Peat Moss Procedure

bower4311August 3, 2009

For those of you who use Peat how do you go about adding water and then squeezing it out? I have the good Canadian stuff that most people suggest. I want to start testing it to see if I like it on a small number of worms. Only thing is that I don't know how much water to put in it, how to mix it, and how to squeeze it out on a larger scale.

Thanks for the help.

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I assume that the moisture required for peat would be the same as any other bedding. I have a question for others here as to whether or not there is any benefit in using peat as worm bedding over any other type of bedding. If there is no quantifiable benefit using peat over other forms of bedding I'm not sure why we'd advocate the use of a non-renewable resource.

I know that the "Good Canadian Stuff" you're referring to is harvested in a manner by which a very small percentage of the total peat available in Canada is taken and not further harvested any faster than it is produced. So they're not really reproducing it, just not harvesting a large percentage of it ... Canada has quite a large land mass vs the population.

I'd class this under Sustainable Harvesting Practices and not really a renewable resource (5 to 10 years to generate new growth). Knowing that, I'd like to hear if the VC produced from Sphagnum Moss has any benefit above VC produced from some other medium before I'd consider using it for worms to chew on.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:26AM
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I currently use newspaper, but I soak it then I wring it out the strips with a rolling pin, I am wondering how i will ever keep up if I were to expand, with newspaper. It seemed people say peat is easier to use and easier to obtain but I am starting to think it is a pain to use.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 8:36AM
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I find corrugated cardboard to make great bedding. It's great for absorbing excess moisture. It helps keep the bedding from compacting. I often find worms crawling inside it as it starts to break down. I'm also planning to take my yard vac this fall and suck up as many leaves from the neighborhood and nearby parks as the wife will let me store in the garage. My kids keep hermit crabs and they use coir for their bedding. When it's time to change out the bedding I have access to a lot of it for the worm bin, currently more than my existing worm bin can handle, time to start up another I think.

I've read of people who keep rabbits and use the poop as bedding. I've seen posts by people using wood stove pellets as well. Some use dried grass clippings from the lawn but I prefer to use my mulching mower and leave it there. There are a lot of options.

One thing you might try is local clubs or hobbyist websites. For example, a lot of reptiles are kept in coir bedding. If there is a local reptile hobbyist group maybe you can offer to dispose of used coir. Offer to rake up a neighbor's leaves in the fall and haul the leaves away for them. Think of local groups that waste something, chances are a lot of them are throwing that in the garbage.

If you're looking at expansion you should probably make a list of the multiple types of bedding in your area. Then work on how you'd acquire them in quantity, what it might cost you, storage, etc.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 8:45PM
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Any store has cardboard. My source for cardboard is the super market. You can take your pick there.
If I happen to drive by a neighbourhood on garbage day, I take out their cereal boxes out of the recycling.
You can do that with newspaper too, I just happen to have enough newspaper myself.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 12:25PM
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No one really answered my question and the entire thread sort of derailed. I'll start by asking if anyone here uses peat moss?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 8:26AM
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Hi bower4311; I'll give the answer your looking for. Peat moss is good for short term bedding for worms used for shipment commercially. In the long term peat moss gets a pateina over the water holding cell creveses/voids and that makes it feel damp but the water does not take up oxygen as well and with that being the case the oxygen available to the worms is much less. So using it for bedding is not the best thing you can use. Coir is a better choice if you want to spend money on bedding for composting worms. If you are keeping non composting worms long term (months/years) then Buss-Bedding is the best bedding. Paper and cardboard if free bedding is the goal works well for bedding of composting worms. Leaves and dried then dampened grass works well as free bedding for non composting worms. I personally have tried all of this material in trial and error testing and found the results given above will sustain and grow worm squirms as beddings of choice. I use all free things and even mix the beddings up as a change for the worms as variety.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 2:20PM
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Thanks, I noticed that newspaper is a lot easier to use. I use all newspaper, I soak it for 24 hours, I add little water and everything stays very moist. I used the peat a little bit in expirements in a couple cups as bait and it seemed to do its job but I think I will like newspaper better.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Sorry bower4311.
How much peat do you want to use initially?
**......on a small number of worms.**
and then you wrote: **...., how to squeeze it out on a larger scale". How much is a larger scale?

Here is what I did before I knew coco coir.
I take one - 6 gal. bucket and shuffeled peat into it. If I wanted more, I stomped on it a bit and added more peat and pour hot water (from the tap)in the bucket. You will know when to stop. Take a shuffel or compost aerator to make sure all got wet. With water added to it, the peat will compact (the level went down) and you can add more peat if you need more, then add more hot water as needed. Peat will soak up hot water faster than cold, and IIRC I've got that info from the packaging.

I have read a post from somebody who used peat for bedding and he/she soaked it overnight to get rid of whatever acidity is in the peat. Some don't, so up to you how you want to do it.
If you want to soak and rinse the acidity out, let the peat SIT in water overnight. Either way, it is best to leave it overnight to make sure it has expanded to its max., or at least several hours if you are not going to "rinse" it.
Then I'd take a 2nd. bucket (identical to the first, put that on top of the soaked peat, put my eight on it and get rid of most of the water. If it is still too wet, then I'd use the 10 fingers method. With or w/o gloves, depending how sensitive your skin is.

For quantities more than bucket-wise, sorry mate, can't help you there. Maybe some one else has a suggestion.
Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I use coir only if I have moisture problems. Then I use DRY coire, crumbled and sprinkled over the too wet aerea. Coir soaks up moisture faster than paper or cardboard and will give a nice texture to the finished VC.
For day to day bedding I use shredded white office paper, newspaper and cardboard.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Sorry. I meant shoveled and shovel. No wonder it looked weird.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Yeah larger scale as in an average sized rubber maid bin. You wrote exactly what I wanted to see.

Thanks for the post.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:34PM
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bower4311 - lawn mower + paper / cardboard. Problem solved.

why bother with peat? it's no better then newspaper, it costs more, it's not recycling and it's very acidic. may not be a problem for your worms but i think ph neutral compost would be better for most plants.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:39PM
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woodsworm(7a NC)

I find that torn up thin, light cardboard (cereal boxes, TP rolls, etc) make great bedding. They soak up moisture and disappear very quickly. I just collect them and tear them up while someone else is driving or while watching TV or if a long-winded person phones. They are more fluffy than newspaper, and the worms move around in them easily.

I don't bother with newspaper and peat.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 9:17PM
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Hi folks,
IIUC, bower4311 already HAS the peat. Let the good person use it up if he/she wants to. It was not mentioned he/she is going to buy more in future. I am sure all the good intended advice is much appreciated. This forum is full of good info (most of the time).
I myself have 1/3 bale of peat leftover from planting my Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and it has been sitting for over a year now. So what now, throw it out? Certainly not! Re-cycle, re-use, re-claim, re-whatever.

Back to wetting the peat, if you are not planning to rinse it, just add enough water and you might save yourself the trouble of squeezing. If it's too wet, don't add peat just yet. Remember, it will keep expanding and soaking up the water.
The bottom of the bucket will have the soggy peat so use the top part first before you add more dry peat to the bucket.

If you do use peat as worm bin bedding, make sure you add fine ground egg shells every now and then.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:48PM
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I currently use newspaper, its easy and holds water for a very long time, I only sprinkle water when I add my oatmeal powder to the top. I bought the peat because it was cheap and I just wanted to experiment with it. Now that I see how difficult it is to use I most likely will not buy more. Though I heard it is the best thing to ship them in, so I might keep it for the future for that. I like newspaper a lot, I found a pretty good way of soaking and wringing it out that works good, plus the worms can live on the newspaper, not the peat.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:54PM
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