My current shredder is of the "crosscut" style that produces bits of paper about 1" long by 3/16" wide. I would much rather feed this stuff to a bin full of worms than just taking it to the curb, but I'm wondering if the shred is too fine to be useful.
Will it just clump up and cause problems when it gets wet? Or am I really overthinking this?
Meryt Helmer wrote:maybe you should do an experiment and get some wet and see what happens? also give a handful to your worms and see how they respond? I know I have seen others use shredded paper but I don't know what sort of shredder they had. I have used shredded paper that came with something in the mail as padding and it worked fine. I also sometimes give toilet paper rolls to my worms if one of my kids gets one wet so it is no longer usable as toilet paper and they seem to do fine with that even though it is in a roll and sort of soggy and a big clump.
Worms are still "in progress" and I'm trying to get set up for their arrival. How badly the paper clumps seems to depend on how wet it is and how hard I squeeze it to get the water out.
Meryt Helmer wrote:there is also a way to get off lists for junk mail. I no longer remember how to do it but I did it years ago and receive almost no junk mail now.
LOL, yeah, that only lasts until the next catalog you order something from sells their mailing list. And I'm married to a catalog lover.
Jessica Padgham wrote:I have used paper that small and even smaller with no problems.
Thanks for the reassuring words. I just don't want to wipe out my worms on the first go araound.
Shredded leaves sounds like it's much more sustainable and according to the Matt Sorrels, much more effective.
Check this post for some discussion: When you recycle paper.... Recycling paper as commonly done is pretty costly in terms of resources.
The only time I've gotten waterlogged using paper for my worms is when I let the water build up without adding enough paper and, if really necessary, removing moisture. But simply adding more paper (and/or other absorbant material like coffee grounds from the coffee shop, where they make espresso so the grounds are dry) improves things quickly.
FWIW, I also experienced water buildup when using leaves in the vermicomposter. The problem was due to moisture levels, not bedding, and balancing things out fixed the problem.
I now have a hobby worm business and I use everything except the windows and the glossy stuff from the mailbox.
All new bins will be slow unless they are seasoned (pre-rotted) before you add the worms.
I've also found that the worms love it wet (think swamp) but that makes it hard to harvest the compost.
So use your paper, leaves, cardboard, fruit, veggie, etc. waste and don't sweat it.
Keep them moist, fed and at a decent temp (70 +/- 15) and enjoy the fruit of their labor.