I plan to set up my first vermi-composting system using red wigglers in my garage, modeled after the one shown by YouTuber Larry Hall (video link). One minor difference is that I'll use two 5-gallon (20L) buckets instead of one. Top for bedding/worms and lower for excess moisture. I plan to use peat moss as the bedding like Larry did, and feed them shredded or blended kitchen scraps. My understanding is that in addition to what I feed the worms on the surface, they will also consume the peat and eventually turn it into castings. My goal is to have a bucket of castings, and start over, adding more buckets as needed as the worm population grows.

What is not explained in the video (or any other I've seen) is how deep to make the initial bedding/peat in the bucket when I start out. Knowing red wigglers stay within 6 inches (15cm) of the top makes me think I should start with about 6-7 inches (15-18cm) of peat. So I'd lay some newspaper on the bottom of the bucket, with a 7 inch (18cm) layer of moist (not wet) peat over it, and the worms on top, and some moist bedding (newspaper/cardboard) over that.

Are there any flaws in my plan? Should I fill up the bucket to within 6 inches (15cm) of the top with peat, and somehow the worms will convert everything into castings over time?

I'm excited to get started, but want to be sure I do it right, so any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The bedding is there for the worms to escape problems if the feed becomes toxic, or too hot so you'll need enough for all the worms to hide there.


And a warning ...

Avoid Common Worm Bedding Mistakes

The correct mix of different worm bedding materials is very important.  For instance, one of my new worm farmers called.  He was using 100% peat moss  as bedding for his worm growing beds.  If he had continued using this mix of worm bedding, the result would have been disastrous.  Why? Peat moss, when used exclusively, must be changed out every 14 days or a very unhealthy bedding condition will result.  This unhealthy condition sickens the worms and they will eventually die or crawl away.

After a couple of weeks, peat moss becomes coated and sticky, worms develop protein poisoning and become unable to digest their food.  Protein poisoning is the most common reason for worm die-off and must be avoided at all costs.

Solution?  Combine peat moss, in a 50/50 ratio, with:

  1. Aged horse/cow manure
  2. Shredded paper
  3. Shavings
  4. Aged saw dust

(ie. mainly high carbon sources.)

Moisten these bedding materials at least 36 hours ahead of time.  Before introducing your worms, check the PH level and moisture content. 


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