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Is Bedding more important than food?

 If you’re a worm it is. The right stuff provides oxygen, moisture, access to mates, prevents odor and makes composting easy even for beginners.

Bedding should provide air pockets so it needs to have some bulk and not squish easily – think torn cardboard. Those little ridges inside the cardboard are pathways and restaurants. Paper is great carbon, it is made from trees you know. If you mix shredded paper with grass clippings then the grass clippings won’t produce that telltale stench – you know the one that tells your neighbors exactly where your compost pile is. Always add more carbon than nitrogen 20 to 1 is fine and more carbon won’t hurt.

We start our beds with 4 parts shredded cardboard, 1 part newspaper and 1 part shredded paper (the US Mail delivers lots of envelopes. Does anyone still use those return envelopes to mail checks to pay bills?) Newspaper is good – a friend gives us theirs, so we toss the colored ads and any section with a lot of color. (I save the comics to use as giftwrap. I’m not cheap, I’m environmentally aware.)

Mix everything together, add lots of water and mix again. Then drain off the excess water. We keep a bit of this moist mix handy so we can add a bit whenever we add a lot of food scraps.