Worm Bedding Preparation – Growing Worms – Part 1

As part of our crazy adventures of trying to turn our farm into a profitable venture, we’ve decided to start with a cheap option of creating worm castings and fishing worms. Worm Castings are used in the garden because it has a number of benefits for fertilizing your plants. While we do sell our extra worm castings, it is something you can also do yourself. Since we live in the middle of a National Forest in Florida, fishing is also very popular. So gardens and fishing bait… why not? Below and in the video above, we will explain how we prepped our worm bedding for our first batch of worms.

Finished Worm Bedding

Finished Worm Bedding

Things you will need to replicate our project:

  • Two 35 gallon bins – You can generally get them for around $10-$20 each. Yesterday I actually found a 55 gallon one that I bought at Goodwill for $6. Ours were essentially free since we’ve had them for years and repurposed them.
  • Peat Moss – $11 at Lowes for 3 sqft.
  • Horse Manure – Not sure how much this would be but it’s not a necessity. Free for us since we have 4 horses
  • Worms – Approximately $50 for 2000 red wigglers and 250 european nightcrawlers. Depends on where you buy them.
  • Powdered Lime / Limestone – $3 for 50 lbs at Lowes – do not get pelleted or hydrated.
  • Newspaper and / or cardboard

Now I say that the horse manure in the worm bedding is optional, but there are 2 things about that…

  1. Using straight peat moss will be very acidic, so you’ll have to monitor the PH level over the course of maybe a week and sprinkle in some limt to raise the PH up to a value between 6 and 7.
  2. Worms will thrive better in aged horse manure, mainly because it should already have a lot of beneficial bacteria and will have a lot of organic material in it already to be eaten.

So let’s get started…

You first want to prep the worm bedding you are going to use. Starting off you’ll want at least 8 inches of bedding for the worms to get acclimated to. In our case, we are mixing 60% horse manure with 40% peat moss. We first “shredded” the horse manure because it was pretty compacted after aging for a few months. Basically we broke it up into a finer soil like condition. Next we mixed in our peat moss into a roughly 60/40 ratio, and added water until the soil was around an 80% moisture level. You can measure this will a moisture gauge or estimate it by grabbing a nice bit of your mixture in your hand and squeezing it. You should only get a couple drops of water at most to drip out, the main goal we’re looking for is for the soil to clump up and not just fall apart.

At this point you need to test the bedding mixture for PH. Again, we are aiming for a level between 6 and 7. Let the mixture set for about an hour and test it again. If the worm bedding is too acidic (lower number) then sprinkle some powdered lime across the top – not too much, just a light sprinkling – and mix it in. Do this over the course of a week because if you add too much lime and it gets too akaline, you can add more peat moss or citrus to bring it back down.

To watch all of the videos in this series, visit our I Got Worms playlist on YouTube or check out Part 2 Building the Worm Bins.

Share this Post

Leave a Reply