Why and how to add cardboard to your vermicomposter?
Adding cardboard to a vermicomposter is a common practice and very beneficial to the composting process. In this article, we will explain how to use cardboard in your vermicomposter to achieve healthy, fertile compost.
Why add cardboard to the vermicomposter?
Cardboard is a carbon-rich, nitrogen-poor material, which makes it perfect for balancing the carbon/nitrogen ratio in your vermicompost bin. This is because earthworms need a balanced ratio of the two in order to effectively break down organic waste.
The cardboard also helps to absorb some of the moisture brought in with the fresh waste.
In addition, cardboard is a biodegradable and durable material that can be easily added to your vermicomposter.
It is recommended that you put at least 30% cardboard (by volume) in the vermicomposter. Don’t be afraid to put in a lot, because the more cardboard the better!
How to use the cardboard in the vermicomposter?
Cardboard can be added to the vermicomposter as starter bedding or as a cover layer.
To use cardboard as bedding, you can shred it into small pieces, moisten it and mix it with your organic waste.
To use cardboard as a top layer, you can place it on top of the organic waste to cover it.
In either case, you need to add pieces that will mix with the waste.
What type of cardboard to use in the vermicomposter?
Compared to paper, cardboard is preferable because it provides more carbonaceous material for the same volume. In addition, pieces of cardboard provide an airy structure to the compost, whereas paper may prevent air from passing through.
Not all types of cardboard are suitable for vermicomposting. Glazed cardboard, cardboard treated with chemicals, or cardboard printed with petroleum-based ink are not recommended.
Unprinted brown cardboard is the best choice for vermicomposting.
Note: Wood chips or sawdust cannot be substituted for cardboard. This is because wood is made up of lignin, while paper pulp is made up of cellulose.
Lignin takes much longer to decompose than cellulose. Cellulose is suitable for vermicomposting, lignin is not.
Use whatever you have on hand: paper towel rolls, toilet paper, egg cartons, parcel board…
Prepare the cardboard:
The cardboard should be added in small pieces to mix well with the processing waste.
To prepare the cardboard, you can run it through a document shredder if you have one on hand.
If you do not have a shredding tool, you can dampen the cardboard to make it easier to tear (leave it outside in the rain).
It is important to let the cardboard dry before adding it to the vermicompost bin so that it can absorb the moisture from the vermicompost (not add more).
Keep a supply of shredded cardboard near your vermicomposter! This way you will always have some available when you add your waste.
Adding cardboard to your vermicomposter is a simple and essential practice to improve the composting process. It is recommended that you use at least 30% cardboard and prepare it in advance so that you always have some on hand.
By following these practical tips, you can easily use cardboard in your vermicomposter to make nutrient-rich compost for your plants and garden.
What are your tips for adding carbonaceous material? React in the comments
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