Should I leave it together or separate the three layers, then tear it in to small pieces?
I consider seperating counter productive since the center layer is a natural aid to airation. If I don't have enough to make dragging the big wood chipper out worthwhile,I make certain all metal staples are removed,rip it into a few pieces,put the catcher on my push mower and have at it.
Ditto for news print,large plants,small prunings ,leaves and such.
Ok I figured because my bin seems pretty compacted..but the worms are still doing fine it seems.
Leave the layers as they are. Worms LOVE to crawl up in there. They love the glue too.
Personally, I just tear it into medium sized pieces (4-6 inches) square, but it really makes no difference.
Ok. maybe when I get more worms I will test and see what the differences are...so far they seem to love it, seems like the top dries out the most. I imagine this would be considered normal in a wooden bin with no lid outside.
If you've got a lid-less bin, why not make a lid with cardboard. Just let it lay on top in contact with the upper bin contents.
There is a piece of cardboard laying on top of it, I have noticed it is significantly dryer when I leave it off. They also seem to like some weight on it, it keeps more moisture in and they hang out throughout the bin instead of the bottom. They only have about 24x14x4 inches of bedding, should there be more bedding or is that fine?
I'd add a little more bedding to bring it up to six inches. As for the original question, if you are obsessive enough about the hobby to spend money, get a paper shredder that will handle at least 8 sheets. You can tear the cardboard into strips about 5 inches wide and feed these into the shredder.
ok will do thanks!! I try not to spend much money on anything, I try to find it somewhere or get it free from someone, but I am willing to spend money if it starts taking up more time than it should.
I just leave cardboard boxes in the living room :)
My cats love to sit inside them and chew bits off the sides until there are no sides left. Every day or so, before vacuuming, I pick up all the bits and save them in an old coffee can until it's full. By then the worm bin is ready for some more bedding. The cats do all the work of shredding, the bits are a great size for bedding, and everybody happy, happy, happy. :)
I just have to remember to remove any plastic tape or staples from the boxes before putting them out for the cats' entertainment.
The paper shredder I have pretty much sucks for cardboard. Its an aurora 6 sheet and it does best with no more than two sheets of newsprint but I usually just send one sheet. Once I tried to send some cardboard thru but it wouldnt take it at all. So I wouldnt mind getting a shredder that would shred cardboard.
I originally had a 6-sheet paper shredder. I finally managed to burn out the motor (after three years), but I did run a LOT of cardboard through it. I also had a large laminater that I picked up for free (on Craig's List), the heating element was burned out but the heavy rubber rollers still worked fine. Anything too thick to fit in the shredder would be run through the laminater first, (which would compress the cardboard, to be able to fit into the shredder). I also found that with thicker cardboard, it is possible to separate the layers (to be able to run them through the shredder).
Now I have a 12-sheet shredder. It handles just about anything I give it (and the laminater spends its time in storage). So, I would recommend buying the largest-capacity shredder that you can afford. I have shredded hundreds of pounds of corrugated cardboard over the last 4-years and I consider it money well spent.
Im guessing your 6 sheet is medium duty. Anyway I know that my 6 sheet shredder would not even begin to take the thinnest of cardboard but it shreds paper just fine.
I have since upgraded to the fellows powershred w10c. Odd in the manual it stated that it would not shred newsprint or cardboard, so I am thinking Im taking this back before even trying but what the heck. It did newsprint and cardboard no problem. I even looked for the thickest cardboad I could find , went right thru it. Shreds 5/32 x 1 3/8"
As I said, I originally had a 6-sheet and burned out the motor after 3-years of heavy use. I now use a 12-sheet model.
I never separate it unless its already mostly seperated when i get it.
Easiest way I found to deal with Cardboard is to soak it in the bath tub for a few seconds to weaken it..
Once wet I have a 3ft straight piece of metal and simply place that on the cardboard and tear it down the straight edge for 3-6inch wide strips.
After doing that it tears up like paper with no cramping of the hands or destroying a shredders/ shears.
Its amazing what you remember from school.. i loved craft in the arts class i took. :)
Hope this helps :)
This post was edited by Wormee on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 23:00
Wosiewosie, that's hilarious that your cats love tearing cardboard!! You should rend them out to fellow wormers.
Mine love cardboard boxes too, but just to sleep in.
I no longer put cardboard in my bins. When I did it in the past, I had mites shortly afterward. Might have been coincidence, but I hate, hate mites. Now that I don't use cardboard, I don't have the mites. I do tear egg cartons for my bin, though.
This post was edited by jasdip on Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 18:28
I agree with klem1 and chuckiebtoo.
There are 3 things about cardboard that make it a superior bedding IMO.
If you shred, you loose the structure. If you loose the structure, you will loose the air space. If you loose the air space then clumping may occur.
Get big-box cardboard wet and tear it up. Easy.....
I have never used large pieces of cardboard, but I can tell you that I had far less clumping with machine shredded cardboard than with any other bedding material. I would not be concerned about losing the structure with machine shredded cardboard.
A real good way to shred it if you wanna spend the money on beer rather than a shredder that'll not work very well anyway: get a box cutter with a razor blade and a piece of old carpet, put the cardboard on the carpet and become the slasher.
You can cut it into strips and squares or just slice away. In a couple of minutes you can relieve a lot of pent up frustration and produce a large amount of worm-worthy cardboard bedding.
I use some shredded cardboard especially to mix in the soil bedding. I also use other dampened cardboard which is not shredded but torn apart or scissor cut such egg cartons, paper towel rolls, empty toilet paper rolls. This stuff is a sort of loose litter bedding cover which allows the worms to hide in, crawl between or through or even eat and works pretty well that way.
I use a scissors to cut the cardboard into small pieces. It works well, and my grip and strength in my right hand have improved.
I use a table-top paper cutter to slice the cardboard into strips and then into smaller pieces/
I just wet it and put it in. They love cardboard and sometimes it goes first!! Don't bother tearing the plastic tape off as they will do that for you.
All this talk of your worms loving cardboard, I feel that I'm depriving my "lads"! So I'm sitting here tearing and cutting cardboard for them.
I swear, if I get mites, when right now I don't have them, I'll scream. All in the way of making a better life for my worms :)
I used to hate mites in worm bins but no longer. I have found that they really help "chomp" down worm food (and paper product) to perfect worm bite size. If they are noticeably flourishing, I added powdered egg-shell and it's back to normal. I agree that too many mites could mean that the pH is off (from too much food?).
Wet the cardboard so it come apart easily and rip it into 1 ft sections