were quite nice. The shreds seem like they will provide structure and air access. They also now take up a lot less space and should get used up at the same rate as they are produced. I can't wait until there is room in the bin to start using them up. The size is less than a quarter inch wide and less than two inches long. It looks beautiful. ... for toilet paper tubes.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:09PM
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I'm always confused when I read that all of you use shredded cardboard as it keeps the bin airier/fluffier.
Mine mats just like shredded paper........not in balls like the paper......mind you the worms are inside the balls, so they certainly don't mind them. The shredded cardboard sticks together, so I don't see how it aerates the bin.

I've been flattening the cardboard tubes and use them to make worm burritos. I also shred the tubes.

This post was edited by jasdip on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 21:14

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:12PM
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Jasdip: are you talking about pressed paper board, or corrugated? Pressed paper board mats, though not as badly as paper. Corrugated tends not to mat. When it is moist, it will flatten out, but it does not stick together as badly as paper does.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:41AM
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Also, do not pre-soak. Just let them get damp gradually inside the bin either from wormfood or by sprinkling/spraying after some light fluffing.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:02AM
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gardenmom(z4 WA)

My best investment was a paper shredder. Luckily there's a store nearby that sells Costco returns - crosscut shredders usually run $18 in the box, $15 without the box. I've been shredding corrugated cardboard for 2+ years with the same shredder. Sometimes the motor lags a bit, but it's still working. And for some reason Amazon shipping boxes shred really well. I've had some Chinese cardboard that was too thick to run through.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:24PM
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