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Peat moss?

Posted by melenkolee (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 9, 09 at 9:38

Hey guys, it's been a bit since I've visited but our little bin seems to have settled down with no more adventurous wormies drying out on my kitchen floor. Yay! Here's my question: Our bin is a rubbermaid tote with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage and along the top edge for air circulation. It seems this may have been a bit of overkill, because I find the top half of the bedding is drying out pretty quickly and i've been needing to mist every 2-3 days. it's about half full of cardboard/shredded paper for bedding and I pocket feed in the corners, about 1 cup of frozen then thawed fruits and veggies a week for my <1000 worms, depending on what's left in the last pocket (learned that corn on the cob takes FOREVER to go away, lol). I have a huge bag of peat moss, and since it's so good at retaining moisture, I wonder if it would be helpful to add some to the bedding so I can leave the worms alone for a week at a time without worrying about them drying up? The bottom layer stays pretty moist, but if I go for a week without misting, the top 3/4 is bone dry. Castings are nice and fluffy and i never worry about things getting too wet, just too dry! Is this a good idea or should i leave well enough alone?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Peat moss?

I use peat mosss as my major bedding component. I soak peatmoss for 24 hours in water then add powdered limestone to adjust PH. I then squeeze out peat before I add to worms just to get rid of excess water. It does pack down with wetfeed so stirring is a must.


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RE: Peat moss?

the peat moss I have is already damp (it came that way). is it still necessary to soak? I still want the bedding to primarily be paper/cardboard, just hoping to help the bin retain moisture longer so I can leave it alone longer. my thought is to add a layer of it on top of the solid sheet of newspaper that I keep on top of the bedding (in a feeble attempt to keep the fruit flies to a dull roar). despite freezing and burying the food, we still get them. any thoughts? it sounds theoretically like it would help keep some moisture in, while allowing me to continue pocket feeding and not have to stir things up so much...i'd just like opinions from those more experienced than myself. thanks!


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RE: Peat moss?

I do like peat mixed with cardboard or paper for bedding but here is a question for you. Do you think you have enough bedding? I don't think it should dry out that fast. I dont know where you live but unless the air is super dry,it seems like it's drying out way too fast for me. I wouldn't lay the peat on top though. Just soak it and mix it in with your other bedding. Happy wormin, steve


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RE: Peat moss?

it is an 18 gallon walmart tote with (best guess) 600 worms in it. i've bought 'panfish worms) from wmart about 7 times, and am accounting for the wanderers (for a month, 1-5 a week, now 1-2 if any). temps are 70-75F and 45-50% humidity, down about 10 points from last month. it's located next to a vent in the floor that blows straight up. the bin is half filled with cardboard/shredded paper bedding and I feed about 1/2 - 1 cup per week in rotating corners, waiting a day or so longer if the last 'pocket' isn't processed most of the way. I just did a good search of the bin, which I try not to do (but heck, it's fun!) and the worms are spread evenly throughout the bottom 2" of bedding, with 4" being moist and the rest (abt 6-7"), after a heavy misting 2 days ago is bone dry. there is about 1/2" of castings after almost 5 months (but I started with 180 worms and added 90 every other weekish, sometimes every week)

there are 1/2" holes drilled every 2-3" on the bottom (never needed, we've never been too wet) and about 4 rows of the same along the upper part for air flow. i'm thinking I overkilled the airflow and am possibly underfeeding? I just know they do better unbothered and would like to find a way to maintain the moisture levels better.

on a positive note, i'm a gramma! found my first wormie babies tonight, so they can't be too miserable! am I the only one who thinks a baby worm is actually cute?! lawd, don't tell my fiance or he may have to call off the wedding, lol!


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RE: Peat moss?

Whether you are underfeeding is hard to tell. You might be, but you would have to judge that for yourself. It isn't necessary for the worms to completely eat the last batch of food before feeding, but they should be eating it, and making a dent in it.

I think your dryness problem is the bin's proximity to the air vent. Airflow is good for a bin. You have lots of air holes in your bin, which is probably a good thing. I think the moving air from the vent is drawing off the moisture.


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RE: Peat moss?

Sound call...I will try relocating away from vents and see if that makes a difference before I alter anything else. I'll report back after a couple weeks if that isn't the solution. I don't want to do anything major that may compromise their seemingly happiness...worm whoopie = woot!

They're not completely eating a pocket before i feed again, but mostly breaking it down, to allow time for microbes and such...the learning continues! :)


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RE: Peat moss?

If the food in one pocket is gone before you feed there again, I would say you are feeding about right.


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RE: Peat moss?

To help keep moisture in the bin cut a cardboard "lid" just a little smaller than the inside of your bin. And lay the cardboard down on top of the bedding. A little smaller so some air can escape around the outside edges.

It will help keep the moisture in the bedding and the worms like to come up and hang out just under the sheet of cardboard.


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RE: Peat moss?

Just a little update...I moved the bin away from the vent and have noticed it is not drying out quite as quickly. Still thinking about mixing in a bit of peat moss, just because I have so much of it to spare and I will definitely try laying cardboard on top as suggested. All of the worms seem to prefer the bottom 2" of bedding, but since I bury the food in corners down there, i'm not surprised. We did have a few wanderers (maybe 10 or so) after I relocated the bin, but they were probably just offended from all the attention they got for a couple days and I caught them in time to put them back before they turned into worm fries. Actually, my son was the first to notice them and yelled "MOM! Jailbreak!!" (our code word for any of our critters that are found where they aren't supposed to be...he also refers to the cat box as the dog's "snack bar"...eww) and helped me find them all, lol!

As far as pocket feeding, I start one pocket, and when it's MOSTLY gone (usually about a week, 1/2-1 cup of food thawed from the freezer) i start the next one. After a couple days most of them mosy over there, but there are still some who like to hang out in the middle and chomp on bedding. So I basically have 4 corners in various stages of being processed, with the middle and upper layers available for them to move to if they don't like one corner or the other...


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